Why I Decided to Leave the Church
Let me start off by saying that this blog post is not to shame others, or to condemn them in any way. I’m am sharing my truth as I experienced it.
Hold up, hold up… Don’t get too ahead of yourselves trying to judge me. Let me give you a little back story.
I grew up Baptist about half of my life. My grandfather is a Reverend for his own church, and my dad and uncles are all musicians. As long as I can remember, my dad was the Minister of Music, and all of his kids had to be involved. Mind you, I enjoyed every bit of it.
As a child, I witnessed a whole lot of good and bad inside of the church. One Sunday, I remember, my dad had a gig at another church in Minneapolis. It was Lutheran or Catholic (I don’t know, it was just big). After he played for that church, we were at another church. When he was done with that church, we’d be at another. It was a cycle to not stay at a church for too long.
Eventually, my dad told me that he was no longer Baptist, and that he is non-denominational. To me, this sounded cool because I had no idea what that meant. So I followed his lead. We ended up at a church that he stayed at for too long if you ask me. This was a COGIC church (if you don’t know what that means, you’ll have to look it up. I’m writing a blog not a book). After that church, we ended up at another COGIC church. Now, mind you, I went because I enjoy live music. And my dad, uncles, and brother move my soul when they play together.
I didn’t go to these churches for the sermon, is my point.
As I got older, maybe 13, I began paying attention to what was happening around me in regards to church. I kept asking myself, why do we keep switching churches? I’m so tired of doing this! Well, within the next few years my questions got answered.
It was the people inside of the church (this may not have been my dad’s opinion, but it was surely mine).
Eventually, when I was 17, maybe 18, I decided to leave church all together. This was after me attending the same church off and on majority of my life. I left because of the rules, and the people. Now, I understand that Christianity, like any religion, has a set of rules. But in my personal opinion, I felt that they were being taken too far.
#1. I was tired of being told that I had to wear dresses/skirts below the knee when I would sing in choir. I didn’t see the significance of Christianity and my clothing attire (which were slacks and a dress shirt most days).
#2. I was tired of the gossiping about me and my family. My family has a checkered past. *Side eye*. And if something happened that one church member knew about, the whole congregation knew about it. I also had my share in the gossip pond.
#3. I was tired of the constant judgement and condemning of people. This feeling came after I was told that I’m not a true Christian if I don’t give tithes and offerings. I was also talked about because of my weight and hairstyles. I was talked bad about because of my choice of clothing. I was talked about because of who my parents are.
#4. It’s so hard for me to say this, but a lot of people in the “traditional” Christian religion didn’t/don’t understand mental illness. I remember a woman who had a clear mental illness that would do some questionable things during service. They kicked her out of the church, and told her she was possessed by a demon.
*Double Side Eye*
Of course there are more examples, but there are too many to place on this post.
I decided to turn away from the church, but I didn’t turn away from God
That being said, I was in a daily fellowship with God on my own. My dad, and brother, would constantly tell me to come to church and whomp whomp whomp. I always said no, because I didn’t like the feeling I received when I stepped into a church house.
I made this decision out of pain, anger, and lack of understanding God. I couldn’t understand why I would want to follow a church and their rules if they were going to be so cruel to me and my family. I couldn’t understand how anyone could. I hadn’t returned to church until 2016. So, for 7 years, I was bitter.
I decided to get more involved, and completely gave my life to God in August 2016. That was when it was revealed to me. I was only causing more hurt in the world by being angry at the “church folks” that caused me pain and shame. I turned away from the church because of the nasty taste in my mouth it left, just like it does for so many other people in the world.
I got wrapped into the culture of the church institution. Which is so warped around rules and being “perfect” that it completely makes you lose sight of how amazingly awesome God truly is.
Now, I am non-denomination (and yes I know what it means now). I have a church home that I love (which I found by pure chance). Some members are still pretty traditional, but the Pastor isn’t, which makes me stay there. I love being able to be myself at church, and not have to worry about someone condemning me or chastising me for it.
Being at this church has turned my life around completely. God and I are pretty tight, so that’s a plus. Secondly, I have grown to not treat people in the Christian religion as “less than” because of their rules and traditions. I have learned to appreciate the differences, and learn that someone else’s way may not be my way. And that is okay, because God gave us our separate paths for a reason.
I left the church like so many others, but I always knew that God is real. I also knew that there was more to Christianity than rules, there was freedom.
So I decided to lose my religion, and gain Jesus
Because being a follower of Christ is more than a checklist, it is what makes me who I am today. Which is a whole lot nicer and compassionate than I used to be.