I’m Thinking About Quitting Church
This is my parting letter to you, church of American Christianity.
I’m so tired of living a life of pews and crosses, rules and regulations, doctrine and religion, manipulation and manmade rules. Sure I’ve only known you a short time. But I’m tired of the Jesus Country Club. Leave your sin at the door and we will valet park it, you can pick it up after service, and you can tip your bellhop. We need to keep this place running after all.
I’m tired of seeing a place where the temptation to be a gossip is just as prevalent as the temptation to have sex, yet both go under the ruse of grace; yet we explain the ramifications of neither. I’m tired of a soap opera taking place within the four walls and media drama outside. Living lives of fear instead of bravery. I understand there are the exception to the rule. The minority that change the world, but when those are highlighted, we delight in watching them fall.
I want to quit church life. To live a life that could not be feasible; that would simply be impossible if God didn’t exist. That didn’t require a Sunday morning worship team and a Pastoral anointing for me to stay on track. I want to be free of a society that dictates what my spiritual life should look like because I attend church on Sundays and a mid-week bible study. I want to blaze my own trail and pray for my own wisdom apart from what Western Society has deemed “Christianity”.
Did you know, Hebrew culture; which Jesus lived in, did not establish Christianity to look anything like this? Now, some may argue that He didn’t establish Christianity at all. But Jesus came to reveal the Father. Jesus came to send the Comforter, and because of this, we have a worldview which we’ve called Christianity. Call it what you want. Call it Jesusism if it makes you feel better (which would actually be really cool) but what Jesus didn’t do, was establish consumerism.
“I want good worship, a leader who will pour into me on my terms, a children’s program, TV screens (so I can see the PowerPoint), an excellent preacher, and good bible studies! Then if all that is there; I’ll see if the people don’t piss me off!”
Consumerism is not how Jesus called the church to run. Yet we’ve bought this function in the American church hook line and sinker. Why? Because it’s convenient. Because it’s justified by our culture. Because it helps us get our friends to church. We can list excuse after excuse but the main reason is because we don’t know the original context of Jesus’ life.
I’m quitting church because I want to live like Jesus. With sandals and a beard! No I’m joking. With a passion for the heart of the matter. Addressing what’s behind every sin, not just calling out sin like the morality police we see on Facebook Politics. I’m quitting church because there’s more to life than Sunday morning service. There’s six other days. That Sunday morning service is included as our day of rest, it’s a way to restore ourselves.
There is an upside to this denouncement of church. I gotta tell you. One of my favorite passages is
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. -Zechariah 9:12
Where we are addressed as Prisoners of Hope! Told that in Jesus twice as much as we need is given to us. So it’s not in church or a structure of a community that we find what we need, but in the hope of Jesus. Granted, Jesus provided and instituted these things, and therefore we shouldn’t take them for granted. But we should never make them our salvation. We should never make them our God. When we turn the church into our primary source of communication with God we lose the hope of relationship with Jesus. And it’s also easy to become hurt by them.
The first rule of a relationship is that it’s private. It is a two way street between two people. You can be taught how to function in a relationship by a third party but when it comes a time to function in that relationship the performance rests completely on you. Same goes for you and God. The church can teach you and help you through your relationship with God (and He will always hold up His end) but it cannot have a relationship with God for you. It is only a supplement; a vital supplement. You need to do your part.
So if you think that what I mean by “I’m quitting church” is that I’m leaving my church building and never going back or fellowshipping with my brothers in Christ, then you’ve got the wrong idea about what church is. In which case you can read this. Otherwise, join me in quitting church and becoming church. Because church is a family revolution. Not a religious revival.