Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why I won’t be going back to church this Back to Church Sunday 2013™

Shoot, you guys.

Every time I think I’m *thisclose* to taking my girls to church, something happens where I’m just like, nope. Not doing it. Can’t do it.

I even found a church close to home that aligns pretty closely with my personal views. Although I still like this one more, but it’s too far to drive.

But this whole movement to get people back to church without even addressing the reason why they left? It rings a little shallow. I guess the assumption is that most of us left because we are such sinners? We just need to turn from our sinful non-church-going ways.

It is going to take more than a themed Sunday to fix what caused people like me to quit going to church. It is going to take (some) churches realizing that God gave you a far greater gift than a freaking Bible of dubious origin and translation. He gave you a brain and a heart. He gave you science. And when you throw those out the window because “God said something” when *spoiler alert* he didn’t. Paul said it, or some other fallible mortals. And some of what he said was down right awful. (Yeah. I said it.) 

The Bible was used to justify slavery, it’s still used to treat LGBT people like second class citizens and to try to “keep women in their place.” And many churches perpetuate that stupidity either subtly or overtly? But hey, it’s cool. They serve lattes in the fellowship hall! Sorry. But I’ll pass.

Oh, church.

Spare me your misogyny.
Spare me your homophobia.
Spare me your climate change denialism, your young earth creationism, your dinosaurs on the ark ridiculouslness.
Spare me your child abuse (or even murder) under the guise of Godly discipline.
Just spare me. 
I got a Keurig from my mother-in-law, I don’t need your coffee in the fellowship hall.

Let me know when you are ready to bring your A-game.
When you are ready to stand for peace, equality (and no, separate but equal is not equality. so shove it), and social justice.
That is when I will go back to church.
Not when they declare it go back to church day.

yeah. not that.


  1. I would suggest finding yourself a nice Episcopal church (NOT Anglican -- in the US, Anglican is apparently secret code for "we don't like women or gay people"). They've got the whole liturgy thing going on, but as far as I can tell, in word and deed, they are very open, loving, and progressive people.

    1. ok, so went to an episcopal church in college and LOVED it but then was totally not sure how to navigate the episcopal church system beyond that. Because you're right, there are some that are really conservative and I thought they'd all be like my college episcopal center. and then I got sort of intimidated and quit. It is weird, I feel like a lot of denominations have super conservative and super liberal versions like that (Baptists, Church of Christs, etc.). thanks for the heads up :)

  2. I posted that video on my facebook status, as an invitation to anyone who had been away from church for awhile (or had never been), for whatever reason. In my opinion the reason why someone left isn't really the focus. I think churches are how they are because that's how they believe they are supposed to be, and they are not going to "fix" themselves to fit how you believe they are supposed to be. I liked the video because it displayed a variety of churches, and I felt the message there was that if you don't like the churches you've been to, try a different type of church, and maybe you will feel more at home there. Church may not be for everyone, but there are just as many reasons to go to church than there are to not go to church, so why not at least try to find a place where you can grow spiritually? That's really what church is supposed to be about. Just my two cents, I thought I'd comment since you might want to hear a perspective from someone who did support the Back to Church message. :)

    1. I totally support people who go to church and shared it, and lot of my friends did. And honestly, I kind of am encouraged by my friends who still like church. Well, except for the ones who I think go to cults. They weird me out. But that is a whole ‘nother topic. It felt like, between this and the Austin area (I don’t know if it stretches down to SA) the Explore God thing, has been this big PR move from CHURCHES and their leadership that are freaking out about data recently that church membership is down (especially among younger people). and I totally get that churches aren’t going to change their doctrine. but they could change things like they way they respond to shit like child abuse, which the southern baptist convention has a HUGE problem with. they totally supported church leadership that has actively covered up abuse. And event he Mormon church has made efforts to handle stuff like homosexuality better without explicitly changing their doctrine on it. they just emphasize the role of the family first and foremost now (so don’t kick out your gay kids, people). like there is so much they could do within the framework of their doctrine to put the emphasis back on relationships versus shame. And I feel like instead they--and when I say, “they” I am focusing more on the church I came from which I have been critiquing more harshly and maybe I need to let it go because there is no way in hell I’d ever go back to a southern baptist church or anything that remotely resembles it. but like an “explore god” tweet was promoted in my twitter feed and it was all, focus on the good even when those around you are focusing on the bad! and I was like, ok, the pessimist in me is like, what they are really saying is: don’t criticize the church. accept the authority god put in place there. even when that authority is enabling child abusers and shaming gay kids to the point that they are committing suicide. and i was like, BLOCK. So in conclusion, my beef is with church leadership avoiding issues and criticism, not with church members who like the church. the latter give me hope. the former, I just think i have so much linger resentment towards, no matter what they do I’m like, nope. wrong. and so some of that, is on me and my issues. and I own that.

  3. Hmmm... rereading my comment... I hope it doesn't come off as defensive, because I certainly didn't mean it that way. I did just want to provide a differing perspective, as someone who does attend (and like) church. I have also seen firsthand the hypocrisy that exists in a lot of churches, and that makes me sad, because churches are supposed to bring people closer to God, not push them further away. My husband is pretty much anti-church (he calls it anti-organized religion) because of negative experiences from when he was younger, so I know there are a lot of churches out there that are doing it wrong, unfortunately. I just want people/you to know there are some churches that are doing it right, and not give up hope that maybe someday you'll find one! :)

    1. no, I appreciate that. And I hope I find one too. And I think I might even make the trek up north the one church.

    2. Hi Laura,
      Great write-up on your perspective with respect to the church and religion. Having been a sincere advocate for the church, and even considered starting mine (I still might), I arrived at the understanding that the objective of church, and religion as a whole, is to give us information to "achieve our best life".
      The challenge:
      Why I agree with your husband being anti-organized religion. Different people are in different phases in their lives. Like recently, I was having a chat with a younger friend who is trying to get into the university. I am trying to start my second company. I asked him: "Based on the present events, if we do go to the same church, which one of us is the information given going to be targeted at?
      I absolutely believe in the interaction between God and man; I however believe the communication in church should be 'inductive' rather than 'deductive'.
      We all have different dreams, goals, lifestyles, standards, and contribution that we crave and would like to make. It would be difficult, with a thousand members, to have the information to reach out to each unique one.
      And that's the challenge.
      I take one quote from the bible, and it is my favorite: "I came that you might have life, and life more abundantly..."
      'Abundance' is an individual definition, the individual knowing I have selected absolutely, what I desire; and I won't envy those who have more, and I won't despise those (I should respect them) who have less.
      Wish you the best!