This is my 3rd post on this site and I think some people are getting the wrong idea, I am criticizing something I am familiar with and not really shooting down the basis of Christianity in general. I am critiquing the current interpretations and some of the fallacies or shortcomings I see.
I think people who leave the church leave for reasons and and not just because they turned their back on God yet very little has been done to eradicate that misconception. People, along the way, have become disheartened with church structure, politics, services, leaders, and a bevy of other things but church folk can chalk that up to mere sin, all the while staying ignorant to what that person may be experiencing while in their midst. Don’t get me wrong ‘you can’t please everyone’ but, and including myself, I have seen tonnes of sincere church folk walk away due to irrelavance.
I don’t think half the people I seen leave church left for belief reasons, not core beliefs anyways, but the way church was functioning around them. The system itself has plenty of short-comings and the biggest being lack of originality. They seem to be telling people this message ‘we are created equal & the exactly the same’. They are mass producing the same service, structure, politics, rules and making clones while at it. People know they are unique and the same old, same old day after day can breed apathy. Then that apathy results in them leaving looking for more in life because they stagnated while in the midst of followers, followers who kept up the status quo because they were taught never to question. Some did, some left, and some maybe made mistakes but they never stayed mundane and stagnant.
People have left over the fact they couldn’t question and where did that come from…the belief other denominations were wrong and they were right. Thus questioning meant you were entertaining beliefs that may lead down a path of destruction…when in reality it leads down a path of consciousness of ‘better knowing than not’. Finding out the cookie jar they said was filled with danger really had no teeth at all. These divisions that exist in the church only enhance one’s skepticism and are actually forbade in scripture rather than encouraged, but then again the Romans weren’t capitalists.
The church structure isn’t based on nothing but a hierachy and that structure comes from capitalism, or at least that is it’s latest form. If you look at the barebones of the church you will find a Pastor (CEO) and a board of directors (elders) who define the form of the church for the congregation, very similar to a business telling it’s employee’s what they will & won’t abide by. They raise money to raise more money to keep the structure ‘alive’ all the while not noticing they focus attentions on a building and not the people so much. They try to bring more people under their wing, a type of recruiting (evangelism), then getting them to pay money to God (tithe) all the while not telling them that money is used by the board to define the role of the church. I am not saying they don’t need money to survive but they sure don’t need to hide behind a non-profit church, and to some point God, to run this business. It’s a spade. People are all ‘gung-ho’ to be a part of the social programs a church will offer but once they see the nature of the institution some can get turned off, especially when that money they divulge into the church never feeds the poor in their neighborhood. Then to add insult to injury they find out even the poor churches operate under the ospices of the ‘middle-class’ lifestyle and what’s important to middle class folks is taken as a priority. Thus we spend huge dollars on a good building, big spiritual events, musical equipment – soundstage, and missions in other countries. And they can’t see how people not ‘middle-class’ are turned off in droves.
Spirituality has taken the form of music and that music is usually something soft and simple. That music never asking the tough questions in life but as long as it points god-ward then ‘we all good’. When people represent music that is questionable then they have to be silenced, namely if their message doesn’t seem to be spiritual. All the time not knowing some real people are asking real questions in their music that represents the ‘real’ state of the day. I can see why people want nothing to do with closemindedness.
Then this question of spirituality comes into play, what is it? The church seems to push a view that worship (to music) is the only type of spirituality or at least that’s what they emphasize. You even have youth events and concerts devoted to this and it can be found in practically every service you go to. What they fail to realize is that music is merely a mood projector, it helps with the mood no matter what you are doing or no matter who is singing, just as long as you like it. When you actually discover true spirituality you’ll definitely know. It comes about when you learn how to forgive, open your mind to God (not just your ears), when you give to the poor, help someone because they need it…spirituality actually requires actions…there’s the tree and there is the fruit too. I mean this is taught in churches but it’s on the back-burner to a good musical experience. People want music they can get it anywhere, true spirituality that means doing good deeds for others seems to be a lost art. I understand leaving after you figure out this facade.
The last thing is the rules. There are just too many and a lot of them come from inaccuracies being taught in churches of what God requires of you…I call it the measuring stick. Churches actually preach about perfection and that it can be attained, so that in keeping the common folk down they give them a goal they can never reach, thus ensuring they fail and realize they need this structure. When in reality perfection in the gospels is to treat all people equal, whether they be in the church or outside of it and that is it’s context. The problem is the church is giving rules to get to heaven that even the most holy can’t be sure if they are going to hell or not. The by-product of these rules means judging by all and for all. They figure ‘if I am barely making it then I better make sure others know they aren’t and better shape up.’ We give everyone an unrealistic measuring stick that they in turn use on others and chaos ensues. Soon everyone is judging everyone and it’s the norm and widely accepted. People cannot take these expectations and leave, I for one can’t blame them, you need some self-assurance from somewhere.
So what am I saying? It’s all psychology. Church isn’t a bad thing when it can have a meaning in the present and address current issues. The trap is the system can’t be changed and by trying you force yourself out, the old guard will not budge. My call is that people try to change and challenge these structures for the sake of their neighborhoods and for the poor around them. I came from poor and the church allowed me to change, I am grateful. But in the end it also pushed me out the doors for becoming relevant. I say church is a good entity as long as you realize the church is the people and building and systems will fall, humans are forever.