This blog keeps me feeling sane

A reader writes …

I have read several of your books, recommended to my husband and me because of the unique situation we found ourselves in. And after following comments on your blog, perhaps where we find ourselves is not so unique afterall.
Being fed up with the general ‘country-club’ atmosphere in our local church, having not lost our faith in God at all (as many thought after we left our church…I guess that not attending church makes us automatic unbelievers), having faced the disappointments I have in God, life and in fellow believers…all this left me wondering and searching.
So reading a few of your books has helped me to think things through. Quite honestly, you’ve made statements in your books (particularly A New Kind of Christian) that I have thought too; it was comforting to know I am not alone. Cause it really does feel alone at times.

Like increasing numbers of folks, she has dropped out of church attendance, largely because it was unacceptable to ask honest questions. But she hopes someday there will be a community where she fits and is welcome. She explains …

My husband and I grew up in church, literally. My father pastored a church … throughout my growing up years. I’ve been involved in volunteer service from the time of early childhood til 10 years ago…when I gave it all up. I can’t think of a committee or function that I’ve not been a part of (except for Promise Keepers!), played the piano for over 25 years for services, structured the worship service and etc. My life, completely, was inside the church. My husband has a similar story, having chaired numerous boards as he is an excellent leader and thinker. But therein lies our downfall from church…we ‘think’. And because things weren’t making sense and we had no safe environment in which to ask these questions, we left. I never in my wildest thoughts would have imagined that I would stop attending church…never. And now, we have lost quite a few friends and the social circle we had but I can honestly say there are very few things I actually miss about attending church. Perhaps I, who should know better, ought to be ashamed to admit that, but it’s the truth.
What I do miss is the community belonging that pervaded the atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong – we know like-minded people who understand what we are going through, people who do love and accept us and not for a moment question whether we have ‘lost’ our faith. I am grateful for these people in my life.
Guess I just want to know if it gets better? We have adjusted somewhat to the fact that though the gospel doesn’t change, how we deliver it and live it out does and that there’s been alot of bad theology to play with our heads and hearts. Recognizing the bad theology is tough at times because tradition is almost like a religion itself and freeing myself from it takes alot of energy.
One of my husband’s fave books is ‘Generous Orthodoxy’. He ate it up and understood it. He still recites quotes from your book.
I also want to say that when we left our local church (a situation that we hope is not permanent and perhaps we can find ourselves involved somewhere again…) was instrumental in me discovering who I really am, in God’s eyes for sure. Like I said, all my life I have been so busy at church doing good things, that I had no idea who I was except to be defined by my acts of volunteerism. But that changed one day. When I was no longer on stage, doing work in the church office, stripped completely of any work I did, I crashed…and didn’t know who I was. It was pretty horrible to not know myself or to come up with a definition of who I was, to me, to God, to those around me. It was like starting my faith journey over again. I knew I was saved, but that was pretty much it.
It took a few years of off and on counselling, reading and beginning this journey with how God might view me. Those are the Scriptures that I initially concentrated on. And we’ve been reading your books, as well as other like-minded authors who have helped us define this journey we are on and what to make of it.
I have rambled! It’s been a difficult time in our lives and in general, we have not been met kindly by our former church friends (actually, alienated). It’s still so difficult for me to grasp that because we stopped going to church, we are outcasts. So much for friendship evangelism, as they call it.
Thanks for reading this, if you had the time to do so. Just want to thank you for your blog, for the interesting questions people pose, the opinions, the struggles at times, that fellow believers go through. I check your blog each week and somehow, it keeps me feeling sane.
Wishing you the best in all your endeavours.

Thanks for your note – I’m sure your story will help a lot of other folks in similar situations keep feeling sane. Like you, I’m grateful for the people who pose interesting questions and opinions and share honest struggles here. We’re all in this together!