I grew up going to church. I bounced in and out of different christian homeschool groups from elementary school until halfway through high school. I belonged to multiple youth groups; I was even on the Conference Council on Youth Ministries for a couple of years. I know the church.
The more I got to know the church, the more I questioned its integrity.
In middle school, I got pissed off at the co-op I was a part of. Partially because I was pissed off at everything at that point in time, mostly because it was a den full of hypocrites pretending to be perfect little christian homeschoolers. I was kind of rebellious and didn’t fit the mold, so it felt like certain authority figures singled me out for not being “christian enough”. But that was only one bad experience among the wonderful world of church life.
Or was it?
As I grew older, I put more and more time and faith into the church. As I grew closer, I realized how repulsive this conglomerate actually is.
My experience with the church slowly turned from discussions about Jesus and faith to politics. Sermons and bible studies referenced The Book of Discipline and The Constitution way more often than they talked about The Bible and Jesus. Instead of developing a deeper faith, this view into the church helped drive me away.
Over the past few years, I’ve been questioning everything I was raised to believe. If the church is such a great community, why is it so divided? If we’re supposed to be like Jesus, why do we condemn each other over meaningless things? When did politics become more important than love?
If being a christian looks like this church I’ve come to know, I want nothing to do with it.
I think everybody wants the world to be black and white. Right and wrong should be laid out in a perfect little list so everyone who messes up can be punished accordingly. But that’s the way it used to be. In reality, humans are complicated and life is a grey area. However, love should always come first. Not tough love or “I love you but”s, just pure, unconditional love. Or at least as close to unconditional love as humanity can get; after all, nobody is perfect.
I don’t know if I can call myself a christian anymore. I don’t think I’ll ever want to be a part of the church again. But I’m absolutely certain that I want to spend my imperfect life loving the people who need love the most.