Or, to be more accurate, I soon will be.
It is a phenomenon reported by pollster George Barna, observed by many of us and experienced by some – feeling dissatisfied with church. Not just complaining that something isn’t perfectly the way we like it, or disliking the people, but feeling deeply alienated from the church system and knowing deep down that Jesus never meant it to be like this.
The question is, what to do about it? Tell yourself everyone else can’t be wrong so it must be you, and just grin and bear it? Quit church altogether? Join another church (often only to find it’s different, but still the same)? Give all your energies to making change? Or start a new church?
A new book
Jeremy Myers, who blogs at Till He Comes, has experienced a lot of this. And so he has gathered together the stories authored by 36 different christians, under the headings of Leaving Church, Switching Church and Reforming Church. Jeremy has edited the whole book and it is now due to be published on December 1 by Civitas Press.
And I am one of the authors!
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have always been insufficiently motivated, and unsure if I had enough style or enough to say. But my story of my encounters with a number of different churches, and what I have learned, is included in this book. I am quietly thrilled.
It’s there to be read
I’ll review it later when I’ve read it. But if you’ve felt frustration with the church, or if you’re happy with church but want to understand and support those who are not, you might find something worthwhile here. You can order it online for $US15.99.
Congratulations, unkleE! That’s awesome! You’re a very good writer, so I’m not surprised he was interested in your story.
Woot!!! Congrats. And this book sounds interesting. Yes, this describes me: “The question is, what to do about it? Tell yourself everyone else can’t be wrong so it must be you, and just grin and bear it? Quit church altogether? Join another church (often only to find it’s different, but still the same)? Give all your energies to making change? Or start a new church?” – And my answers keep changing!
Nate, thanks so much for your comments, kind words and encouragement.
LLM: “And my answers keep changing!”
Same here, and I think that is almost inevitable. We are in a time of change for the church, and some people and churches will embrace change, some will come along reluctantly and some will resist to the death. We who question will be told be some to stop criticising God’s church and get with the program, and by others that there is no point hanging on any longer.
We need to pray very hard, watch and listen, and be prepared for some hard choices and difficult times. Jeremiah and Ezekiel had tough tasks too, and at least it won’t be that hard for us! I wish you well, and will pray that you know how to respond.
I am really excited to get this book in print. Thanks for contributing! I hope the book, and your chapter especially, will help people as they seek to follow God and be the church.
Congratulations, UnkleE. Could you tell in a sentence what the subject of your chapter is? And congratulations Jeremy, on getting your anthology published tomorrow..
Each chapter is a person’s own story, so mine tells of my involvement in a number of different churches, what I learned and why I kept moving on.
Woo-hoo! Memoirish writing can be really effective for handling something like this constructively. Glad they included your story.
Thanks Jeremy, Marcus, Tim and Arvid, I appreciate the support. Yes I hope the “memoirish” writing works in exactly the way you say. It was a bit of a surprise to me to see how many different things I’d done in 50 years as a christian.
Unklee, interesting book! I may look for it in Amazon and download it on my Kindle. I can identify with the questions of “Should I leave church?” I left church a long time ago, and still believe that Jesus’ teachings have been misinterpreted by today’s church. Congrats!
Thanks Noel. There are a growing number of people who believe the same, and many are doing the same. I wish you well.