On Quitting Church...
To those who may be angry or confused:
What is Christianity?
To some, it's a systematic approach to the world through a faith-based lense. It simply gives them an easy answer where there wouldn't ordinarily be one.
To others, it's a crutch upon which Bible-believing scientists, historians and writers get to pass Go! and collect $200, copping out of the "truth".
Many see it as a organized, well-put-together list of rituals and practices that help you rejoice in the good times, take comfort in the bad times and gives you a hope that there is something else out there other than what we can see.
But pure Christianity, stripped of its cultural bells and whistles, is a commitment to knowing Christ. Until we get there, we haven't adopted it truly; we have only adopted the habitual practices - prayer, Church, mission trips, youth lock-ins - that accompany it.
I write this in order for those who read it to have a chance to seriously question their core belief. What if your "Church" no longer existed, your youth group no longer hung out together and every convenience of your faith was stripped from you. Would you still find it worth your while?
I think that many Christians, myself most definitely included, must go through a refining process wherein we begin by adopting the rituals of faith, understanding them to be Christianity.
After a time of personal study and guidance by the Holy Spirit, then we come to see certain elements of the Christian experience as simply that - an experience. So we throw it away, confused as to why it was made into such a big deal. Sadly, this process is often accompanied by anger and confusion rooted in the hypocrisy of fellow believers.
Only once this purifying process has come and gone, whether through a series of bursts or a sudden rejection of faith in its entirety, can we see Christianity in it's most basic form: knowing Christ. Knowing the Way, theTruth and the Life.
Then! Ahhhh, that's a nice word. Then, we can slowly bring those rituals and habits back into our routine, understanding as we hadn't before, that they have a place, just a different place than we had once imagined. We can appreciate the "rules" that Scripture gives us, though they were not rules at all but merely the expected fruit of our faith. We can appreciate meeting together on Sunday morning to worship and learn, though the Church might be filled with sinners and hypocrites (like ourselves). We can appreciate abstinence from the things that may not be sin but, in a fuller picture, may not be wholesome for our Spiritual growth.
After casting out the superfluous elements of religion in order that we may know it's pure form, we can delight in the superfluous as we are able to recognize and keep our eyes on the root of our faith: Jesus Christ.
With Love and Hope,
Written from Dublin, Ireland
I, by no means, encourage Christians to quit the Church. On the contrary, I would encourage them to embrace the good that comes from the steady meeting of believers as they seek to understand the intricacies of their undesirable situation.