Church: Why I Don't Go Anymore
I don't go to church. Actually, just kidding, I do go sometimes. Like when someone is getting married or my mother in law needs a ride, or sometimes for Christmas or Easter or Mother's Day. But for the most part I don't go. But I used to go a lot. I've been on mission trips and in Bible studies. I've volunteered and baked cookies. I've fed the homeless. I've gone to many different churches in my lifetime; from non denominational mega churches to small Protestant churches to Catholic churches of all sizes and in many different neighborhoods. And now I don't go. To any of them. Here is a list of just some of the reasons why I stopped going to church.
1. God does not make church. People make church.
And sometimes, most of the time, people can be real A-holes. Especially church people. And that is so hypocritical that I can't even do it anymore. I read on Twitter that one "Christian" couple not only didn't give their waitress a tip because she had a rainbow gay pride tattoo on her wrist, but they actually wrote on the bill that they cannot tip people who don't love Jesus. Um, because that's what Jesus would do? Interesting that they figured that, just because she has a gay pride tattoo, that she doesn't love Jesus. Well if she didn't love Jesus before that encounter, I'm certain they ensured by their actions that she isn't going to want to now. That's just one example out of infinity examples of asshole behavior by people who represent their various churches. I cannot imagine how many tears Jesus has shed over the things that people have said and done in his name.
2. Anyone can lead a church.
Eight years ago I went on a mission trip to Israel/Palestine. One of the pastors from the church that sponsored the trip went on the trip with us. I ended up sitting with him on every single leg of the trip because our seats were assigned that way (coincidence??). This man, this pastor of the church, was not only openly judgmental, he was downright embarrassing. He said things like, "How stupid can you be to believe that Mohammad flew to heaven on a donkey?" to our Muslim guide as we passed the Shrine of the Rock in Jerusalem. He loudly mocked the call to worship as we walked through the streets of Bethlehem. He played a "prank" at a restaurant that was so humiliating to the owners of the establishment that I can't even repeat it here. And he's a pastor. Of a very large and very popular church. People listen to him every week and follow what he says and believe that he's a godly man. But he's not. He's just a bro. And a less than basic bro at that. You should, at the very least, have to take an asshole assessment before becoming a church leader. But you don't.
I could go on about other church "leaders" that I've encountered that are less than savory (like a pastor who retired from GM then started his own church without ever attending seminary and now drives a Bentley and buys Burberry for his grandkids) but then this would be a book rather than a blog post. And we don't want that.
3. The Christian faith has gone to great lengths to destroy the cultural practices and beliefs of nearly all indigenous peoples.
My husband is Native Hawaiian. His entire culture was nearly wiped out by Christian missionaries who not only banned the Hawaiian language, but also banned every single cultural practice from hula to religion. My husband actually learned about his ancestors' religion in a class he took in high school (and he went to a school for Native Hawaiians). The class was called Hawaiian Mythology. How would you feel if your religion or the religion of your ancestors was reduced to mythology? "Those crackpots actually believed that Jesus rose from the dead. Bwahahaha! Mythology!!" So many people are in the business of belittling other religions or reducing other people's cultures to dust. That just doesn't seem very godly to me. And if you think that you aren't missing out because of this, think again. Because guess what? Your ancestor's beliefs were most likely wiped out too. And so was the story about what their beliefs used to be- quite possibly paganism or Witchcraft; which by the way, are not satanic cults but legitimate religions that are very peaceful and nature-oriented. The demonization of these and other religions was and is a tactic to convert and oppress people. Tens of thousands of people were burned, hung and drowned during the witch hunts in the 17th century. And people are still being persecuted and oppressed for their beliefs, even here.
4. Some churches have so many rules that most people can't wrap their tiny peanut brains around them.
I was born and raised Catholic. I fell away from the Catholic church when my parents divorced and then went back in my 40s. I did my confirmation as an adult and did my damnedest to follow all those rules... stand up, sit down, say this, go to confession, feel like crap all the time... But when my husband and I got married, there were so many rules that we needed to follow that we couldn't keep up. The final straw was when the priest, let's call him Father Joe (because there are a billion kajillion Father Joes in the Catholic Church) didn't even know all the rules and actually threw away our paperwork that we had spent a million hours completing, I peaced out. I mean if the 80 year-old priest can't remember all the rules after 100 years in seminary and spending every day of his very long life reading The Rules, then how do you expect us ordinary peons to remember them all? If the only people who get into Heaven are the ones who follow all those rules, then Heaven must be a very lonely place.
5. Jesus only had a few rules and I haven't met too many people (or churches) who follow them.
- Jesus' biggest rule is to love one another. Not stiff them on the tip, not build a wall to keep them out, or lynch them, or blow them up, or tear them away from their families or deport them or ban their cultural practices. LOVE THEM. No matter who they are or what they do or believe or how they look. LOVE THEM. And that's enough of a rule for anyone to try and follow. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone just followed that one rule.
- Jesus also said to love God and put him first. And I don't see what going to church has to do with following that one. As long as you acknowledge that there is a higher power (no matter what you call that power: God, The Universe, Allah, ke Akua, Source... ), and show daily gratitude for whatever you are given in this world then I think you are covered.
- Another one of Jesus' rules is DON'T JUDGE. And I'm pretty sure he said that one about 60 bazillion times in the Bible but for some reason, people seem to forget it. Because people see what they want to see. And people do what they want to do. And people want to feel like they're superior so they judge other people and act all high and mighty when, in fact, they're just as weak and horrible and dark as everyone else.
So there you have my top reasons for why I don't go to church anymore. These are just some of my reasons, based on my 50 years of experiences and just part of my decision to peace out of church. Don't get me wrong. I am a spiritual person. I believe in a higher power and the need to be grateful and aware of that power. I say prayers and thank the universe for my blessings. I do my best to love others. I just don't love church.
If you love going to church, that's great! I'm not trying to take church away from anyone or convince them not to go to church anymore. If you've always had great experiences with going to church and it gives you a feeling of belonging and makes you a better person then more power to you. Just don't judge people who don't go to church. Or better yet, follow what your man JC said and just love instead of judge. Because loving people instead of judging them or trying to change them is one sure-fire way to make this world a better place.
And it might just make someone want to go to church with you.