-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Every time I go to write I feel this mania. It is part of the reason I haven't written anything. (That, and the previous post I wrote, but never shared on social media.) Oh, and the National Zombie Church Apocalypse we've just entered. I'm not going to say I'm through speaking to those inside the brick and mortar church, but I'm not jumping at the bit to talk directly to them.
Consider this one a freebee.
I'm tired of reading post after post that basically begin, "But why my church?" The church congregant couldn't understand when they had great programs, and a loving congregation. Why would someone intentionally not go to something like that?
Let me throw it down for you as simply as I can.
1. Getting along with those who agree with you isn't the point:
I have always had a problem with monasticism. I shouldn't. It's not like I have that sage leader that suggested I should be skeptical of the monastic lifestyle. Nothing in my church career have I had reason to not appreciate monks and nuns. (In my church career, but I'll get back to that.)
Last week, talking about Church abuse, I felt I had a Paradox I needed to revisit. How could I suggest someone leave the Church when they are victimized by the Church, but I'm not cool with monks and nuns separating themselves from the world?
I'm just going to say this. I'm not looking for sympathy, and I don't want you to be mad a the parties involved. I spent a few years of my life in a neglectful home. First it was my mother's home, as she found dependency in an abusive drunk. Then in the home of a grandmother that was slowly losing her mind to the drugs that were meant to save her life.
As an adult I can see what my child-brain couldn't. The church wanted me to escape my neglect, not solve it. They didn't want me bringing it into the sanctuary, and warping the communion table with the truth of life.
I dislike monasticism because we were created to live this life, not escape it.
The Church, at the exact same time, became little temporary escape hatches for life. The only way for this to work is to ostracize those who bring reality into her building. And don't get me wrong, most of it has been unknowingly.
Maybe the space set aside for worship is sacred, but the Church is life. When you cut out life, you create this fake-utopia.
Last note on pulling yourself out of context with people who think exactly like you: I cried every time I came home from Summer Camp. First, I tried to bring my reality to camp every single year and no one wanted real. They wanted their fake real. Second, it was still an alluring trick to bring a camp full of people who believed the same thing together and pretend Utopia for a week. It was even worse when I had to come home and live in reality again.
2. Even if the abuse didn't happen in your specific church, it's your problem:
How are we the Body of Christ again? We are all members? That's right! We are all connected. The second we shift blame is the second it becomes worse. The second we ignore and deflect is the second it becomes worse.
You have no sympathy from me.
I may have left the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) but I didn't leave the Church. I sure as hell didn't leave God.
I do believe we need to be in community with one another as Christians. That's where we are so desperate to save the identity of institutionalized church, we are losing everyone in the process.
Church abuse is my abuse.
Church abuse is your abuse. ANY CHURCH abuse.
You were so insistent of being outside the world, the worst parts of the world came to you.