Monday, April 18, 2011

Can You Leave A Church You Don’t Belong To?

Someone I know has left the church.
It was a struggle for them.
They did not make the decision lightly.
Their family is hurt.
Their social position has changed.

And after I learned the reasons they left I have found myself wondering why?

Why did they leave the church?

So many of the issues they had with the church were not gospel issues.

Jesus taught us to love.
I’m sure they would still agree with that.
Jesus taught us to forgive.
I’m sure they would agree with that.
Jesus taught us to have charity in our hearts.
Actions indicate that charity is still in this person’s heart.

So why did they leave?

I think in part it was because of all the junk they had been taught that people accept as part of the church. The junk are the ideas and rules and customs with no truth behind them.

They are the inventions of wishful thinkers.

They are the imagined answers of people who wanted answers, and when God did not provide answers then people invented them so that they could look wise or, at best, put their own minds at ease.

They are appealing answers and beliefs that people can agree on and conform to.
But agreement is not revelation any more than agreement is science. And while conforming to Christ’s example is a worthy goal, conforming for the sake of conforming is simply following fashion.

They are the made up rules that make us look effective while they distract us from doing real good in the world.

They are the comfortable bonds that slow us down where the truth would set us free.
They are things that we think we hold dear, but find we cannot defend in our hearts or in our prayers.

I think of this junk as a pile of sand that comes between us and the rock of truth. When the world blows the sand away we may find we have wondered a step or two and are no longer standing on the rock we thought was beneath us. Perhaps that is what happened here.

I think the person I know will seek out truth. I hope that search will bring them back to the gospel.

The gospel as taught by the Lord, not the gospel of folklore, politics, and traditions.

Having left, this may be the last place they look. But I believe that if they look long enough they will find what they are searching for and they will also find they will be welcomed back. (And perhaps they will have something they can teach us.)

Someone I know has left the church.
What was it they left?
What should we do to help them back?

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