Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
Re: church for a non-church-goer
I am sure that those who knew me when I went to church would be surprised that I haven't regularly gone for years.
I was extremely involved in church...did the whole gamut. Even studied under some great minds, learning theology, Greek, and Hebrew...and taught adult classes at church, etc. Wife became church secretary...and we were involved so much...but at the same time, we were getting burned out, and my wife had social limitations which hurt us making friends. So, basically, we served wherever we were needed, but were still lonely...especially when we were so young and no one our age were couples. We also had very little money compared to the vast majority of people who were affluent.
Church fell apart after pastor left out of the blue (embezzlement, mainly)...and we fought and stuck it out to help hold the church together until we finally had new leadership installed. That was our cue. Probably would have stayed longer if my wife felt more at home, but new pastor's wife was a complete b**** to her...as was a youth pastor's wife (who constantly pressed my wife about kids...and mentioned to my wife that her being on the pill was tantamount to abortion). It's cool if you go to church and sing and pray and clap, but when you get dirty behind the scenes, you learn a bunch of stuff you wish you didn't know and it loses its magic. That's fine...I'd rather ministry be REAL, but you start to get pissed when you see an uninvolved congregation and see people in need falling through the cracks.
So when we moved away, we were done with church. It felt like such a weight off of our shoulders. Now that I look back it, I don't know if that was the right thing to do, 'cos all I did was work a lot, purposeless, and my wife started slipping away from the marriage...and I wonder if she wouldn't have started the EA's if we hadn't a support system..but the truth was we really didn't have much of a support system while at church...you know, a close group of people that we could SAFELY be honest with and bear each other's burdens. I have always desired to have transparency in my Christian relationships...and it seems like the standard Christian-culture can't handle it.
My best friendships were the people that slugged alongside me at work...many of which weren't believers. I was overjoyed when I got a ministry-type job with at-risk youth. Found a great group of men who believed like I did 'cos most guys who dare to work with messed up kids, addicts, gangbangers...were messed up themselves. I still have those friendships even after I left like 5 years ago. During that time, we've attempted to go back to church, but we have been extremely gunshy...and even now, we still do not go. No, I am not one that believes if you miss church you go to hell, but it certainly helps your "walk" if you surround yourself with supportive friends.