Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why I Left the Church

I have left the church.

I am breaking all of the rules.

I have freed myself from the binding chains of religion.

And I have never been happier.

I can’t say that I’ve felt the physical hands of another human being around my neck strangling the life out of me, but I have felt the unhealthy spiritual hands of religion choking the very air out of my lungs. I was dying. 

For years I thought that I was just jaded, and I would lie awake at night wondering if this was the church that Christ really died for. Please don’t get me wrong, yes He died for the people in the church, despite their attitudes. But for the current institution of the church, I believe that it is far from the church that Paul the Apostle knew when he walked the earth.

Beloved, there is a strangling taking place. True undefiled religion is dying out before our eyes. Before us we have big churches, with big congregations, with big paychecks… but with small relationships and petty setbacks with the things that matter most on this earth… PEOPLE! 

My precious husband and I have watched from a distance as that one virtue was passed up over and over again. Each time I would hear the verse where Jesus talked to Peter around the fire after He rose from the dead, “Peter, do you love me? Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. If you love me, than feed my sheep.” It was so important to Jesus that he repeated himself THREE times to Peter. I figure to reiterate it as many times as Peter also denied Christ, but also to remind him the importance of loving PEOPLE

I think that we have all been the forgotten, the overlooked and under appreciated. Some have said to us to be that which you lack in your life. That our hearts should certainly desire to love others when we have yet not been fully loved or fully accepted. While I don’t think it’s impossible to love fully those around us without being loved, it seems that there is a great lack in that equation. Because those that said those very words have been the very ones who did not practice what they preached. I believe that people should be invested in, loved on and gone broke over! I believe that Jesus walked this very earth with that desire and purpose before His eyes and Paul was his very echo. 

Beloved, there is a cure! A simple and painful cure. It is called vulnerability. The very present action of bringing yourself from beyond the shadows and into the light. See buildings are full of shadows where things can hide, and I think that's what has happened in the church for so many years. We have found the dark spots where light no longer shines, and we feel safe there. But beloved, you are missing the greatest piece of the puzzle. Oh to love and be loved in return! What a beautiful picture of the life that Christ came to fulfill on this earth.

Come out from among them!

The days of building church buildings, television programs, book deals and large ministries is over. I believe with my whole heart that the desire of this man I love Jesus, is to love people and love them WELL. I came to know Christ because of one who loved me well… one who loved me well into the midnight hour when I needed the love of Christ to change me. Almost every defining moment that I’ve had in my Christian walk has been when the body of Christ has come alive to meet the needs of a broken world, and usually it happened around a kitchen table with some good food! NOW THAT’S the CHURCH!

So I’ve left the church, and I won’t be going back. I will no longer tie myself to the unnecessary bonds of religion which tell me to do things in order to be loved and cared for. I’ll love regardless of whether or not I’ve been loved, but I will not tie myself to those with empty words of investment. 
I am taking a cue from Elvis and I am leaving the building.

It is time to come around tables and love deep into the night with vulnerable and joyful hearts.

Will you join me?

*Disclaimer: Jonathan and I have not left the assembly of believers, I am simply talking about the institution of religiosities.*

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