It Might Be Tempting, but I’m Not Quitting Church Anytime Soon
I am not quitting the Church anytime soon, and it is not due to a shortage of plausible reasons.
In my 44 years of life as a Church insider, I have often been dismayed and horrified by the Church’s behavior: the leadership failures, sex scandals, clergy abuse of children, authoritarianism, blatant hypocrisy, judgmental attitudes, idolatrous alignment with American politics, consumerism, discomfort with science, poor treatment of women, flirtation with conspiracy theories, unwillingness to confront racism, lack of compassion for the poor, etc.
This dysfunctional institution is the one God entrusted with delivering the Good News to the world? Heaven help us.
The Church has been my spiritual Mother since I was an infant. I have known her nursery, Sunday School classes, baptismal font, Sunday worship services, communion table, low-budget dinner banquets, revival services, Christian schools, universities, and seminaries. For 13 years, I have been ordained to the office of ministry on Her behalf.
As a member and pastor, I have had more than my share of first hand opportunities to witness her flaws. Why then, would I refuse to quit the Church?
Let me be clear: I am in no way dismissing immoral or criminal behavior in the ranks of the Church. These must be dealt with far more seriously than I have seen in the past.
Had I not been raised by Christian parents, I am not sure if I would have been drawn to the Christian faith by observing Christians alone.
The charges of Christian hypocrisy, and of not always being the “nicest” people are serious. I commend to you CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity, specifically the chapter titled “Nice People or New Men.” There he says,
“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The wartime posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.”
In spite of my own normal struggles with doubts about the Church, there are four reasons why…