Church isn't for everyone, even those with a pure heart, decent morale, and good intentions. There is another place where some belong, under the title 'Spiritual, but not religious' or 'Religious, but not Churchgoer'. People who feel connected to something greater, in a spiritual sense that transcends all areas of life, but choose not to be affiliated with any particular brand of denominations of church on the market. I find myself residing here with significant numbers joining me.
We've tried our best, frequenting several churches to find a "right fit", only to become increasingly apprehensive of the church going experience. Some say we're too picky or perhaps we just want to feel something. In fact, the churchgoing experience seems to get worse the more we try to fit in. We even lose a little faith every time we see what it means to be Christian. It also makes me wonder how following God begins with and depends on a church. Some would say if you don't go to church, you must not believe in anything of the spiritual or religious nature. I say, 'that's too bad' and I'm here to expose the truth of why people have lost church, but hopefully not God.
My message is intended to inspire those who can't find the right church for them or can't go or don't want to go, yet can still find a way to believe and communicate with God. It took me years of giving up on church and God before I realized I don't have to go to church to have God in my life. Nobody is less of a person for not going to church.
1. Missed out on Church 101
Nervously thumbing through the bible, pretending to know where anything is as my pew neighbor practically turns right to the exact page blindfolded with a smug grin, began my initial distaste for church. Was there a test I didn't study for- how come I feel so ill-prepared? Why do I always feel like an idiot going to church, worried about impressing the devouted followers and the pastor or preacher, but where is God in all this? Then someone makes a reference to a bible story and I'm lost all over again. Everyone around me begins talking of terms I've never heard, as if trying to outdo each other with saintly knowledge of the bible. If only they knew they lost me at the first thou shalt....
Many of us are feeling left in the dust when we go to church. Guess I forgot to study before I went, maybe I was too busy those years studying to get my college degree. "The dog ate my bible pastor/preacher." "A whale, a burning bush?" Are you talking about a Sex In The City episode?
When it comes to basic bible knowledge, those initially trying out church for the first time without prior knowledge are in over their heads. For them, it becomes too overwhelming and discouraging when other church members seem to look down upon people who are not well versed. When I've gone to church it seems everybody is quoting a verse from the bible. For some reason I can't remember a bible verse any better than I can remember a funny joke I was told just a minute ago.
2. Spiritual Versus Religious
As I mentioned in the intro, an increasing amount of people are labeling themselves as "spiritual". I should probably not differentiate between the two because there is only a fine line. However, in some formats people have attributed certain differences between the two such as "Spirituality tends to be more personal and private while religion tends to incorporate public rituals and organized doctrines."
As I have found personally, there are numerous distractions in the church going experience that lead me away from God. "Go to elaborate churches to worship, told what to pray and when to pray it. All those factors remove you from god."...as one source has put it. I compare it to writing a paper. I've always considered myself a writer and do it for a living now, but my writing pieces, even as a child, are remarkably different/disengaged when I have set guidelines and told what to write. When I am free to write on the topic of my choice, the outcome is better.
I always come home to the Bible, but just not how I am supposed to interpret it or when to study what. Those that consider themselves spiritual are part of a larger group- it encompasses and transcends all religions. It is bigger.
Just recently I attended church and there was a guest speaker who was wonderful, but to my dismay he was not a pastor or preacher, just a man with spiritual experience. He spoke of truth- our truth, the people's truth. There were gasps in the church at some of his points which made me realize some regular church goers are accustomed to, and expect, a certain message. One that stunts their growth. Growing is something we can do inside ourselves with God residing there, whereas people can get emotionally and psychologically stuck in a rut at church hearing a message that seems to be a one-size fits all.
3. Day of Rest
Didn't someone say Sunday is a day of rest, but you want me to get up early and dress up? I want quality time with my pillow and not think twice about my bed head. The thought of getting the kids ready and cheerleading everyone to church is exhausting. We want our day of rest. I don't want to get out of bed extra early to look extra churchly and put on my saint act and wear my best smile when 10 minutes ago I was yelling at my kids to put their socks on. I put on "fake" dress-up clothes that fashionably go with the "fake" attitude I feel like I have to put on too.
Really, the physical exhaustion is nothing compared to the brutal mental preparedness that goes on to create and maintain the proper definition of a churchgoer.Which brings to mind, does God think me less honorable for not dressing up for church? Maybe if we came as we are, then we would act like who we really are instead of putting up a fake appearance and attitude. Would it mean I'm less devoted if I wore jeans and a ponytail, wouldn't God want me to come as I really am? If God is inside us, why would he be concerned about what is on our outside?
4. Conflicting Evidence
There are a lot of good people who don't go to church. We put in a helping hand when needed, we participate in random acts of kindness, and we don't pretend to practice what we preach. Have you ever seen the devout in public at any given time, especially on a day other than Sunday- or even Sunday afternoon after church? They have two lives, one in church and one definitely outside of church.
Church has left a bad taste in some of our mouths from people who have purposely hurt us or wronged us and claim to be godly to the fact that there is conflicting stories and interpretations among religions and even within a single church. If a Monk can uphold almost impossible religious rituals without question to his faith or to make others feel less worthy, then a Christian can uphold general principles of Christianity without arguing the Book among each other and other religions. They can also be a good example within their community, instead of turning people off to their church by the way they act.
I'm simply saying that people should not seek church to feel as though they have done their good deed for the week, and they can act inconsiderately the rest of the week. Church should not be a sanction for them to feel better about themselves for having done numerous wrongs Monday through Saturday.
5. Thou Shall Not Judge
The feeling of scrutiny and judgment lie heavy upon many church goers- why must we have an extra burden dumped upon us? Everybody judges, but it spreads through a church congregation like wild fire. Do you get the feeling not all of your sins have been forgiven when you walk through those saintly doors? If God ever needs help on judgement day, he need not go further than the nearest church. It wouldn't be a tough recruiting assignment with all those eagerly judging folk. They try to enforce their views, politics, and parenting advice, among other let's-not-go-there topics.
In the well-known book, 'The Shack', a shocking statement suggested we should not even judge a serial killer. Now think about that a minute, but it's true. We have no right to judge that person because God may forgive him and we probably wouldn't. God knows our hearts and perhaps the serial killer was acting out of what he learned as a child from previous abuse. God forgives more than he judges harshly so why aren't any church goers following his example?
A personal experience for me was a time when I was trying out a new church by going to a women's bible study group. I had never been to the church, but it was where my daughter went to daycare before I was laid off. I told the ladies I was staying home with my daughter and all of them chimed in with 'good for you, doing the right thing by staying home with your child, good values, that's the right thing to do.. blah blah blah' and all I was thinking was I'd still be working if my boss hadn't cut me loose. But I am a woman of good values, I wanted to work and make a living for my daughter, isn't that also the right thing to do? They judged before I told them my whole story.
I also remember church when it was taboo to get a divorce. I remember because my mom had a hard time finding a suitable church for us to attend when I was a child and my parents got divorced. Sad, but true.
There are many industries that don't close on Sundays or even weekends. For example, I was a waitress many years and worked on the weekends, especially Sundays because that was when I made the most money- money I needed to pay the bills. Sure, I could have prayed for an extra $100 from God and stayed home from work, but not to sound obvious and repetitive, I needed to pay my bills. I especially enjoyed the bad Sunday church tippers who turned their nose up to me because I didn't go to church.
Some people don't have a choice whether to work on that day or not. One job I had in the mental health industry, I was on-call, especially Sundays. Unfortunately that's life and even when it's not our choice, as in work situations, we are still made to feel guilty by the righteous mass who faithfully go to church.
7. Church isn't the Only Place to Worship
Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically state that a believer must go to church. There are places besides church where someone can worship and feel God's presence within them. I'm sure there is a verse in the scripture stating something similar about God residing within us no matter where we are. The church doesn't necessarily represent God, the people do, and wherever the people/believers are, he will be too.
Over time, church can dull the individual excitement and spirit of worship. Church is structured with a specific layout. No matter what church you go to, there is a general format that is followed precisely almost every week, following someone else's ideas of worship and catering little to individuals or breaking away from routine. If church doesn't get you excited, you shouldn't go.
8. Creepiness Factor
Why is it the more mentally ill a person is, the more religious they seem to be? I've worked with and been around my fair share of the mentally ill and religion can get pretty weird if you listen to their 'testimonies' and the way they "talk to Jesus". The extremely mentally ill, such as schizophrenia and bipolar, are irrationally fearful people and religion claims to 'save' people so I believe it is why they are attracted to religion and it's promises.
What about the catholic priests and the molested boys- some rumor, some not and that is definitely creepy. I think this is a prime example of religions' restrictions. People feel they have to hide their true selves in order to be accepted by the church, and sadly the restrictions can cause more corruption and lure of the forbidden (sin) behind closed doors.
Religious cults; preying on the vulnerable who may wind up joining a cult. Others are power hungry and opportunistic, and they are the ones that form and/or lead a cult. The two feed off each other and create cultural and moralistic havoc. Any church that offers an escape from reality is not going to benefit anyone no matter how dire their current circumstances may seem.
9. Repetitive or dull songs
While many, possibly majority, of church frequenters enjoy singing, and are uplifted by the experience, there is an equally impressive number of us who don't enjoy it, or at least the songs. I don't want to hear myself singing, let alone granny next to me who is tone deaf- really no offense, but she is usually the one singing the loudest.
The hymns in most churches haven't been updated in God knows how long. If church music was meant to excite everyone enough to participate, then let's not leave out the rockers and rappers of most recent generations- we just don't feel included. This doesn't mean we don't want to hear others, more qualified, sing- that is very enjoyable. Maybe some of us would just like to sit it out and enjoy the music rather than participate, but it's taboo to sit out songs.
There are people who go for the sole purpose to hear a sermon and thoughtfully apply it to their lives. If singing were cut to a minimum, then we could sleep in a little later and go for a half hour church session instead. Actually I know people who arrive at church late to skip the singing part- ingenious!
10. Unanswered Prayers
"Every act you have performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something," Dale Carnegie. This is human nature and a mother knows this best when she has a baby- babies are pure wants and needs. Even making a donation and being charitable has a pay off for you- you feel better after you give and you like that feeling so you may do it from time to time depending on how often you want that feeling.
Church gives some people what they want- some go to learn, to socialize, and to get prayers answered. We expect and believe one time or another our prayers should be answered. When they aren't, some people will justify the reason for an unanswered prayer and others will lose faith. Faith may be intangible (that's the point) but we all need something to grasp to keep that faith. Enough unanswered prayers or sometimes just one prayer (or bargain) with God if he does just this one thing for you, then you will never doubt him and become devoted to him everlasting. If prayers go unanswered, then there is no motivation to believe if we don't get what we want.
God isn't a magic genie. If we believe more in ourselves, that God can work through us then we can help ourselves. Like the saying goes, "Pray to God, but row for the shore" or "God helps those who help themselves" or "With God, all things are possible". These statements give us personal power through God. It can serve some people well to separate themselves from the church to grow beyond expectations and what God owes us or a feeling God is punishing us by not answering prayers. These are all injected into us from churches.
There are several benefits for believing in a religion and/or spirituality itself. These benefits are reflected in our physical and mental health and have even been tested and recorded in psychological studies. The unanimous verdict is that someone who believes in something, of religious or spiritual nature, show more positive and healthy activity in their brain, which may also help you live longer and happier as well. However, this does not pertain to going to church, so believers can reap these benefits without the hassles of going to church. Often times people give up on religion and a spiritual life altogether just because they don't want to go to church, but church is not indicative of believing. Church isn't what makes someone happy, it is the power of believing.
Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 31, 2019:
Laura, I often say "my mother must have conceived me in the church" because that is the first none home things I remember doing continually. Being caught in it at such a young age I am told I was 4 when I asked to be baptized and was. By the time I was 12 I was able to teach children 6 to 9 - there were too few adults attending Sunday School - and in the 1950s we went to Sunday School, morning worship, often times 3pm worship, BTU (Baptist Training Union) and evening worship. I believe I had read the Bible through by the 6th grade in '55. I didn't miss out on "church 101." (my story http://prop1.org/protest/elijah/author.htm#book)
During that I questioned why the church wasn't following the teachings of Christ, why did people say they were "born again" and the only change was going to church more often and nothing more. At 17 I practically stopped going to church at 19 left home but before 29 I had an experience I call my "new conception" that my mother didn't see any change in me until I invited her to my first sermon in May of 73. I began intense Bible study and made note of the contradictions and finally in August '76 I left my job and wife to become the nomad Jesus taught is the way of the "new born."
At first I attended church but soon realized most of your reasons for leaving which I couldn't hav e seen had I not gone through the almost 3 years of objectively reading the Bible, therefore, I concur with analysis as to why people do but I want to add just a bit more.
1) My study taught me church means "the called out from" the world and if students of the Bible were not blinded by organized church's teachings they'd see the title Christian derived from the early church's following Jesus' example but church don't teach Acts 11.
2) My life tells me "the called out" eventually have every day as rest days except for obtaining body requirements as man lived in and pre-Garden.
and 3) The book tells us we are to do our studying and live it independent of others as the creation story implies we lived until Adam had a man woven from him causing him to rename THEM BOTH woman.
I enjoyed your reading frank truth. Thank you!!!
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 27, 2017:
Just ran across this article and found it refreshing. It has been my experience that pastors teach that God is Jealous, Vengeful, Wrathful and a Warrior. This is based on the Bible. I take exception to this depiction because I believe God is Good and always Good. Depicting God with negative emotions is Blasphemy. I cannot seem to find a church which understands God is Good and never Evil. In my view, all negative emotions are a Projection of the person and not of God.
John Lyons from UK & USA on April 04, 2017:
A very interesting and well written article. Thanks
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on March 12, 2017:
This is one amazing and truthful piece of writing so much so that when I began reading it, it spoke to me in a particular way.
Let me unload this on you and get your input.
I attend (now get your program and laser pointer as to not be confused) a non-denominational body of believers (church) but it is being operated underneath the umbrella of the Pentecostal Church and I will not name the city for fear of what might happen later.
These days even believers cannot take that many chances.
My wife and I and our three grandchildren started attending this church five years ago and all seemed fine.
Truthfully and without bias, the body of believers from the pastor on down are some of the friendliest, most caring people we have ever met.
When our daughter passed away last year, the pastor and his wife were the first to arrive at the hospital to offer sympathies.
Now during this time of a year ago, I was the teenagers' Sunday School teacher until our daughter was admitted to a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama and spent most of the summer in the facility before release in August.
I, being the caring dad, stayed home all of the time to field phone calls, write down names of callers, etc., but turned my class over to a man whom I thought was a friend.
Turns out, he covered my class for a brief time then when I did get to come back to church my class had been turned over to the pastor's oldest daughter and her husband.
The pastor's wife called me on the Saturday before the Sunday I returned and just said to "talk to (daughter's name) in the morning."
So I did, well, attempt to talk to the daughter who would only respond with, "we've taken over that class."
I asked her what about me? She responded with the same pointless answer.
Since then I have put my name on all of the volunteer teaching lists even phoned the pastor (who makes the appointments) which I am bothered by for what if some of a body's believers are gifted and never appointed?
This past week the youth director took the youth, my wife and grandkids and the youth to Winterfest in Pigeon Forge.
Naturally the Adult Sunday School class, which she teaches, was vacant so I called the Sunday School manager and almost begged him to let me teach.
No. He was going to handle it.
It is like this everytime I want to teach when an opening comes up. The pastor's friends if his family are not there, always get the call.
So what do I do?
Sanxuary on December 26, 2016:
I must be the last one to make a comment. I find that most people in church practice nothing and are concerned only with Earthly agendas and some club membership. Its a personal relationship and practicing at all times to attain spiritual maturity. Its not what matters on Earth but what you sacrifice now to get to heaven. Most will follow the media when they condemn the believers and accept the mark to keep talking to their God on face book when the time comes. They have no idea that turning down a higher paying job and suffering poverty is more important then promoting a sin upon others. They could careless if they vote for evil and discriminate against others. Its church on Sunday and Earthly agendas the rest of the week. They sell their trust to anyone but God and do not know his glory when you rebel against evil. In fear of what others think and standing only in their shoes to critisize others who know the only path to get their. Have they forgotten their savoir or does it only count in the eyes of the club? You have probably educated more by disagreeing then by blind faith. I find more people believe in God once I tell them no person can tell you about God, Their is no penalty for believing unless you include the people of this World. Stop believing what people tell you and read for yourself. Then believe for yourself and decide your journey. Its good against evil to save your own soul. Good decisions lead to wise results and let no person deter you from your own personal relationship with God. Seek truth always and bring no harm to others and you will find your way and will know if what you hear is good. Not all places are bad but the shoe does not always fit and your journey may not belong in a house of low spiritual maturity. It may be blind to this World and to those who do not understand that we judge ourselves. We are selfish so we can save ourselves first. With so many broken homes its hard to pretend with others that we our perfect enough to sing hymns and hear how we must live to only fail for a lack of practice. The World is so evil that we are blessed more by running away and escaping evil. We are being told to save everything when its better that we lose a few things first and to hope it finds its way back from example. The church may not be broken but the people are. With no people because they leave because of people who claim some strange perfection they must recognize those who need to escape first to find sanctuary.
foodforthought on August 24, 2015:
I am glad to hear that is not your perception but sad to admit that many do have that perception. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. May God bless you.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on August 08, 2015:
Thanks and that's a good way to put it!
@Food for thought~
Interesting thoughts. Thanks for the clarification of the bi-polar and schizophrenic. My point was that is what other people think or assume. It's not my perception personally.
food for thought on July 20, 2015:
I forgot to put the beginning of that quote in but when I tried to (having done this on a phone because it's my only internet) it jumped to the top of my post and I could not scroll down. Here it is: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Right after that is what I quoted in the first post. Then it finishes with: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Basically by putting ourselves in situations that are challenging we are refining ours spirits as well as those we affect who were initially difficult to us (iron sharpens iron). I truly hopes this message reaches you properly, you seem to be a decent individual.
I would like to mention also that I am bipolar. I had almost no interest in religion or God until I had a psychotic break. This break was actually very peaceful and without fear. I am not a fearful person and never have been. I just thought I'd mention a suggestion of not making such a blanket statement such as : schizophrenics and bipolars are fearful etc. There are paranoid schizophrenics but that does not entail the entire population of schizophrenics and clearly not all bipolars seeing as I am not. You did not hurt
food for thought on July 20, 2015:
I just felt the urge to comment about God's love. If we are to delve deeper into understanding God's love than going to church and dealing with frustrating individuals seems like an ideal environment for growth with God.
For one thing, we are involved with others who believe in God enough to show up at a believers meeting place regularly.
We are also given a prime opportunity into understanding a deeper aspect of God's love (He loves all and wants none to perish which is incredibly deep). Our opportunity with these difficult individuals will teach us the most optimum methods to ineract both in ways of support and rebuking. Hence, in time, all within the church can grow and those who don't would leave out of a feeling of discomfort from those growing within the body. It also teaches us humility because we must accept being rebuked ourselves.
It is far more difficult out in the world away from church to come across other believers in this manner. If you follow God at home and share with those of like mind, spirit and morals than your growth can be severely stunted due to a lack of growth in understanding God's deeper love. It is possible to seek out challenging people outside of church but it's far more work. I am not against that I just felt a need to mention it. There is no attack on my end; I am actually fine with what you wrote (after reading all comments as well). I do hope you consider this deeper aspect in some way. Please remember that Jesus said: if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Smitty from Arizona on July 20, 2015:
I love your Hub. It's too bad that so many churches today are just a country club for Christians, instead of a hospital for those that are hurting.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on May 30, 2015:
Thanks Carlos. I love the saying about pure Christians in church and heaven. that's great! I agree. I must ADD cause I get distracted by the gossip and ironically some of the worst people I've ever me in church.
Carlos on May 14, 2015:
I avoid the "critics" within any church. My salvation is mine and my responsibility. There's a parable on wheat and tares, that Christ taught. It's pretty much with anything in life, the positives are along the negatives. Show me a good loving wholesome church with all pure Christians and I'll show you heaven.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on March 07, 2015:
I understand but I feel closer to God and more self disciplined when worshipping within my own family. When I went every Sunday- it was duty and I felt "done" for the week. When I do it at home, it's part of my everyday life.
I think you're mistaken that all these points in the article are me- I represent what many out there think, have experienced, and what I hear from others. Perhaps some have been me at one time or another as many of us mortals have experienced.
The saddest part of your comment is you don't know me yet pray for me to see like God. I live with morals and values and with God in my home. I wanted to point out also that just because one doesn't go to church, it's people like you whom chase them away from God completely. It's your all-or-nothing thinking. They think (I've been there before) if I don't go to church or even want to, I have no place with God. I really hope it's not all or nothing with you- that's sad. People like you put such a high price on what it takes to get in heaven and for God to accept us, it's just not true. I hope God helps you find peace.
Elder redwood on March 07, 2015:
You know there is a kingdom called "Self" and we must be careful that we aren't trapped in that kingdom. If we are trapped in the kingdom of self then we will loose the ability to develop relationships, both latitudinal and vertical. Our relationships with our families and friends will become face value because until you can identify with the God of the Bible and have an understanding the grace of God then one will be as two ships passing by in the night. I am praying that the God of the Lord Jesus Christ will open our eyes so we can begin to see like him.
sigministries on February 12, 2015:
The bible says fail not to assemble yourselves together like some do. The purpose of the church(building) is for believers to fellowship together to get empowered by one another. So the church( building) serves its purpose. Then to the church( in us) is what Jesus is coming back for. So we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The key is fellowshipping being connected with a body of believers . God does things in decent and in order. To rationalize the word of God is dangerous because it can lead to sin. Now God is the true Judge. But we as believers are allowed to judge sin and not the person. I understand in this day in time going to church isnt popular for some based on different experiences, but be encourage in this season, the bible talks about a great falling away. So lets be carefull in this season the choices we make as believers. Read and obey the word of God. Dont put your own thoughts and feeling based emotions and feelings and lack of results. Its not about religion but relationship.
gwesley on September 24, 2014:
Today's Consumer Driven Society
cannot help but see church from the consumer seat.
I pay my money---you, the church, provide services
has reached narcissistic levels.
People are just in the way of my ambition until they can give me what I want.
Today's Theology has created numerous designer Jesus figures.
If you don't like the God in the bible, make up your own.
Today's Church decided to go retail. We have bands--Dove Awards, Jesus dolls, and a host of other money making proposals. Our preachers have big grins, houses, cars, planes and ego to match. Send your money and be blessed with a return on your "seed faith" investment. It's the Jesus Lottery!!
No wonder people are turned off with church. ? Too many church leaders and churches have become the world we all need respite from.
Today's Church has gone into the Performing Arts. Used to, a minister needed Seminary for preparation to serve people--Now they need a performing Arts degree. The church has no mandate to entertain people or to make people excited or happy. In Christian worship,
The congregation are the performers--God is the audience--and the Ministers are merely prompters. (paraphrase of Kierkegaard)
The church building is a place for Christians to gather. As someone has well said, "It is a hospital for sinful people--not a haven for "good" people. This makes me right at home.
Non Christians must always be welcome, but they really have no reason for attending beyond curiosity or search. I am not a member of the Lions Club and I would resent it if they kept insisting that I go to their meetings and behaving according to their charter. BUT, as a Lion's Club Member, wouldn't it be natural for me to attend regularly and abide by the charter I agreed upon? Perhaps the biggest immature fault of many Christians is their expectation that "outsiders"-- "non-Christians" ACT like they are. Changing ones behavior does not make one a Christian, changing ones belief does.
"Money paid to workers isn't a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him."
I take my sorry self down to the meeting house and go inside with the rest of my church who is just as in need as I am for Grace, Discipleship and Encouragement. Ain't one of us got it all together. I do this weekly as the early Christians did each first day of the week--Sunday (not the Sabbath which is Saturday) the Lords Day--a resurrection Sunday.
"Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that." Hebrews 10:25
Most importantly, I worship and study the bible daily. My daily worship and study help to define my understanding of God and my relationship with Him. THEN, when I join with other believers (the church) for corporate worship, my expectations are more in keeping with biblical truth. I am more interested in what pleases God more than myself.
"My friends, when you meet to worship, you must do everything for the good of everyone there" I Corinthians 14:26
Those who love God in private worship--Daily--understand this verse of scripture and practice it. A building full of the church doing this very thing makes for an attractive place!
A building full of people who never read the bible or pray?
There's your mess!
"You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him. Plant your roots in Christ and let Him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful."
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on September 15, 2014:
I completely agree Ericajean. It is good to be with people of same mind and spirit...and I'll add values too!
THank you for stopping by Bangani Sibeko and Raine.
Wise words Mark.
Ericajean on August 04, 2014:
Thanks Mark! Your answer makes sense. I actually do see the physical Church as a place to go for encouragement if someone needs/feels led to go there.
There is no Scripture that says someone goes to hell if they do not attend Church. However, being with others of the same mind and Spirit is good - and not just in a church building.
mark on July 25, 2014:
It is my oppinion , simply put the living word will make a change in any ones life - however this takes to open it and read it with intent ,purpose,and dedication the result is understanding ,application and good truth of how one is to lead a good moral and righteous life .this is not without trial and error . Albeit life teaches us that obeidience and discipline takes effort and many dont want to put in effort as this costs us . Church be it what it is (a sick place and many are sick simply is indicated by how one thinks and acts ) - for those needing a place to start it is good - for those that have started and growth is needed study the Word - for those that know the Word , practice it - for those that need encouradgement go - for those that love it continue - for those that are serrious with wanting a relationship with their God of the Living, go and seek His face - for those that love music go and enjoy it with all heart - for those that want a position in church SUCK UP TO THE PASTOR AND WIFE AND ELDERS AND THE ELITE you are sure to make a way and find out you still arent good enough . ............
But for those of you that are serious about living a meaning full life that pleases and honors God - practice undefiled religion with a good heart , in all you do be righteous , honor the ways of a loving God , help where you can , tell no one of the good you do when giving alms , trust God , do not moan and groan , be fare , if married treat husband / wife with love and honor , dont send your children to sunday school - fathers teach your children gods ways .
There is many ways to serve , praise , and worship God - none greater than a heart that does it with a smile seasoned with compassion and always trusting God regardless of the circumstances in faith .
so if the pillow is calling sleep with joy - if a run ,run with joy - if to fly , fly be gratefull and be thankfull , no mater what do all with thanks giving .
However since their is a season for all good things and you feel that there is more you can do - ask God for His spirit to Fill you and get busy with some miracles - helping - share the gospel - and making your self available to work for the kingdom of God .
Enough said - this be the truth that keeps all together Love the Lord God Almighty with all your Heart ,Soul , Mind and strength .
FOR THIS GOD DESERVES .
Mackwho on July 16, 2014:
Here is another good link... And thank you for your patience of approving my post!
Mackwho on July 16, 2014:
okay throu all of this has anyone talked to you about the miracles of the Echuarist of the Catholic Church?
There is no explanation and the miracle could have not been faked... So a God must exist and using reason would not a God reward Hid Church if it was the true Church?
Raine Law Yuen from Cape Town on June 29, 2014:
Just completed a hub on manifesting through prayer. Although I was bought up with Christian values I have come to a point in believing that spirituality rather than organized religion is the way to find truth. Spirituality is an inner focus to finding your truth whilst organized religion places an outer focus to faith. It can also be said that this is where the historic difference between Eastern and Western philosophy lie. the East developed along holism and the belief that inner reflection is necessary to obtain individual and societal harmony whilst the West followed the philosophy of ancient Greece and the belief that man is the centre of his universe and pursued Individuality, reasoning and duliasm - Mind body and spirit are all separate. This philosophy served the interest of the West over many years but only to learn that we are all interdependent and with technology its all seems to be backfiring - We just cannot compete with smart technology - hence the need to go inward and back to basics. As the old Chinese curse goes 'may you live in interesting times' I think such a time is now.
Bongani Sibeko from Johannesburg on June 04, 2014:
An-eye-opening, insightful and truthful article. The most divisive mechanism man has come up with is religion. Religion creates all these rituals we have to follow and obey and when we do not do so, we are called and labelled names. We become slaves of religion.
God doesn't dwell on man made temples. Going to church especially the way religion has made church to be is very discouraging. We go to church for some meaning in life, we make a mistake that if we don't go to church God will not hear from us. God is not restricted and limited to a church building, he doesn't even live there!
It's time for us to rise up and denounce religion and join what our hearts yearn for, the kingdom of God. God doesn't recognize all these religions, he never designed any religion. He calls us to his kingdom where there is true love, no prejudice whatsoever!
God bless you for exposing such truth!
Anil on April 20, 2014:
After attending evangelical churches in the USA for 16 years, I am disillusioned and cynical.
Pastor-directed church models encourage exploitation and spiritual abuse of the people (congregation) by leaders. Furthermore, they tend to lead to pastor-centered churches. It is true that even the best model can be corrupted due to man's corrupt nature. Yet God wants us to pick a model that has the principles of the body of Christ.
Here, I describe My Dream Church from my study of the Bible.
Bob7777 on April 09, 2014:
A house divided among itself will not stand. I am not against the church or body of Christ nor will I ever be. It's just that I can't seem to find a church where people actually can understand or have taken time to understand that there are even different situations/ scenarios (if U will) in life and personal levels of integrity other than what the average church goer has experienced or is willing to give credence to and that some people want to give God 100% whereas most church goers don't understand that this means giving more and more to God (including our simple trust) as our walk with him progresses on a daily basis (God may even literally ask someone to lay down their own life for another eventually if our faith is proven strong enough). Things are not always so black and white. And yes while we should acknowledge that sin is black and white, we are to hate the sin and not the sinner with exception to all out hedonistic behavior or apostasy (in other words if ever U have complete evil opposing Christ then yes I believe the war is on). The problem I have encountered almost constantly is that within the 4 walls of the church U have the holy of holies (and I believe that they are often true Christians) who are so afraid of sinning that they force their uptight standards on U and then U have the cool Christian club who go too far in the opposite direction almost having no moral code or holy reverence for God or respect for others. I believe the devil is quite aware of this and it's one way he divides a church in this day and age. Go to the two extremes and let even the fish in the middle be tempted into doubting that God really loves them or that he is even real because at the end of the day you are left numb with all the head games and a lack of the true issues being addressed. And it's all wrapped up and disguised in church politics so that a church member who is seeking the truth gets a neatly packaged but surface level answer or is even told in so many words, " don't be a problem just walk with God, because your questions are causing problems or unrest". I have experienced in my own life gossip and slander sweeping thru an entire church only to leave the target of these attacks feeling justified in leaving that church. I have seen a mob mentality in a church in which people gang up on one person like they are going to war instead of putting themselves in that person's situation and being understanding and encouraging (and no I am not saying to be accepting of sin and there are many times that somebody has not sinned (other than they have made mistakes in the past but other church members decide it's easier to label them as a bad egg), it's just that they didn't give others around them that perfect churchy impression one must expect in a church gathering or it's that they did or said something that looked bad to the scrupulous human eye or ears). I have seen people caught up in being accepted by others because they would rather be liked and seen as cool than to speak the truth or bee seen with others who don't fit in with their idea of cool (very common in today's often times unholy and unChrist-like churches). I have seen a church resemble more of a materialistic popularity contest where it's members literally sit around (a good portion of them so as to affect or influence the spirit or attitude of that church) and assign the members of that church a sort of popularity status on a scale of 1-10 so that U would be temepted not to do or say anything so as not to be lowered on their ranking scale and if things would continue long enough in that manner most of the members of that church would be influenced to live for the approval of people and lose their focus on serving God. Need I mention situations that require deeper spiritual levels of understanding or capabilities which not all Church goers may possess depending on their walk with God so U can be seen as an odd ball or outcast by other members of your church simply because U have given God 100%. C.S. Lewis once said that if he could define what hell would be like it would have to be like a giant office building with many politicians inside never doing more than they have to and never looking like the culprit. I hope we can't say the same thing about the Church today. I know there are good Christians out there and I thank God for those he has brought into my life to encourage me especially thru their Christ-like example. We have hope in Christ and I encourage everyone to run the good race and to finish to the end giving God the glory. The only answer I can find is to go out there and do God's will as the HolySpirit (that Jesus sent to us when he tore away the holy veil) guides us accordingly in each situation.
john smith on April 07, 2014:
BRILLIANT ! you,ve been to my church hav,nt you?
Just left it 4/4/14 Full of matthew chapt 23.... OH WOE !
BY:WATERSTAR on March 26, 2014:
FROM: WATERSTAR. are people really quitting Church or is it running out of spiritual vitamines . in any case one of the main reason is the Facts that Most of The establish Old Churches have lost their Vision of who Jesus really his and what he stand For and Most of the Old Churches have become Cold and Lukewarm Not enough Love For People Soul and Too Much Love For Money $ .and we are in a knowledge age where everybody see and feel the lack of love.but The Main reason is because we are in the End of Days and the Rapture is about to take Place and only the wise Virgin who Love God can see it ,as it is written in the gospel of ST. Luke in the Last days before Jesus Return people all over the World will Love Pleasure more than God all kind of marrying and Living in Common Law living a whole Lot of dont Care attitude so it really not Leaving The Churches as to Falling out of Love With and For God and have become UN THANKFULL for what Jesus as done in giving His Life so that man Can Have Everlasting Life in Paradise Mankind have Forgotten what God have done for them and dont care much about anything or anyone but themself alone they quit on themself they gave up Like a runner in a race that just stop running , But it not too Late to Jump back in Just shake off the Dust go back to the Book of acts of the Apostle Chapter 2 and verse 38 and get started and this time Find a Holy Ghost Jesus Believing Church and get going we are running out of time so Snap to it You dont want to missed Jesus at the Rapture of the Church it will be a very hard day for those left behind. Heaven is wort it just to go to Church and give Thanks it simple just be humble Jesus Still Love you the way you are. BY: WATERSTAR
Ultraman from Maryland on March 12, 2014:
It is unfortunate that people call themselves Christians and talk/act otherwise. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian or go to church does not mean they are one. Christians can be easily identified by expressions of love, nonjudgmental, willing to help, humble, respectful, sincere, and honesty. There are many other adjectives I could use, but I think you get the jist of what I am saying. Again it is unfortunate for the body of Christ because a lot of GOD'S gifts are never realized because the so called Christians behavior and speech hardens the hearts of people looking for a church to go to. I know it is important to go to church where you feel comfortable, however first and foremost Christians are suppose to go to church to have a relationship with Jesus/GOD. Once that relationship is established you can then through behavior and speech show love which will attract people. Regardless of the negativity you receive from the so called Christian, YOU THE REAL CHRISTIAN will be a light upon the hill as an example of what a Christian is suppose to be.
deorganicchurch from Newark, DE on March 08, 2014:
It seems harder these days to find a good church, since so many people are so into themselves that they have problems relating to others. I can go online and download many great messages without ever leaving my house, but I can't download spending quality time with other believers where iron sharpens iron. I think if a church fails in developing quality people that are becoming more Christlike, it has failed in a major area. I do commend that many churches preach the gospel to the unsaved and lead them to Christ. This is perhaps the strongest trait of a great number of churches. The problem is what happens after they are saved. The Bible tells us to go into the world and make disciples. Making disciples involves more than just preaching saving faith, it involves promoting continual growth of the believer as they spend the remaining portion of their life conforming into the image of Christ. When a large number of people attending a church do not display Christlike behavior, there is a serious problem in that church. It seems like Western society, especially young people, want less to do with Christ as each year passes by. This might be the falling away prophesied in the Bible.
Dave t on March 06, 2014:
It's sad that the original post starts off about why the writer doesn't go to church, and veers towards why they don't have a faith. Many of the comments go the same way.
A church should accept anyone, in whatever state their life is, just like its leader Christ did. Where a church makes you feel unwelcome or looked down upon, that church has a problem.
Note: feel free to replace the word 'sin' with 'things that God doesn't want' below...
Please remember though that entirety of a church is sinful people, including the pastor ("everyone has fallen short" if you are looking for a reference). Some of that sinfulness will be poor behaviour by how they treat each other and you as a visitor.
I encourage readers here to see past that, and recognize that they can still learn from God, and grow their faith even in a building full of inherently bad humans. Spending time with other Christians is a blessing and encouragement. Worshiping together is a key part of that, and it's not about finding a group of perfect people to be your role models.
Looking for a perfect church is futile, but do keep looking till you find one that genuinely welcomes you as you are.
Of course, awful histories of church leaders' behaviour often in the news is clearly wrong, but if you reject everyone who has ever sinned, you will in fact reject everyone on the planet. Sometimes in a church they'll say or imply that you are a sinner, and that just makes them sound like hypocrites. It's the message that matters. I hope you can see that.
My advice: try to forgive those who make you feel unwelcome. Look to the teachings and life of Jesus taught at the church, not whether the attenders are immaculate. Ignore what you think is the dress code and just turn up, late if you want; listen to the message, drink the free instant coffee and leave.
The life changing message will eventually help you realise that the other stuff doesn't matter.
keepthisinmind on March 06, 2014:
Faith is the evidence of things not seen the substance of things hoped for. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house. Men and brethern children of the stocke of Abraham,and whosoever among you feareth God,to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Hierusalem & their rulers, because they know him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day,they have fufilled them in condeming him. And though they found no cause of death in him,yet desired they Pilate that he should be slaine. And when they had fufilled all that was written of him,they tooke him down from the tree, and layd him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: and he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Hierusalem,who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,God hath fufilled the same vnto vs their children,in that he hath raised up Jesus againe, as it is also written in the second Psalme: Thou art my sonne this day hath i begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him vp from the dead ,now no more to return to corruption ,he said on this wise i will give you the sure mercies of Dauid. Wherefore he saith also in another Psalme, Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. For Dauid after he had served his own generation by the will of God fell on sleepe, and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption: but he whom God raised againe saw no corruption. Be it known vnto you therfore, men and brethern,that through this man is preached vnto you the forgiveness of sinnes. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of moses. Beware therefore , lest that come vpon you which is spoken of in the prophets, Behold ye despisers and wonder and perish: for i worke a worke in your days a worke which you shall in no wise believe though a man declare it vnto you.
deorganicchurch from Newark, DE on March 05, 2014:
The church is supposed to be a body of Christ, where each believer is a part of his spiritual family, and they can count on each other in good times and bad. It is sad that those churches do not function as an spiritual household of faith by walking in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There should be a brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ that exists between members of a given church because they are fit the frame together. Sadly to say, the biblical example and the real world reality are far apart from each other. A Christian should be reaching towards his/her Savior in order to be more like him. To have a cold, judgmental attitude towards others is evidence of a person not walking close to Christ. Many of these people are not even saved at all. Going to church doesn't make somebody a born-again believer. They need to be spiritually reborn through the salvation process. If this has not happened, no amount of religious study or church attendance will make up for it. The lost are still under the penalty of sin and do not have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. This is why, despite going to church for years, they are unable to exhibit any Christlike behavior. I attend an organic, house church where this is not the case. The members love one another and walk through life being guided by the spirit that lives within them. It really helps to be around other Christians who walk in faith, since they are able to help build you up in the faith. If a church like this is not available nearby, you can meet with one or two other believers and start sharing your lives together in Christ. Perhaps over time, the group will grow into a house church, and you will have no need to attend a typical traditional church.
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on February 24, 2014:
That was a refreshing hub on the outlook of churches in general. I was brought up in a very heavy churchgoing family, but I was never allowed to ask the questions that I kept directed and the preacher during bible classes. He probably did not have the answers. Needless to say I do not ever go to any church anymore. I simply respect myself and any person with a pure good heart who lives by one rule only. "Never do to others you do not want others do to you!"
Pam on February 23, 2014:
I trust GOD I like a visit to church but it seems like churchgoers wont let you have private time with your savior they are always doing what the church as a whole does right away want to you to join some kind of prayer group or bible study better people than me have tried to study the bible and never get the answer cant I just read the bible GOD doesn't say study the bible there are ten folks and we cant even do them right .I would like to walk into a church and be left alone I don't want to meet you or hug you or shake your hand I want to be with GOD not a sinner like me if they was a church that would do some of the things a am talking about maybe more would go and passing the plate before the service is so well GOD isn't happy I am sure I pray to him almost every day while I go about my life sometimes I cry because I know what I did made him sad but I am not a fake and I like people and hate to judge but I am sure that most people would get more out of going to church if someone would just let them worship our LORD I don't jugde anyones reasons for going to church I just pray that someday some one would start a church like this that doesn't put any one faith or how they do it GOD BLESS YOU AND ME .AMEN
Stacey Annestedt from Alabama on February 20, 2014:
I agree with your post there are many reasons why a person doesn't go to church. We all want to be closer to God but seem to find so many others things to do. I am a prime example I have tried to say it was the preaching style of the pastor. So we changed churches. We love the new church but we have to get up 30 minutes earlier to get there for preaching. After working all week I enjoy getting to sleep late. My point is when my husband and I were going to church regularly life seemed to go smoother and the aches and pains lessened. It is amazing how much better things get when you are walking hand in hand with God , he makes everything better.
RJ on February 20, 2014:
I enjoyed reading this. I went through the church going rat race for many years so everything you said resonated with me. I too used to ask the questions that you ask, like why are of society's rejects flocking to church, where the heck are the normal people? The other issue I had is with "God only helps those who help themselves" kind of thinking. Well if you help yourself then your doing it yourself anyway, so divine input wasn't happening although credit was always given. I then committed the real unpardonable sin, I began to question and search for answers. After much searching, praying, pleading, etc., I realized that I no longer believed in any of this stuff. I asked myself how is Christianity any different from a cult? The only answer I could come up with was the Christianity has more members, so it is an accepted religion. The Bible is rife with contradictions, errors, etc. and the apologists explanations for all of this are very unsatisfying. Does anyone really believe in the talking snake, the talking donkey, a strong man that can carry the gates of a city who loses his powers when his hair is cut, Noah's flood and many more unbelievable nonsense? Would anyone believe this stuff if it was written in any other book besides the Bible? It is so obviously false that it strains my mind to wonder how I once believed this stuff. So now I get to enjoy my life without worrying if unsaved loved ones will have to endure hell since I know it doesn't exist and I also get to sleep in on Sundays and keep that 10% that used to go into the collection plate. Life is good and I continue to have success in my life that I formerly attributed to God, but now the I can actually give the credit where it belongs, my own hard work. No more fake religion for me, I have been set free from the cult of Christianity!
glidagida on February 15, 2014:
The Baptism of Love by Francis Frangipane
By Francis Frangipane
It is hard for us in this anxious, fearful age to quiet our souls and actually dwell upon God in our hearts. We can engage ourselves with Bible study or other acts of obedience. In varying degrees we know how to witness, exhort and bless. We know how to analyze these things and even perfect them. But to lift our souls above the material world and consciously ponder on God Himself seems beyond the reach of our Christian experience.
To Dwell Upon God
Yet, to actually grasp the substance of God is to enter a spiritual place of immunity; it is to receive into our spirits the victory Christ won for us, which is oneness with God in Christ.
Thus we cannot content ourselves merely with the tasks we are called to perform. Ultimately we will discover that study and church attendance are but forms which have little satisfaction in and of themselves. These activities must become what the Lord has ordained them to be: means through which we seek and find God. Our pleasure will be found not in the mechanics of spiritual disciplines, but that these disciplines bring us closer to God.
Paul’s cry was, “That I may know Him!” (Phil. 3:10). It was this desire to know Jesus that produced Paul’s knowledge of salvation, church order, evangelism and end-time events. Out of his heart’s passion to know God came revelation, the writing of Scriptures and knowledge of the Eternal. Paul’s knowledge was based upon his experience with Christ.
On the other hand, we have contented ourselves not with seeking the face of God, but with studying the facts of God. We are satisfied with a religion about Christ without the reality of Christ.
The Bible is the historical record of man’s experiences with the Almighty. Out of personal encounters people had with the living God, our theological perspectives have developed. But knowledge about God is only the first step toward entering the presence of God. As much as the Bible is a book of truths, it is also a map to God. As Christians, we study and debate the map yet too often fail to make the journey.
Love Surpasses Knowledge
There is a place greater than knowledge; it is a simple, yet eternally profound place where we actually abide in Christ’s love. This is, indeed, the shelter of the Most High. Remember the apostle’s prayer was that we each would “know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). As important as knowledge is, that verse tells us love “surpasses knowledge.” Doctrinal knowledge is the framework, the vehicle, that opens the door toward divine realities, but love causes us to be “filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19).
There is a dwelling place of love that God desires us to enter. It is a place where our knowledge of God is fulfilled by the substance of God. The Amplified Bible’s rendering states:
“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” (Eph. 3:17-19)
Is this not our goal, to be rooted deeply in love, to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s love; and to know for ourselves the deep, personal love of Christ? Can any goal be more wonderful? Indeed, to be filled and flooded with God Himself is the very hope of the gospel!
You see, God cannot truly be known without, in some way, also being experienced. If you had never seen a sunrise or a starry night sky, could any description substitute for your own eyes beholding the expansive beauty? Awe comes from seeing and encountering, not merely from knowing that somewhere a beautiful sky exists.
Likewise, to truly know God we must seek Him until we pass through the outer, informational realm about God and actually find for ourselves the living presence of the Lord Himself. This is the “upward call” of God in Christ Jesus. It draws us through our doctrines into the immediacy of the divine presence. The journey leaves us in the place of transcendent surrender, where we listen to His voice and, from listening, ascend into His love.
The earth’s last great move of God shall be distinguished by an outpouring from Christ of irresistible desire for His people. To those who truly yearn for His appearing there shall come, in ever-increasing waves, seasons of renewal from the presence of the Lord (see Acts 3:19-21). Intimacy with Christ shall be restored to its highest level since the first century.
The Baptism of Love
Many on the outside of this move of God as well as those touched and healed by it will look and marvel: “How did these common people obtain such power?” They will see miracles similar to when Jesus Christ walked the earth. Multitudes will be drawn into the valley of decision. For them, the kingdom of God will be at hand.
But for those whom the Lord has drawn to Himself, there will be no mystery as to how He empowered them. Having returned to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, they will have received the baptism of love.
Is this possible, my Lord? Is it true that I might know the love of God that surpasses all knowledge? O God, I seek to know You, to live in the substance of Your love. For Your love is the shelter of my protection. Help me, Master, to recognize Your love, not as a divine emotion, but as Your very substance! Help me to see that it was neither Pilate nor Satan that put You on the cross; it was love alone to which You succumbed. Remind me again that it is Your love that still intercedes for me even now.
Tony T on February 13, 2014:
I didn't read everyones post but I agree with the author on almost every point. I think the true answer is right in the scripture. In Matthew 6 verse 1 on, Yeshua (Jesus) warns us against all the things that occur in church Doing charitable deeds among men, praying out loud in front of others repetitious prayers, and worrying about what we are wearing. If we can' t listen to the very words of Christ then Christians we are not. Worship the lord in your home with your family wear you are comfortable. Where the prayer and worship will continue to flow throughout your week and your life. Where you can get a little mor pillow time and not have to dress up. Believe that the Holy Spirit will bring you all you need in understanding the Word as you read. We don't need pastors or any other human to learn about God . To me that is an insult to The Holy Spirit. Why would God design a system where we needed to rely on other humans to understand his word.
Food for thought
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on February 05, 2014:
Thanks everyone for the comments. Those that disagree, well, someone else mentioned this...the old world church hasn't caught up with the new. Many still hang onto the old definition of church and God, but has grown with us as he should and things have changed while many churches have not. I actually believe many have stunted peoples' growth. A new term has been introduced in our society and that's spirituality. People are gravitating to that and it's a personal relationship with God, not the old style.
donald reed on February 02, 2014:
for me it's been hard all the back stabbing gossip and the like
I'm finding that most of the people that go to church are not right in there heads and think they have the right to hert good people
and as long as the areas in life are up it's ok the damage that they have done. And they no how to quote the bible very quickly but wont look at the sin that has caused others to get into sin . But it is all neatly justified
muhammadahmed71 on January 20, 2014:
The reason is western self created democracy,which totally destroyed God rights, parents rights,family rights even self rights.
Mandhla azarel Moyo from Nairobi, Kenya on January 18, 2014:
The Church needs to change to its already different and dynamic environment. I dont know why we still keep the ideal that the old is gold when we have diamonds and platinum and other such more fascinating rocks and rubies. Truth is, the problem of how to blend the word into the reality of the world?
nicole on January 18, 2014:
Thanks for this, I agree with the majority of it, I been to church my whole life and honestly its when I stop going that I get close to God. When I go to church it seems like its more about what we all look like that matters to its wonderful members, its about what we can do for them which makes them determine if we are worthy of their approval, but like I said I've been to church my whole life and because of that I feel like I have to go, and who would want to be in a place where they want you to believe they care for you but they don't, they are too buisy judging your outward appearance, the car you drive and the amount of money you have oh oh and what you have you have to bring to the table to ever really care or love you with the same unconditional love they preach about and expect you to have.
I usually find peace at church when I'm alone, when I can talk to God my way without people listening and wanting some perfect well spoken convo.
Well this just helped me really realize where the problem in my life is, the more I go the more I lose faith, and I'm guessing this must be how other people are.
The really good people I've met, I've actually never met at church, they were judged tooooo much to go there, every fake friend who took so much time to judge my and all my friends was an strict church goer, they kill the spirit, creativity and individuality in the name of God, the same God who gave us those gifts.
pigletsfriend on January 13, 2014:
i have a question can anyone help me. i was brought up in baptist church and that is where i became a christiain and baptised. i have struddled to keep and maintain friends. so i thought i would start to go to the church of england where everyone is accepted!! i thought very wrong. i started to attend a speical choir in town run by one of the pastoral carers and got bullied to a point where contracts needed to be signed. then i joined the free spirit gospel choir same lady ran all was fine there for a bit. then i went to a open mic and talk a support worker so i could learn some new socail skills as i have aspergers. the first choir i attended was a specail needs one where folk with mental health problems and learning disabiltes attended. one day at first the contract was broken i had a strange message after we was not suppose to talk about it so i refused and sent one message to the leader of the choirs and told her that the contract had been broke. it never got sorted so i went to my private lesson again with this leader i paid for it and there was laughing and the bulliy was there so that day i decided i would not go back there as there is no way it was going to work no one was going to sort the mess out. that evening i had some problems with my daugher and i drove out to a grave yard sat with my friend who recently passed away i no i can not tak to her so i prayed to God. i then decided that all i need was a friend and to talk to some one may be have a prayer with them. but i got a socal worker call me instesad and we had a laugh and there was a mis understanding and it was over i was told it was the leader that called. so i decided to leave that too. i then thought about a few things as she was not acting ver christina like i do not no the rules of the church of england at the time so it is not realy my fault so i deced to bomb blast her with very home truths and send her some scripture to back it up. she did not like it so she blocked me from all groups on face book and blocked her self. so i decided that it was morily rong of her so i asked to see the rev at the church. i emailed him with very informal complaints about this leader and he said to me to come and see him so i did ther was a nother rev there too. he said to protect the leader and me being the vonrable adult that i needed support to atend anythign that tis lady ran. unknown to this i went to open mic before the meeting no support worker but took my mum who i care for i also have children at home. i do have aspergers wich is a form of autism. he told me later that i could not come less i had support workers with me my budget does not cover this the only other option was not to come. how can that be possible. why was it not sorted with the leader and me to put it behind us and move on and sort the contract out that was already there. apparently there was some misunderstandings beween us and that is why they decided that. i am a indpendent person with a few socail issuse and need a bit of support. there is no way i can get more and would not want to embarace myself in fround of some friends i like wither they mix with me or not. and when we perfom with these choirs i have family and other friends from other churches come to see me why would a support worker want to sit near a choir and not sing or join in with these things if they did not have a chrsitian belif any way? so i ahve decided i will take the ole mater up with the prist higher up and see if i can make it more efficial that somthing gets done. i feel be littled and intimadated all because of mis understandings between 2 people. if they want her to just be a choir leader and not be her friend or be her sisiter in christ then find i can cope with that but take away all i had on my door step i enjoy and not beable to atted nothering that she leads like preayer things in lady chapel on sunmday or when she give the bread and wine out i have to have a supprt worker or not attend is very dscrimanating and very b littling. when i was in baptist churches or in another one i worked for metnal health in one running a social support group alone. i have taught in sunday school and a holiday bible club for teens if i was not trusted since i was 14 to help out in a church i am not 43 and this as jut came up is there something moral wrong i belive deeply it is between me and the choir teacher but no one will let me sort her and least of all her self. so now i have to see if the prest will sor t it all out or i will need to make it formal complaint i am not sure any ideas what i should do does it come under disablty discrimanation? this lady as a brother with autism like me i wonder if it is something to do with that i never met him and she nver spoke of him i heard it from a socal worker that she had a brother with it strange! i wonder if she does not like to mix with the likes of me or aspergers or autism people i am not that bad i have lack of eye contact do not mix too well but never nasty i give a lot to i reaise money for cancer that is what my best friend died of who was a good christian friend and accepted just as i was. now she as gone i have no one close to me to pop by for a cuppa and no one ever comes to see me or calls me to see how i am nothing. i am not sure where i belong and to scard after this to step foot in a church for the fear of being be littled if something went rong i can not let it drop i do not want others to go through it i want to get it sorted before someone eles goes through it. it will never changfe the fact i beive in teh Lord Jesus christ but settling in a church as realy rocked me and got me very nervos. i need a apology and i will for give and put it behind me so i can continue to do the things me and one of my children and my mum injoy and that is going to church we are christian and need to be part of a church as that is what God wants i pray daily for the situation but do not find guidence only come to the concluion that i need to sort the mess out what do you think i no i go on a bit but that is how it is when i email folk or tell them what i think i can be far to honest but is that a crime in a church? it is also part of my condition it is too hard to lie i ahve to go in to detail and facts.
UK bird on January 10, 2014:
LOVING this ... am based in the UK but this rings so true!
Soundness on December 29, 2013:
Although I do not support all of your areas of concern, I absolutely understand some of your points. There are Christian believers and followers - then you have some Christians who are both. Being a Christian is about loving GOD above all else and loving others. I am not spiritual because that leaves too much to chance. I embrace the holy spirit because I know the purpose. Some people confuse fellowship with only going to church. A church is "a body of believers" assembled anywhere (to share the gospel (good news of Christ) but many think it's a building. The concept is to share the positive love of GOD and witness by telling trying experiences in your life and how GOD brought you through them in ways one could have not ever foreseen. Allowing your life to be an example doesn't mean that you will always be at your best at a specific point in time, however, many successes emerge from failures. Although saved at a young age, as an older women I began to read and study the Bible. I took "my time" on a personal level and then later through academia (hermeneutics, genres, etc;) . It was extremely enlightening and just because someone is fluent in quoting scriptures does not mean that individual is more of a Christian, more knowledgeable or comprehends the true interpretations. A lot of what I have come to learn is different from what is demonstrated publicly, passed down through generations and told ... how Christians are "supposed to be, what we are to wear, who we can associate with, we can't make mistakes else we're no longer a Christian" - it's nonsense. Some are still living by the Old Testament (society couldn't abide by those laws then) and it is not the covenant (agreement) we (who have given our lives to Christ and profess his deity) are now under "WITH" GOD. It is not always easy, and at times it seems like more hardships now than before. I love GOD and "KNOW" what his love feels like. It is that experience that should be shared ... whenever and wherever.
Cnunn85 on December 26, 2013:
Reading your article just makes me realize that some people (such as yourself) only come to chuch to criticize everything and everybody. Not knowing exactly where chapters in the Bible means that you have taken the time read the bible, you don't have to keep up with everyone else we learn at our own paces. We simply come to church for the fellowship not to focus on all the negatives. There is NO perfect church or building because is first in us:-)
StillLearning on December 11, 2013:
Thank you so much for this article. I was one of those judgemental Christians who took everything the pastors said as Gospel until last year. Then I had one of the hardest years ever and my eyes were opened. See I'm a follower and a people pleaser; I hate any kind of conflict and just learned to go along with pretty much whatever at church. I was at the same church for 22 years always trying to fit in, doing what I was told was right, and never questioning anything. Sure I felt judged and put down I never once felt like I was good enough for those people, but church was something I was supposed to do or so I was told.
Last year seemed extremely difficult for me at church. People from my church started posting on Facebook putting down my kids and what they wore or messaging me privately telling me my daughters shouldn't date this guy or whatever. In the beginning it made me feel like a failure as a mom and upset that my so called "church family" would treat me this way.
Then one of my friends' daughters left home when she was 18 after she had a falling out with her mom. Well after her living arrangement fell through she moved in with me and again I felt the displeasure of church opinions. This mom acted like the grieving mom at church so sad that her daughter left, but outside of church was different. She told her daughter she broke her trust and couldn't come home and she gave her daughters stuff and room away to her siblings. I took the brunt of doing the right thing among others at church. Well this lady decided not to talk to me ever again and wouldn't forgive me for helping her kid out. I felt like by what the Bible says we should try to at least talk it out, but that never happened. I was having a really hard time going to church there after that, I felt like the hypocrite knowing this lady is there that won't even talk to me and we are singing a few pews away from each other about God's love and forgiveness.
But I trudged on, then my mother in law got sick and came to live with us. She could no longer be alone or go out. So I stayed home with her on Sunday mornings and went when I could. I felt very judged when I went, I would get comments like "You haven't been here in awhile" or "nice to see you showed up".
I think the final straw came as my mother in law was with us for 3 months and during that time I received no phone calls, no visits from any of my so called 'church friends'. I was shut in as much as my mother in law and felt utterly abandoned and alone. Sure the church was there for me if I showed up, but no one was going to take the time to be there for me if it was inconvenient for them.
Last year I saw the real fakeness of church and its people. You know everyone throws around the phrase don't forsake the assembling of yourself together, but they don't quote the whole verse and what I believe it is trying to say. It talks about community, lifting each other up, being there for one another, spurring each other on to good works and love and sadly church isn't the place to find those things.
When I left, the women's minister condemned me of course and her words after I told her all my problems with others was. "You go to church for God not for other people." Really? Well give me a church building that is empty and I will go for God. I'm still searching, still trying to figure out who I am after fitting myself into the good little church goer role for so long, but one thing I know for certain I don't need anyone else around me to connect with God, to worship Him, or to come before His throne.
Ericajean on December 07, 2013:
Well well. A nice hub that I have been praying for. I voted this one Up because after reading "So You Don't Want to Go to Church" about three years prior I learned a few things:
*Church is a building- yet, it is supposed to be an organism, a body of Christ. So if I need help or a friend, no one should say "do you belong to a church?" No. I belong to God. Buildings crumble and fall.
*When Paul wrote his letters to Ephesus and Corinthians and other churches, these were mostly homes in a certain area. Even the Amish visit each other's home on Sunday and not an actual church building(according to my finite understanding).
*Sunday is a day of rest and I've always believed that if I am getting up early, dressing up to see people I do not want to see- how is that worshiping God? How am I honoring Him?
*Some people are just plain addicted to church. They literally fall in love with the pastor's sermons, the thousands of ministries and the cliques. A lot of separatism there- but aren't we called to be Holy and set apart unto the Lord? Not form evil factions within a church.
So for these reasons and many more, my husband and I have decided to fellowship in God's home- which is this Earth, this land. Anywhere is a fellowship meeting spot. The important thing mentioned in Acts and elsewhere in the bible is that we fellowship. So even if we do not go to a church building, getting together with other believers often is good.
Seriously on December 07, 2013:
Well i certainly feel that God is very much punishing me in the first place since i am dealing with my Loneliness right now, and when i see so many other men and women that have been Very Blessed By God to have met one another with a Family, it hurts me even much more. Why should i go to Church when i don't have a Love Life like so many others have?, and many of us good men hate very much being Alone all the time Too. And with the Holidays approaching, it is even worse.
Kukata Kali on November 25, 2013:
I appreciated the expression and enjoyed the opinion :)
pam on November 19, 2013:
hey I understand what your saying I have been there I have a son in prison I have a son that just got off drugs a daughter that would not be here if she had not stopped drugs which means I would not have my 4 adorable Grandchildren Logan, Wesley, Cooper, and my little April, she was named after my other daughter April she has gone to see Jesus oh you don't think I could blame so many things yes I was mad at God and when he took my Daddy 2 weeks after my Daughter yes I still wonder and I still make excuses to stay on my pillar but God has a plan for us and with out him I would be nuts you guys its not ok to play God on Sunday and Satan The rest of the week we all could just say God help me to live more like you. We cant justify everything but I was such a good christen oh yea please listen to this I was a Sunday School teacher and guess what I was setting in Church at a revival and during invitation oh yea I was saved right there you know how I felt so you know instead of walking away start praying for who upset you they may be lost or just a sinner God didn't say when your saved you will never sin again he said repent daily I love you all and hope I have not said anything to hurt but help.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 19, 2013:
I realize we judge others but church, or any place of God, isn't where we want to be judged. It is a turn-off for people who have sinned and I've heard many say things about not belonging in a church because of the stereotypes of not fitting in, someone with tattoos, someone whose gone to prison, someone who lost their children due to drugs. I'm just mentioning some I've heard. Don't shoot the messenger. And for me personally I saw the church turn my mother away because of going through a divorce back in the 80's. I think by judgment, I also mean that the elders in a church or the regulars are often the worst. How can that be justified?
pam on November 19, 2013:
I am a Christain I can not believe all that I'm hearing I am human I am a sinner saved by grace I am no where near perfect that's Gods department rather we are church goers are not we all are sinners we judge people and don't even realize it if you don't believe that back up and read all these again. God steal loves us all he wants us to do a work for him we go to work and at the end of our week we want our pay. I pray that God will touch our hearts and minds and we will realize if he didn't have work for us we wouldn't be hear. when our work for him is over he will take us from this life and than we will get our pay. Before that time I pray that my head along with yours will have given that pillar up for Him amen.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 17, 2013:
I might change some things in this article. It's probably the only one of my aged hubs that hasn't been revised over the years. It's time...and you bring up some great points. I've written other hubs pertaining to this topic such as an informational hub about in-home churches (a possible substitute for leaving a traditional church). I wrote a very personal hub about nearly giving up on God. I dabble in this topic and often times learn things as I go concerning religion. I'm not the expert that you are- that's why encourage you to write some hubs. I'd be interested.
I'd like to write something concerning the children of parents who've left the church. For my children, God is part of our every day lives. We still pray- we teach long the way. There are always good teaching moments to relate to God.
RKeithAndrews on November 15, 2013:
Pretty good article! Definitely thought provoking. Guess the term "quit" annoys me a bit. While reading I wondered about other less pointed terms such as "leave" or maybe something along the lines of "distance themselves."
At any rate, the author has embarked upon negotiating a rather spindly topic and is to be commended for rattling some branches to get folks thinking about something not only timely but pressing upon our American society.
The points she makes are merely a few, as Hub space limits her extending the article much further. And yet that is likely a good thing as once one sets out upon this topic it can become a rather bumpy ride with so many nuances.
The article does well to initiate or jump start conversation on this matter of religious flux in America.
Without additional comment on the article - it's flow of information, style, etc, I'd like to chime in on the four year-old topic (still breathing fresh readership) and ask if there are ponderings on "quitting" the church as related to location in America - the South, Midwest, Northeast, etc. And how location may or may not be a determining factor toward walking out the door of the church.
Further, are there, for lack of a better term, substitutes for having left the church?
And for those having left who have young children how does this factor in to relating religion or impressing spirituality and spiritual formation on their children?
Please leave some notes on this and refer your readers to this Hub and the authors main page because she has additional topics which are spread in many directions.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:
To correct one of my many typos..."you" will wear them like badges of honor, not "they".
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:
It's not about winning...it's about standing up to a bully. I viewed your comments as those similar to bully behavior. Now that I know where you came from, your upbringing and the path you chose in the church, I understand.
And that last comment from you I respect because now I don't believe you were just aiming to hurt or tear down someone. You opened yourself up a little and I have respect for that kind of courage. When I started this journey on Hubs I thought to myself 'I have not written in 18 years'. I loved to write as a child and my dad told me sometimes in high school that there is no money to be made through writing. I stopped. I was stupid enough to stop like the elders at the church did to you. They killed your spirit. Inevitably we all come across someone who does that. My responses to you come from a place of not allowing anyone to kill my spirit again.
Fast forward to the beginning of the recession I got laid off from a lucrative living in Human Resources (same career my dad had). I was bored sometimes even though I had a 6 month old. I got on hubpages and I knew I didn't have the time to write. Then I realized I had the time to write, but not perfectly. Since having kids, the harsh reality, and sometimes relief, is that I can't do anything perfect anymore- a tough reality for a former perfectionist...4.0 student. So I decided to write anyway...what could it hurt? No one would read it anyway. One of my first pieces was a huge weight off my chest. I admit it was a selfish act at first. Then people started to comment how they went through something similar as well. For a person who is very private in real life, a preferred loner, and a stay-at-home mom with no connection to the outside world on most days, Hubs saved me. I do research for some of my hubs, but research becomes outdated quickly. I don't put a lot of emphasis on studies for that reason- today coffee is good for us, tomorrow it kills us.
I would encourage you to write something on this topic. All I needed to look up was the stats for people leaving churches and the new trend toward "spirituality". I knew I wasn't the only one. What I stress in my religion hubs is for people not to get discouraged with God and lose sight of Him even if the church failed them.
I don't need to scrounge up some psychobabble for your experiences through life. But I still encourage to you to write on some of those experiences and add in some factual backup too. You have the time to research so there's your edge. I too went through some emotional abuse as a kid- I was always stupid and my dad was the expert, being a genius. I am free of that now. My mom has always been a victim. Me, well I won't be like either. Productive? I hope you find your own definition for that- don't let others tell you what that is. I wanted to write, but realized I don't have much time so I had the choice to not do it at all or just go ahead but know I wasn't writing my best. I don't regret just doing it.
My other writing gigs...business documents, blogs, and newsletters (can't make mistakes on those), and my passion which I continually revise and perfect is children's fiction. Still some facts involved in that, but mostly I use my imagination, my area of strength.
I find that writing on personal experiences is a challenge. It is rewarding but sometimes logic gets tangled up with emotions. I think if you do something with your personal experiences RKA, they will not be wasted lessons. Maybe one day they will wear them like badges of honor.
RKAndrews on November 14, 2013:
You win. I don't know what. But you win.
A long time ago I was told that one cannot take out of a person's mind with reason what reason didn't put there in the first place. I heeded that, sporadically. The times I did not were wasted. Similarly, reason was declared to be something subjective which... defies definition!
Again, I wish you all the best. I sincerely hope your chronic illness will continue to translate into literary productivity for you. You have a genuine talent which must continue to be nurtured.
Stay the course, remain true to yourself, as you indubitably are.
I understand The Hub is, among other purposes, a place for writers to exchange notes and share experiences and offer guidance one to the other.
“Don’t comment here again unless you can give some factual back up related to my hub or this topic.”
Perhaps in some small way I can underscore the premise of your hub.
Born and raised in the church. Not overly religious. Middle-of-the road.
Product of a physically and emotionally abusive father to myself and my mother. A loner in grade school. Introverted.
Sought out another home and discovered it in the church. Once there I subconsciously began to idealize the church. Visiting minister placed hands on my shoulders and said, “One day you’re going to be a minister.”
Thus, the journey began. College and seminary. Not one of the golden boys in the denomination. Went against the grain. Theologically liberal for my time.
Married. Two children. Sold my soul to the church, not “the company store.” Became a good example of, “The cobbler’s children go without shoes.”
Every church I served, striving to lift it from mediocrity and stuffy conservatism, beat me up. Elders cursed me. I came to realize the truth of the repeated statement: “Some of the meanest people I’ve ever met are in church.”
Health began to deteriorate. Began medications for depression and physical health problems related to serving the church and some semblance of God’s people.
Remembering resenting a father became paralleled with being resented as a father. Left the church. Haven’t darkened the doors for nearly five yearas.
Want to think two things. (1) “I didn’t leave the church, it left me.” (2) I have moved beyond the church.
Days are now spent, for the most part, wondering what I ever accomplished. Keep reviewing in my mind the scene from the movie, Papillon, where Steve McQueen’s character is walking in the desert and sees a line of people on the horizon. As he approaches he recognizes guards from the prison. Then the warden speaks. “You have been found guilty of the crime of a wasted life.”
And now that which I once knew as my source of greatest comfort has become the source of my greatest consternation. The church. That which I once figured offered the greatest job security.
How’s that for some factual back up related to your article?
As a psychology major and a survivor of sorts you can pick this apart as well… Be satisfied with the grade of 80 and 70. My grade doesn’t even register. And it’s not self-loathing, just stark reality until some kind of dawn approaches which I know is impending. “Hope floats.”
And so, your article of why people quit the church resonated with me. Perhaps, in some underlying and even distorted manner, I was appreciating your hub but knew it could have been so much more direct and pointed, per my own experience. If one is going to set forth why people quit church pull out all the stops.
At any rate, your directive is well taken, as I will not comment here again now that my meager factual back up has been related to your hub.
In some strange sense, I would ponder trading places with you- your chronic illness and all. The wounds of the heart and soul have no other companion…
Help and (literary) guidance can come dressed in many clothes. I think my life experiences can gain momentum and meet up with something productive and make some kind of contribution. All-the-while I'm cognizant of the critique of others, as I have a heart filled with them.
I would hope my critique of others would be met with the same well-meaning spirit conveyed.
izettl or is it izetti - ? cannot read it well enough... you are a blessing to many and have a unique "ministry" and a sweet spirit despite the side-swipe we have made with each other!
You have a legacy and are an instrument of positive enrichment for so many people.
Hey - I might borrow your title and add, "Why People Leave The Church, Part Two!!"
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:
Here's some evidence that bad grammar exists among the great:
Hemingway ("But I would come back to where it pleases me to live; to really live")
Gene Rodenberry ("to boldly go where no man has gone before").
Jane Austen "Fanny could with difficulty give the smile that was asked for."
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:
This is my hobby, not my "career". Do you have a hobby other than paying mortgage? I make a living writing in two other genres....which have nothing to do with my "niche" on hubpages. I believe some things deserve a conversation, some things that people don't like to admit or bring up in our "perfect" society. Hubs is cool in that I get a fulfilling hobby, help others, and make some extra cash as well.
I brought up my dad because I have your card, so to speak...google it. I know your type and I'm sad for you. I'm the one with a chronic illness and I'm sad for you. And you even misspelled my name on purpose...my dad does that to the columnists as well. Cute touch but kinda boring. Honestly I just bring this up because it's uncanny!
Speaking of distractions, you get so caught up in the logical you forget how to relate to people. Just cause you can put together a sentence well doesn't mean you have any common sense. It's hard for people to be around you, difficult for you to be around people while I walk into a room and can light it up, get along with anybody, relate to anybody, and shine! I'm extremely confident and comfortable and I'm actually just sad that you'll never find that, you'll never experience that. People will hang onto your words, only if they value your intellect, but nothing else. You're a shell and what you do is skim, never getting deeply involved or invested in people. You see, the majority of people spell worse than I, make more grammatical errors than I do so that means anyone who is a regular person, which is the majority, can relate to me without getting caught up in grammar or spelling. Have you ever seen a manuscript sent to an agent? Oh my, I have several times and authors are notorious for spelling and grammar errors, but luckily agents and editors exist.
So let me be the first here to just give up- I'm not going to change your point of view and this is severely off topic. you're not even a teacher and you feel the need to grade me. Actually the only point you've made, especially on this hub, is how judgmental and unappealing church folk are. You spent 30+ yrs in church service and this is how you treat others? THANK YOU for making my point. Why the hell would I want to go to church where people like you reside?
P.S. this hub is meant to be lighthearted and a vague top ten sort of list. It isn't a how to. I have some of those if you'd like and I di post sources. However, coming from the field of research psychology studies, stats, and anything is quite bias anyway. So what's my opinion compared to someone doing the research of some stats and studies I cite? It's all opinion ANYWAY. I also like to add good old fashioned experience, much more valuable than academia.
Don't comment here again unless you can give me some factual back up related to my hub or this topic. I guarantee I can find the bias in it or discount the reference. Now doesn't that sound fun?
RKAndrews on November 14, 2013:
Again, all the best to you in your writing ‘career.’ Keep at it! Write, write, write. But don’t expect Hemmingway-esque productions every time. Be prepared for critique. Accept it as something positive. Avoid personal attacks. Be careful when utilizing sarcasm. Burn the word “you.” Back up your presentations with more than your opinion, else make application to write editorials for your local and close-minded newspaper.
Or… just answer your own question to me: “…what else do you write?”
Take care, be well, nurture joy in your life, and settle down into your niche. You can be very good! Your writing CAN be as attractive as your avatar!
RKAndrews on November 14, 2013:
This is almost fun, isn’t it?
“My dad has never wrote a column…” Not only did I touch a nerve but caused a bit of distraction from how sentences should be constructed.
“…and it’s not like he’s not capable.” The double negative entendre. (Google that.)
A very big introductory paragraph about your dad, coupled with a psychology major you “own” (?) explains enough about your intellectual limits and the meager sights you have set for your writing future. Please note all you culled from my response was truly nit-picking and personally mean-spirited and completely blind to the guidance I offered in critiquing your “piece of work.”
Apparently, the noodle imagery was too low for you to comprehend although I attempted to stretch logic to your level. I have read your profile (and please don’t call me “dear” as the title coming from “your kind” is an affront to civil sensibilities.
Your profile is driven by the quote: “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” Well, you’re certainly emptying your mind! Personal attacks framed in sarcasm is no way to exchange ideas or assist each other in the literary craft or make critiques for the betterment of another.
Yes, I do write beautiful poetry and you, too, can write some kind of fiction. “I am not the church and look at numbers only.” There are no numbers to support your vague claims in this particular article. Perhaps your readers would be better served if your numbers included a teaspoon of this or a table spoon of that in recipes you ‘publish.’ Or perhaps write about something dealing with children or housekeeping or even something related to the psychology major you “own.”
“…pat yourself on the back that you got my response… and run along now.” Truly infantile and in keeping with the genre of writing most appropriate for you.
isettl, 500 comments and 1700 followers cannot be relatable. Even dogs follow garbage trucks. (But they do relate to trash.) Pat yourself on the back that you can “relate” to others of similar short-sightedness.
isettle, highlighting your health conditions, distant suggestion that you can relate to me, daily time constraints, neglect of writing 101 (spell check), and general grasping for straws to buffet some kind of response which has done more to you than touch a nerve (!), your extra sensory perception (“I know you don’t feel much…”) is robbing you of the genius you do have even, in some special sense, exceeding that of your dad. Distraction is one of the enemies of any writer and for writers who hope to excel beyond the mediocrity of “relating” to a comfort zone of readership, the small-minded ones who troll the bottom waters for sentences and paragraphs which continue to accommodate their stale station in life. Anyone can complain. The truly significant ones are very light on the complaints and utilize them as springboards into something which can lift people and be of benefit to a wide readership.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret before I finish reading the rest of your comment because it’s turning a little sour at this point and I want to respond to you in a light mood…” Distraction. Complete all reading before making a response. And sour is merely another side note on yet another nerve touched. Sour is another term which means you’re loading your gun for yet another personal attack.
“Also try not to be so logical because it’s not relatable.” That statement defies any kind of logic! And you’ve worked in research where that’s useful and you’re good at it? Then, if you’re good at it, what have you done with it…?!
isettle, get a grip- I’m not tearing you down. (“Oh, God, you were in ministry and you tear down people like this?”) Put on your big girl panties. Writing is an art, a craft, constantly honed, critiqued, re-written, thrown away, started over – again… The likes of Stephen King and JK Rowland wandered some lonely paths for a while (and not only rejection by publishers), as (I highly suspect) they were critiqued by friends and relatives who had some significant input and impact on their style and persistence. Do some more (logical) research and look for any - any – author who did it on her or his own.
We thank the wind and waves which come into our life because such produce perseverance and strength and character beyond the morbid and mundane.
To desire to write is an automatic invitation to well-wishers and those who critique with well-meaning advice albeit counter to our own sensibilities. Writing is meant to soar with eagles and not scratch with chickens.
I don’t care about your educational credentials.
You will be seeing writings from me on the Hub. And you can have at it all you like- to diffuse, critique, slam dunk, counter, highlight, punch, suggest, condescendingly comment and compliment – all of which I have done with your one article.
I don’t care about that either. I’m not doing to become all dis-jointed about it or go off the deep end or cringe in a defensive posture.
…all of which I have done with your one article. One article. I will sway away from other articles as I’m confident I’ll see more of the same. And again, that’s okay, as I noted in the previous reply (which you overlooked as well), because your style is your style and there’s some kind of audience out there for that – perhaps and hopefully for you beyond the Hub community.
Nurture your style for others as well as your own self-gratification. “Owning” a major in psychology you hopefully know writing is good therapy particularly for those of low self esteem which, as an added critique, as a bit of constructive criticism, is written all over your replies to me.
I wish you well in your endeavors, washing dishes, showering, the yard work, and – seriously – your love for writing. Because, isettl, it is your love for writing which matters most, regardless of your readership… as you scan the horizon looking for your niche. And ponder that: find your niche, you topic or two or three of strength and not the smattering of this-or-that as a fisherwoman throwing multiple lures into the water in the hopes the “numbers” will help her catch something. Maybe the smattering of topics by so many Hubbers is an attempt to be heard, as in sending up a flare.
But methinks Hubbers will return again and again to an author who is a specialist and not an amateur generalist. And when they see her headline they’ll want to check in, and that will, no doubt, double your readership beyond the “family” of Hubbers who “like” you.
Try not to write to be liked. Write to be heard. Write to inform. And, yes, that means yet another term paper with credible evidence and factual back-up. Your opinion is pointless.
I would offer, too, to slow down, and bridge your sentences and paragraphs with an appropriate segue. Writing is not like throwing darts (unless that is the desired style and if so roll those dice!)- it’s similar to the coherent brush strokes on a canvass making for an appealing and longing gaze, to present a logical and sensible pondering by those who give the canvass or the paper their valuable time. Otherwise it’s merely more, as you say, “psychobabble.”
Re-read your replies to me and count the number of times you write the word, “you.” I have addressed you by name and have concluded my remarks on a positive and supportive note. (Although you may not care for my style of making my point, particularly the Starbucks reference. )
“People like you are much harder on yourself…” Please, I’m not paying for this psychoanalysis and it isn’t asked for and you certainly don’t have the credentials to assume yourself on me. Yet again your opinion.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 13, 2013:
In the years I've been doing this there are those of you who try to touch a nerve to get a response, which I "attended to" for you. With my dad as a genius, yes Mensa member and all...WOW! I've dealt with the types (insert...YOU) who talk intelligently, nit pick to strike a nerve (Ha! my dad does this with columnists) but don't actually know anything of substance. Something like the idiot savant. Or someone who is too afraid of rejection to put themselves out there. My dad has never wrote a column in his life but he certainly has a lot of critique for them, and it's not like he's not capable. He's more than qualified, but afraid of rejection. You use a lot of words and tactics he does.
I simply addressed everything in your comment. You're welcome. Might I add you could write beautiful poetry...about a noodle. I didn't catch much in that first paragraph except something about noodles. Read my profile dear, I don't appeal to everybody, and I'm OK with that. Been doing this for a while, it serves my need to write, my need to put a voice to those dealing with issues, my need to help (some, not everyone), and makes me money, and I'm not in short supply of commenters and supporters. If only one person said thank you, you helped me, it would be enough for me. I am not the church and look at numbers only. I don't need 200 people, although I've had at least that many thank me for helping them. I only need one. So pat yourself on the back that you got my response...and run along now.
Relatable? Since you gave me your personal definitions, I'll give you mine. relatable is 500+ comments on a single hub. Relatable is over 1700 followers. Try it sometime.
I have a feeling you don't relate to many people so I'm going to surprise the heck out of you...RKeithAndrews, I can relate to you. I also have Chihuahuas, I love yard work and quiet dinners with my husband. I have two children...not grown, but under 5. Remember those days? I'm lucky to get dishes done or take a shower let alone continue my love for writing, but somehow I manage to, maybe not always spell checked or perfect, but I'm thankful for the small stuff. Three years ago I couldn't walk. Most days I can't type anything due to pain in my hands from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I know you don't feel much, especially sorry for me, but sometimes people need to get a perspective other than their own. I also have one mortgage and two cars. My husband loves history and chess, but admittedly I hate those two things.
I'll let you in on a little secret before I finish reading the rest of your comment because it's turning a little sour at this point and I want to respond to you in a light mood...I have a style of writing that may not appeal to you, but Stephen King got a lot of flack for his writing style in the beginning and grammatical errors. J.K Rowling got turned down how many times? All it took was one publisher though. Even the great don't appeal to everyone.
Also try not to be so logical because it's not relatable. I've worked in research where that's useful and I'm good at it, but there's a time and place. Oh, God you were in ministry and you tear down people like this? I'm just a simpleton, form you I expect more. Why even stoop to my level? I have education credentials too, but I am so thankful to be able to think outside of that space. It's a bubble.
...it's always the people who have nothing to back themselves up. I have not seen any of your writing. I don't see any published hubs. Now I'm going to pull out some psychobabble. I ask myself if this person is like this to me, how are they to themselves. People like you are much harder on yourself and loved ones than you are to me. I'm sorry for what you put yourself through. You write comments well, but what else do you write?
RKeithAndrews on November 13, 2013:
My, goodness, izettl- I touched a nerve! Thank you for attending to my response to your hub. Having moved beyond that dreary and elementary place of point-counter-point discussions I will leave your emotional malaise to loosely hang like a wet noodle with the occasional drift in some breeze hoping to stick to another noodle.
No, I take that back.
You deserve better- perhaps a tweaking of your attempts to excel in writing, to which I am happy to oblige. Only for you, izettl.
“The article is meant to be relatable.” A weak excuse for quickly wandering from the thrust of some good starting points. Relatable is a red herring. Relatable is laissez-faire, stale and a bullet instead of buck shot, hitting only a very small segment.
“…which if you read some comments,” Poor justification with no validation of how many articles I have read related to your hub. (Judgmental – kinda like church folks, huh?)
“…you’d know it resonates with many people.” And the number of those people is what? 200? And their credentials are what? A traffic accident resonates with people, too.
To the contrary, these are your personal gripes as well as what you’ve heard over the years as people’s complaints with church. Hell, people can gripe and complain about many things and after reading through such mush what are they left with? How better off are they for having read through such a hub which is truly yet another merry-go-round of the same ol’ same ol’.
Remember, the hub is meant to be (preferably high caliber) “relevant, informative, well-written, with a succinct and compelling customized summary.” Included here only to remind YOU of the purpose of the hub.
“…does not say ‘go to church’ so still... nowhere in the Bible does it say exactly or very similar to “thou shall go to CHURCH.” (You likely meant to say “shalt instead of shall.) Some understanding of Hebrew and Greek would do you well at this point, even minimal. Research your references to other expressions and translations and inferences before making a determination on what it exactly means – unless, of course you intend that, as well, as ill-informed grips and complaints and personal opinions. (Which becomes rather limp when others ditto such comments!)
“The ‘hurried points made’ is because hubs are meant to touch on a subject.” Then do just that. Touch on the subject and refrain from wandering or editorializing. It’s said that a half truth is worse than a total lie. Similarly, hurried points (points: multiple) can be devastating to an article, particularly a hub, when one or two main points are thrust into public awareness with an appropriate ballast of supporting evidence.
“…defeating the point of this hub if I included ‘substantial qualifying evidence.’ What evidence would you like? That’s just weird.” izettl,
“That’s just weird” is playground talk and in all likelihood apropos for the low intellectual threshold you have set for the reading of this hub. How can you possibly defer substantial qualifying evidence in order to support any strength for the POINT of your hub?
“The only evidence you need is plastered all over the Internet…” Please, please don’t tell us you are researching your hubs from the Internet and that you believe or rally around what you read on the Internet?
What a wonderful idea it would have been for you to have included brief reflections from interviews you did with the many people throughout your life or even through the course of a few months as you made it a POINT to interview people for your hub.
I guess since you opted away from such substantial qualifying evidence you merely went with your opinion… which any of us can get anywhere, any time. No doubt there are many out there who would, if they cared to nod in your direction, rebut your claims and assertions in your hub. They would respond with as much and more opposite claims and factual presentation.
“Where have you been? In church?” Please, please try to cultivate and nurture the fine art of replying without sarcasm and with something above and beyond the remedial intelligence quotient you have and are displaying.
“Ironically, the only critics I have are those who are churchgoers…” And you base that on what? Have you polled your critics? Are you absolutely certain they are churchgoers? Am I? Tell me – please tell me – how you can deduce so much? (And please reassure us all your two little ones aren’t being home schooled by yourself.)
Now, that was a little fun, wasn’t it?
A bit of caution: tread lightly when maneuvering through the population of people who are well read and well versed, experienced in matters about which you dabble and can shame your efforts at literary attempts as well as logical thinking.
But there are some in the population who pause to lift others and guide them. So here it is: Re-read the goals and structures of a well-written hub.
izettl, the idea for your hub is truly a very good one, but one which, in my considered opinion shared by hosts of others, is not meant for stream-of-consciousness writing or in the style of a diary.
Again, it is a very good idea. Most timely. But just as a good school curriculum can be torn apart by a bad teacher or a bad curriculum can be presented in a solid manner, so too can a very good idea splatter itself all over the place.
Re-read Hub’s goals, and guidelines and re-work this hub into something which can become a masterpiece and not yet another piece of rabble or as the poet would say, “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
Your points were good. Expounding on them, even within the confines of a hub, bordered on a waste of the reader’s time, except for those who would say (for lack of a better term), “Amen!”
It’s a hub, izettl, not a chat room. Of course, if you wanted to relegate such a good point to a chat room in order to jump start conversation, that’s fine, too, but can also be found in thousands of other chat rooms – and likely will become a stop sign for others to be drawn to the real hubs to hope to write in the future.
You want to, I would hope, attract readership and not say, “Oh, there she is again. Forget it.” Again, you can be satisfied with the few (200?) readers and replies, co-gripers, etc…
Your article was graded 80. Your reply to my response is graded 70.
Keep trying. Or… just go down to Starbucks and whine for an hour or two.
All the best. -RKeithAndrews
The Real Truth on November 13, 2013:
I certainly have no reason to go to church since i have no woman in my life to share with, and now that there are so many Very Mean And Nasty Women out there which is the reason why many of us men that are seriously looking can't meet a Decent Good One At All.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 13, 2013:
Thanks for the comment. I've had a similar experience as you with going to church as a kid and the same disconnect with church as an adult.
I think church, or rather God, follows us. It isn't in one building. I believe it should be part of our lives such as helping people, the people that feel as though they don't belong in church. More is happening in our world, it's changing, and the churches aren't. It's still very judgmental, which leads to false personas in church, which leads me right out the door. Glad to hear you value helping others and being kind.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 13, 2013:
If you're done with your gripe session...just kidding. the article is meant to be relatable, which if you read some comments, you'd know it resonates with many people. these are not my personal gripes, some yes, bot many no. It is what I've heard over the years as people's complaints with church- it's reality. May not like to hear it...sorry for that.
"Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together"...does not say "go to church"...so still...nowhere in the Bible does it say exactly or very similar to "thou shall go to CHURCH". I absolutely agree with assembling together, which I do with my family and periodically at church. There are organic churches in homes as well where people assemble together.
The "hurried points made" is because hubs are meant to touch on a subject. It's near impossible to write something short (a hub) on a vast topic such as this. But I did my best. I look at a hub as starting a conversation, which it certainly has. goal accomplished!
No evidence? I could probably find you a bias study or ten if you really want. Of course this is opinion...as I stated before these are opinions I've heard from people throughout my life, some I've dealt with personally. I think it would be extremely impersonal, defeating the POINT of this hub, if I included "substantial qualifying evidence". What evidence would you specifically like? That's just weird. The only evidence you need is plastered all over the Internet- look at the declining stats of people going to church or the increase in people leaving the churches. Or the trend toward spirituality rather than organized religion. Where have you been? In church? Thanks for the 80- for this busy mom of two little ones, I'll take it.
Ironically, the only critics I have are those who are churchgoers...wouldn't expect any of those folks to like this read.
janet on November 13, 2013:
I went to church as a child, I liked the sunday school but as an adult I felt it wasn't helping me, I felt like I wasn't learning anything new or growing. I liked helping other people. I found them to be judgmental and wouldn't understand that special needs kids could end up in the jail simply because of needs, nothing to do with not knowing about god.
Also If they want people to be pure why cant they help people rather than judge? In this day and age young men and women are doing things that are far from pure, shouldn't we be helping those that want to be pure or more moral lead better lives by setting up dates?
I still like helping other people and being kind.
RKeithAndrews on November 12, 2013:
You wrote that nowhere in the Bible does it say... attend church to be faithful. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together." Hebrews. I understand and appreciate your angst with organized religion. Your article began with flair and captivated me. But the more I read the more the article downgraded itself into a gripe sessions. Beginning well usually ends well. There were apparently hurried points made, sometimes rash comments and grammatical errors which an additional proof reading probably would have caught - that was a distraction. The article, on the whole, read as a newspaper editorial without substantial qualifying evidence for points made. Basically your opinion. Rewrite the article with more intellectual appeal rather than a submission to garner support from additional frustrated people, with added frustration after reading your "comments." Good article. Good topic. That's all. Graded 80.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on November 12, 2013:
I have two small children and a chronic illness, including pain and fatigue, but what's more important than those excuses to not attend church regularly, is that I've got a solid relationship with my savior. Besides that, I'm not sure if you should judge because church going is obviously your utmost concern.
great points about the "Sunday slot". Yes, it's tricky for people and sadly when church goes out the window, sometimes God does too. My point in this article is that for whatever reason you can't "do" church, you can still maintain a relationship with God.
thanks for stopping by.
Thanks, lovely words. And God bless to you.
Marti on November 05, 2013:
Salvation is gained through faith in Lord Jesus Christ. It is not gained through works. My personal experiance with the Lord showed me an unconditional love ,being loved with the agape love of the word is virtual and you just cannot be the same. I am sure that every person who truly believes has felt that love and acceptance. However, we tend to forget that church is not a museum for perfect christians but a hospital for the sinners. We are all growing differently because we are all individual and God is working individually in us while we are spending time with Him and we give him the first place. Even we are unfaithfull God is still faithfull.The idea of Church itself or christians gathering together is exactly this-to grow,to support each other ,to love and appreciate each other. This is not an excuse for us to be doing by purpose and by knowing this bad things, but I believe that if you truly love God and have a personal relation with Him then the change comes itself,you are developing and you are becoming better because you are just being happy to improve.This should come from the inside because there is no change apart from Him,as everything is in Him. We are often becoming so heavy hearted by rools and ministering that we tend to forget our first love. And we start to serve people's opinion before God. I can understand your pain. I am in full ministry now and there are people who are really Christ alike but for sure there are also individuals who are very hard to cooperate with. However,I really understand your pain because I have felt that way many times. Still I am remembering myself that I do not go to church to please people or to show my clothes.I go to church because this is the place where you can feed yourself . Because it is not just a question about us ,it is a question of the whole generation,of our children ,of our children's children, of the whole world. We should go to church with the attitude that we go there to respect the Lord . Yes, you have to respect him at Home and in your Heart at first but come on people how many times you have said :"Wow this word went straight to my heart". Letting hurt to poison your soul is the easiest way but how you can grow up only meeting people who despite being good or amazing...are just non-christians and they don't get your point because they have not felt that amazing anoiting and love.Even if you don't go to church it is good to gather with christians who you can trust and who can be a real family for you.And I believe that if you ask God in prayer he will lead you to a certain place. Cuz we are the people,the sault of the Earth who can bring the change in the world.Just try not to put your sight on all of the negative things you can see, try to think of all of the things you can experiance through your journey. Do not live for people's opinion live for God's opinion,be an example,show love and respect,don't be judgemental towards others,pray for them ,offer your help ,as everyone is fighting their own battle. We should support ourselves because we will be known by our love . So,yes showing the right example is crucial .I am sorry if my english is not good enough,it is not my native language. I am happy that you have been so sincere and God loves you and he knows exactly how you feel but feelings are not the best instructor.Stretch your faith.God bless.
YMP on October 22, 2013:
wow, this article makes some really great points - and I think represents what so many people grapple with - the precious fresh time they need on Sundays (esp. after working all week) and the country club feel - or fake social circle - well some valid points are noted. However, do keep in mind that the Bible is very clear that we are to "not forsake the gathering together" as Believers - because it is for our strength and fortification - like a solider who needs his fellow warriors. But the problem is that suggesting that an hour on Sunday is the best time to meet - well that just is not aligning with folks more and more.
Technology changes and work schedules have evolved -but then somehow we expect the classic sunday morning slot to be welcomed by each generation. Now of course it would be respected if (as this article notes) if it were mandated in the Bible (but it is not) - and also - CS Lewis called it chronological snobbery - which means that some things apply to all generations and to all times - because they are timeless. But Sunday church? Well it may not fit into this category - and look at the folks that find Saturday night services meet the needs for their family - or those that go Wednesday night and Saturday night. Indeed it is time for a change - because very on-fire Christ followers want to "gather" and worship together - but Sunday morning set ups may not be an option....
Church goer on October 21, 2013:
All of you are just looking for ways not to go to Church ! What , is there something more important for you to do that day ? Going to Church takes about an hour, plus driving plus getting ready huh BIG DEAL !You must be pretty important and have a lot going on if you can't find the time 2 hours Max unless you go to a Mormon church ! And even then you can walk out any time you want! I feel sorry for you !
Josie Adams from Australia on October 20, 2013:
Izetti, thank you, you beautiful mighty woman of God.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on October 18, 2013:
thanks for commenting. I think it is wise we don't get stuck in everyone's else's idea of following God. Everyone has their own path. I feel closer to Him worshipping him by myself or with family. We should follow Him and not others. And YES, I love to make people think.
Thanks so much
grand old lady,
As I've tried to make my roots within a church it tends to be less about God and more about the church so I can relate to you as well.
All that drama, politics, and gossip does take the fuel out of a good worship with God. I never though about the early service- good idea. Thanks for putting that out there.
Susan on October 16, 2013:
After taking some "leave time" from my church (due to the just politics and personality issues) I am glad to say I go ONLY to the first service which has the fewest members in the pews. I feel I could not got back to the larger service anymore for those at that service just drain me with the drama and the after the service attitudes. I leave peacefully now and God's word stays with me much longer. Before, I would leave service go fellowship and hear the gossip, the drama, etc. that I had headaches and did not want to come back. If any of you have a church where you can step in at their earlier service. please do so. God is waiting for you!
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on October 13, 2013:
I have yet to find a church where I can really fit in. I have no doubt about my being a Christian and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but evangelical churches and other types of churches, if you get over involved get more detailed with more "you must believe ...." based on the biblical interpretation. Sometimes they feel they are so spiritual and that unwittingly ends up as spiritual pride, though they are not aware.
People I know say they go to church because they feel good after service. I don't get that feeling anymore. I feel good praying to Jesus, listening to spiritual songs, that sort of thing. A book, a movie that has a spiritual message.
So you could say I'm unchurched. Happy to be in your club.
Josie Adams from Australia on October 05, 2013:
Laura, I too have been ministered to in church, very much so. My story is different to most, and I know that my journey isn't everyones. Many people are following God by going to church. I am not one to think that my path should be everyone elses. The reason I challenge is to make people think about whether or not they are going in the direction they are because God is calling them there, or because they have made an assuption based on tradition.
Bless you, seek God always. Keep on Questioning, and writing things like this. It makes people think.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on October 05, 2013:
Insearch of truth,
Funny, I've been to church when they've had guest speakers and learned more from them and could identify with them. Those guest speakers were all missionaries and ministers on the go in various countries and wherever needed. Perhaps those "four walls" hinder us a bit.
Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your words and what you do.
Josie Adams from Australia on October 03, 2013:
Firstly thank you so much for being brave and putting all this out there.
I just want to say that you are on the right path, the search of truth begins between an individual and God, not between four walls. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, not a place. God has brought me out of church to minister in the way of the apostles in the early church.
I would like to set some of you free, church service attendance is not written anywhere in the bible. Fellowship is a good principle, being fed is a good principle, but unless we are connected number one to the source we can fall into useless tradition and dead works.
Many people are actually missing what God wants to do in their lives because they think it is a the devil trying to get them home on a Sunday. For example, I am being called to minister at Sunday market stalls for this stage in my journey. I would not perceive this if I was attending church as a rule.
"See, I am doing a new thing... Do you perceive it?" Isaiah 43:19
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on September 10, 2013:
Thanks Esteph...these are not all MY reasons. Just reasons I've heard over the years from people. trying to represent all those out there and their reasons for not attending church. Thanks for stopping by.
Estephania on September 10, 2013:
Oh sorry, I tried to add something for point 4 and 5. remember Hebrews 12:2. Put ur eyes in Jesus, because men are imperfect. If I there was a perfect church I'd be running away from it because of how imperfect i am, u are, everyone is.
Love Esteph :).
Estephania on September 10, 2013:
Hi Izettl :) I just read your article. I do think u have some points and in other stuff I think you need to just read the Bible. I will adress it in the points u did as well. Hope it doesn't get too long :)
1Bible: I do not understand why you feel bad that you can't find a book in the bible right away. That is only normal. Heck I have been going to a church for 2 years and I myself have trouble finding some books sometimes. I think sometimes, people go to church prejudiced(feeling bad and less already when they shouldn't). In my church, if u dont have a Bible, people look up the book and lend u theirs. Because they want to welcome you.
2 I do understand that shaking things up and changing things is good, we do that in my church. last week a scientist from US came and talked about how science directs to the Bible being true it was exciting!. But remember, God speaks to all of us through pastors. He uses all of us like instruments to make disciples of Jesus. Mathew 28:19.
3 In 1Peter 3:3 talks about what God thinks as well as in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and Deuteronomy 22:5. So God does care about the outside my dear.
4 I do understand what u mean Apocalypses 3:15-16 talks about this. Mathew 6:24
5But remember u aren't the one to judge either, and in this article you are criticizing the mere thing u are doing, judging, u have to be careful with that. Mathew 7:3
6 U are totally right about ur job. If u have to work then yes. But as a Jesus follower try to seek God's blessings to hears God's word. Romans 10:17. Also the Bible does exhort u to go to church. Hebrews 10:25.
7 Mathew 18:20, u need more than one person for God to be there wherever u are. In Salm 133:1-3 says that it’s good for brothers and sisters in Christ to get together in harmony, because God sends blessings. Also Ephesians 5:23 states that we the church are the body of Christ. Don’t miss understand a temple is not the church. Nevertheless the primitive church (that originates after Christ’s resurrection) always had a place where they could meet. So, God himself likes that u go to Church, if u read the whole New Testament. Oh and I almost forgot, God also states how he wants his church to be organized. So pastors, deacons and all that comes from the Bible (NT).
8 I know a lot of Christians and but I don't know of mentally ill Christians, it’s just my experience maybe other people do know them. I’m not one to deny if Go talks to someone. I do know of my bf that had an experience that I could tell u in another moment. God deals with us in different ways, because every relationship with God is personal. 2 Corinthians 3:15-17 & other passages talk about how different non-believers don’t understand the Gospel and why Christians do things. (keeping in mind we are humans and we are still in the flesh according to the Bible). -- The priests vow of chastity, is nowhere in the Bible supported or stated, I can send u verses that state the contrary. I went to a European history class and learned that a Pope set this measure so the Catholic church could inherit the priest’s inheritance. I have a documentary on the history of Christianity that could help answer some of this doubts.--- 1 Corinthians 1:21, Mathew 28:19( the purpose of every Christian individually, and the church as a community is making disciples of Christ, it is stated in the Bible many times my dear,).And read Hebrews 12:2, our eyes not on the errors of men but in God who never fails.... and Jude 1:4 for the ones who do it for prosperity, that is not of God.
9 If u don't like the songs that’s alright. in my country there’s a saying “for tastes there are colors". But hun, granny just wants to praise the lord :). Just like every Christian should think more of the words of the song rather than the rhythm. Galatians 5: 13, 16... talks about satisfying the spirit. The styles as rap, rock etc. many of them satisfy the flesh. I know, because I like them. When I praise God is not that i can’t choose a rock song, there are many Christian rock songs, but the style of the song should satisfy my spirit and not my flesh. I guess that’s why many churches don't use these rhythms. And about the 30 min cult/sermon. Don't u think is best to spend ur time glorifying God rather than your own pleasures? 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17.
10 2 Corinthians 9:7, We give for the glory of God and the expansion of his Word dear. God always answers our prayers, but we hardly listen. James 4:3. Faith doesn't need a grasp. Hebrews 11:1 u believe and u don't need a grasp of anything because Salm 39:7. Ur hope is in his Word. Romans 8:24 says it all. Without God we are nothing. God wants us to depend upon him not ourselves, that is Christianity, living day by day depending on the only one who can. God.
Please watch this video How great is Our God - Louie Giglio.
I hope that u may grow closer to God each day, remember it is only by his Word that we grow in faith says the bible. I love you, and I’m here when ever u have a question. and by the way I don't know the bible by heart; I just spent 2 days looking for the passages in the internet. not because I want to contend with u, but because I want the Bible to speak to u. :) Sorry that this is very long.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on September 08, 2013:
Ummmmm....ok. How do you know God is only coming for THE CHURCH?
I have a closer relationship to God without church. I have community within my neighborhood and when they laugh I laugh and when they cry...
Were there church politics when Jesus was here? No. Many churches are not what was intended. But you are proof of non-acceptance to anyone who does not think like you do- typical churchgoer that I run into.
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on September 07, 2013:
Izettl: Wish you the best :)
Phabiolaa on September 07, 2013:
You probably haven't accepted God in your life FOR REAL. You don't understand Christians? You question everything we do? YOu even don't feel comfortable in Church? If You knew God enough, if you understood his word enough you wouldn't even recoginize the people who judge. You'd have fun and have a good time.
When Jesus returns, he's coming for the church. Not Independent Ally, in Michigan, or Lonely Dave in Arizona. Not just you. THE CHURCH.
And if Christians sound like they have some type of mental problem, such as Schizophrenia, then You don't know the first or last thing about God.
When a fellow Christian Brother or Sister, cries, you cry, when they laugh you laugh. All you feel inside, is understanding or empathy.
You maybe, have no clue who God really is, and its just the beginning of your Journey.
I'll pray for you, and suggest you ask God for more understanding. Ask him to clear up all the thing you just don't understand.
And he will. And ask more questions, don't let your curiosity just sit there.
God is not the author of confusion. He wants you to understand him.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on September 06, 2013:
Jeff Porter~ I get what you're saying. Church and it's people are not perfect. Many have made that case. I want imperfect, somewhere I can be myself, not fake. I quite the 9-5 jobs cause of office politics. And church politics aren't for me either. Less worship with politics and less work time with office politics. If I keep getting crappy service or food at a restaurant would I go back? Not unless I like crappy stuff. So we can't really compare that to the chicken shack.
I wrote this hub to reach the people who gave up on their relationship with God or are fed up with church and it's effected them. I also wrote it for members and leaders in a church for a reality check into why some people do not choose to go to church.
I worship regularly. It's like when I quit the gym- sure it was easy to keep a nice body having a place to go that ensured a great workout, but I've learned I can also just be more active overall and walk often to keep in shape without a gym. Does it take more work? You might say so, but to me it takes more effort. Nothing wrong with putting in effort for a good cause. It takes being mindful to do it on a regular basis. Same as how I worship. I don't have a church to go to so that I can forget about it during the week- God is part of my week.
Carrie Lee Night~
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I agree. People have commented on here that I'm looking for people to be perfect. No, I'm looking for people to not expect me to be perfect. Don't look down on me because I don't homeschool my child or fit into "your" ideals. That's what I don't need in a church. I think many people, like myself, have found God in difficult times and should be more open and honest with each other because that's how God wants us. I'm trying a new church this weekend- wish me luck!
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on September 05, 2013:
A very interesting and heart felt hub :). It is very sad that you have not found a warm, friendly and genuine church (I have problems finding one too). I want to go back to church someday so I may grow, but I know there will be obstacles because I am very stubborn and strong minded. First off I would like to point out that some of those who you think are the bible pros are not living by the Lord's example. NO ONE should EVER look down on anyone just because they can't navigate the bible like the wind. Being warm and loving, non-judgmental, forgiving and compassionate is what I look for in a church, but we all human and will never find that "perfect church". I think it's best to focus on your own relationship with Christ, than worry about what others think of your progression :) Thank you for writing this amazing hub that is honest and a lot of people can relate to(I'm one of them). Keep the faith :) and keep smiling. Have a wonderful week.
TheTruth on August 29, 2013:
why should i go when i am all alone and don't have a love life like so many VERY BLESSED men and women have together with their families?, Gee Wiz, i would love very much to have that too if i can only find a good woman that is not GAY and doesn't have to CURSE at us men when we will try to start a conversation with the one that we would really like to meet.
Susan Baxter from Georgia on August 26, 2013:
My view on that ... https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/StrayShee
Roscoe Wallace from Georgia on August 25, 2013:
You aren't responsible for how someone else acts in church ...or in a convenience store, or a chicken shack.
I wish you well on your church search. I have found one myself, where I attend, that, thankfully, isn't full of 'mentally ill' people. And, thankfully, it's not ran by 'mentally ill people', either.
It's ran by someone who is a good person, but, a sinner just like me and everyone else there.
I'm sure it takes a lot of work to have a relationship with Christ outside of church. Keep in mind, the bible tells us that we are supposed to gather together. What you, and others do is akin to planting a flower; not in a garden, but in an abandoned plot of ground, where it rarely gets sun and enough water. It may grow, but it will rarely thrive. (I'm not saying it's not possible.)
I do understand that there are churches who miss the mark.
I think where we differ, in a sense, is that I do care what people think of me. I say that, to say this; what people think of me has a bearing to how they'll hear what I have to say about my Jesus and what he means to them and their eternal life.
That being said, I will tell you that no one I know would think I was perfect, even if I did walk around trying to fake it. I am also aware that no one (inside or outside of my church) is perfect, nor do I expect them to be. Not the pastor, not the deacons, not the people in the back row.
Keep in mind that you'll find that same sort of person of fake perfection at every church, at every sporting event, at every grocery store, at every family reunion; everywhere.
Church is no different, and it never could be; being made up of sinners; from the greeter to the pastor. Myself chief among them.
May God Bless.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on August 25, 2013:
I reiterate this so many times I think I'm going to go blind or bonkers. That IS my point- there are no perfect churches nor people so why do people ACT like it in church. I want to go with normal people (normal = with problems and with perfectly perfect imperfections). That is worth it. There is no value going somewhere where nobody is genuine, where everybody acts like their perfect selves then go home and abuse their children, cheat on their wife, or treat their local waitress like dirt because she works on Sunday (yes, that was me at one time).
Jeff, I didn't grow at church- in fact it led me away from God for a while because I felt like I could not be as perfect as these people were. Fortunately I wizened up and realized these people are not like that at all. It was fake- a front- a façade. I want no part. I go periodically so my kids have the experience and one day can make up their own minds, but other than that, I've enjoyed a wonderful relationship with God away from church.
You are why nobody wants to go to church. Judgment #1, "laziness". You don't even know me- how do you know these are MY "reasons" (not excuses) for not going to church. I here these from various people- they are NOT all my own. Laziness would be if I never opened my Bible or sought a place in me where I commune with God. It takes more work to have an ongoing relationship and knowledge with/of God outside of a church where you can let others do the thinking for you and mark it off on your good deed to-do list for the week, than it does to carry that relationship into all aspects of your life, which many Christians do not.
Again, let me clear this up with people, I am looking for an imperfect church where people don't walk around with a stink of fake perfection hanging off them. I want people to be themselves, a place to go to relax and focus on Jesus, not trying to obtain perfection in the eyes of others. I could care less, if you haven't noticed, what others think of me. that's why I'm not a church goer.
Laura Izett-Irwin (author) from The Great Northwest on August 25, 2013:
Perhaps you misunderstood the context of "the mentally ill" and church portion of this article. I am stating that there is mental illness that goes undetected in churches, such as priests who molest children and cult leaders. Schizophrenics and even bi-polar do have a tendency to be paranoid- that's not a generalization or stereotype, it's diagnostic criteria/a symptom of the illness. Consequently, paranoia brings on the religious factor in some mentally ill. It's not necessarily mentally ill people who go to church but a large segment of those that run churches or are in leadership positions within a church that give church a bad stigma and make people want to run the other way.
I absolutely agree with you about the restrictions placed on people within church and put upon people under Christ's name. Jesus was forgiving- all that he and God stand for is forgiveness of our sins, but sometimes what we learn in church at young ages is that we are sinners and shall pay ourselves- as you said that you must sacrifice yourself, yet Jesus has done that for us and churches need to remember that.
A Rhodes on August 24, 2013:
The majority of issues I see written here is because of what you think about other people, and how you think they look at you. Why don't you just consider your relationship with Jesus. You're not responsible for others actions, just yours. If you think not being active in a local church is okay, the bible says not to forsake the assemblies of men. It sounds more like excuses for laziness so you can do your own thing. If you're looking for the perfect church, find one with no people, then when you get there it will once again be imperfect.
Roscoe Wallace from Georgia on August 21, 2013:
Everyone needs to understand that churches are not museums for perfect people, they're a hospital for sick people.
Also, there are no perfect churches, and if there were, not one of us could attend.
We should expect there to be imperfections in churches. We should expect there to be hypocrites in churches, just as there are everywhere else.
I suppose all churches have their dust-ups now and then, and I know all churches and all church members have their warts.
I go to church, and I see those things, but, just as I don't get annoyed and walk out of WalMart just because I saw someone doing something goofy, I simply remember why I'm there.
Some people get caught up in the politics and the dress up games, etc.
I go there for the message, delivered from a man of God, to help me lean and grow. I fellowship with everyone who is sociable and I don't sweat those that aren't.
Having said that, I do believe that one doesn't have to attend church to be saved. But, a healthy church life will help a Christian grow in the word and go from an immature Christian to a Christian who is mature and able to help others see the need to have Christ as their savior.
firstname.lastname@example.org on August 21, 2013:
William E Krill Jr from Hollidaysburg, PA on August 21, 2013:
Let's talk about the gorilla in the room: congregations can and do get as dysfunctional and sick as families do. Many rely on 'cheap grace' to ignore, bypass, cover up, hold secrets, and avoid the reality that the devil just loves the space between people (especially in a congregation), and makes good use of gossip, rumor, triangulation, reactivity, and so many other evil motivations for covert and destructive communication. It is the RARE congregation that is wise enough or open enough to admit to these things, let alone do something proactive about them. Counselors for congregations that are dysfunctional? Why yes, yes indeed; just invite my team, pay our expenses and for our time.
James Prince from Los Angeles on August 21, 2013:
Catherine on August 20, 2013:
I am mentally ill. And I hate church. This is how I found this Hub. I will tell you why. Because I was bullied constantly when I was a little girl from everyone in school. And it made me sick. It made me withdraw from reality and start hearing voices. It was a combination of the constant bullying in school and the beatings at home from my highly religious mother who beat obedience in to me. So I turned the other cheek. And as a young adult on SSI and in an out of mental hospitals and board and care homes I blamed Christ for my suffering. Why was I not allowed to stand up for myself? At the same time I tried to be saved. But I carried hatred for Christ himself. When I was 22 God ordered me to kill myself or I would go to hell. The reason being is I was no longer a virgin..having had sex with a guy I didn't end up marrying. I was no longer perfect and must die or go to hell. I almost did die. I grew older..my resentment boiled. I hated Christ. I was angry at Christ..
I have been reading all the comments here, and there are many of them, they speak to me telling me how dare I not be willing to suffer ..and get up early in the morning. I have to say to those people that sit in judgment of those who don't go to church..to consider maybe we are not there sacrificing ourselves in your estimation because we are too busy hanging on our own cross...one you can't even imagine.
I am finally at age 45 beginning to draw in a kind of peace with the Lord and yes, forgive him for the damage obeying him caused me in my younger years when under the domination of my abusive mother(who thought good Catholics should suffer anyway) . I am fortunate to develop my own relationship and starting to realize that
he isn't on the side of those that bullied me.
I had my own cross to bear and that was it. And as a mentally ill person on SSI I still have great stigma to bear ..not only among conservatives who love to demonize me as lazy and seeking handouts..but among people like my half-brother who before getting to know me, generalized the mentally ill as violent..or people like you who generalize the mentally ill as judgmental church goers.
I am neither. But I generalize also. Because I think all Christians suck.