My wife and I have been going to the same church for over twenty years, and we have both decided that it is time to leave. This is a decision that isn’t an easy one to make, but we believe it is time to separate ourselves from what we feel to be toxicity in much of modern-day Christianity that inhabits many churches-particularly, the Evangelical brand.
Please understand that we are not leaving church/Christianity because we believe that God is not real or that the bible is a sham. We still love God and Christ, but there are some things wrong with modern-day Christianity that we do not want to be associated with.
I do want to make it abundantly clear that we are very grateful for the church that we belonged to. Our church was there for us at very important times in our lives. We met and fell in love there. We got married there, and all three of our children were dedicated there. We once had a very bad car accident in 2012 and their support helped us get home and recuperating through this hardship. There was also a time when my best friend passed away and our church was willing to cover the cost of flying me to his funeral.
We don’t expect that people will understand why we are making this decision, but here are a few of the reasons:
1) We are breaking away from the Christian culture of today.
Many churches have a way of making a certain type of person who is often positive, but fails to address negative things. As a result, authority figures are respected a bit too much, and followers are only encouraged to follow what the church crowd is doing. It is very clear that Donald Trump was able to use Christian culture to get into office, and has convinced the Religious Right that he is God’s president- even though the Fruits of the Spirit- past and present- are lacking.
2) The “Added Gospel Parts” is not something we can get behind
The idea of “saying the prayer and receiving Jesus into your heart” is actually a very new concept. You do not see Jesus practicing this type of mechanized message, but rather living by an example. Therefore, the idea of churches having evangelism programs to create converts feels like Christians trying too hard to emulate the gospel, and end up pushing people away. Speaking of trying too hard, my wife and I have noticed a shift of worship services using too much flash with their loud music, flashing lights, which seems like they are trying to create a rock concert for the followers rather than something for God.
3) The LGBTQ community has the right to marry and they should be accepted- not just tolerated.
We have learned a lot from the LGBT Christians who we personally know, and one thing is that they are simply made that way. We cannot ask them to switch the gender that they are attracted to, any more than a heterosexual can stop choosing to be attracted to the opposite sex, but we can accept them as they value their commitment of love and marriage. We do not agree with Christians who want to take away the rights granted by the laws in our country for them to enjoy the same privilege that we have.
About twenty-seven years ago, I thought that the solution to the world’s problems was just more Christianity. While I certainly don’t think that Christianity is the cause of more problems, it may be doing more harm than good with its “solution”. This isn’t what Jesus of the bible would have wanted, and this is why my family and I need to take our leave before it gets worse.
The last thing that I want to say is that my wife and I have seen what sometimes happens when people have left the church in the past. We don’t want the awkwardness that is probably inevitable to remain every time we see each other. We want our friends to know that we still care about you, so please don’t shy away. Still, this is something that we need to do.