There’s been a lot of changes in my life since two years ago, when I was still in high school and youth group and still dealing with the hardships of juggling my fun life and school life as well as homework assignments and whatever other extra curricular activities I had going, like karate. They were definitely good times, but there also came a lot of hardships involving the church I grew up in. I won’t go into too much detail, for it’s a longer story that I’ve intended for the article, but after 13 years of knowing almost everyone, growing up alongside people I knew too well, and meeting some good friends that kept my spirits high, I had to tear myself away from the conflict and the unbiblical teachings and behavior the church was showing to the congregation and their own pastor. It was incredibly hard to witness after so many years of knowing these people.
It’s also incredibly hard to know that this kind of situation, though not exact, was not something new to my family, and that they’ve been dealing with church conflicts, splits, and other issues since for a very long time, and after witnessing various Christian’s behavior, the Baptist teachings, and the way people have twisted the Bible, I’ve become very hard to the concept of “church”.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand church is important and that we should honor God by going to church and meeting other Christians who can help strengthen and encourage us, but when almost none of that is taking place within the church and making it so that there’s a certain level of mistrust towards a particular denomination and other Christians, it’s really hard to talk myself into going to church again.
However, I have not stopped going to church and exploring with my family to various new church locations here at my new home in Florida. There are a lot of possibilities out there, and any one of those could be a good fit for me and my family as we try to figure out where the best place to go to church is, but I still am unable to shake off the level of distrust I have. Is what I’m feeling alright?
I’ve often asked myself this as I’ve socialized with other Christians, whether online or offline. Certain conversations and theological discussion and opinions have raised barriers for me that I find extremely difficult to want to break down, and really, SHOULD i break these barriers down? Is it okay for me to be cautious about these types of situations I find myself in? Is this distrust I have logical or uneven understandable? Do I look ungodly?
I’ve stopped really caring about what I’ve looked like a long time ago, really. I’m scarred, and I’ve accepted that; now I am working on healing from the wounds I have dealt with. But there are people’s doctrine I run into, things I see that come across my dashboard or feed, certain conversations……….I begin to despise those types of things.
It’s become incredibly hard to accept the Baptist beliefs. I hate the things the majority of them stand for. I despite the level of negativity it seems that denomination seems to hold. Yes, I acknowledge not all denominations or even people are perfect, but when the Baptist church you’ve come out of after knowing the majority of your life is borderline a freakish cult, you begin to question certain things. And you begin to wonder why these people bother in these denominations.
I could go on and on with what I disagree with in the Calvinistic mindsets of the Baptists. I’d have an extremely long list, but I also have an extremely long list of things I disagree with in a lot. I disagree with Godspeak, with flowery language from the Bible, of people who don’t say “thank you” for a compliment and instead say “it’s all God.” But right now, I’m merely only asking myself “is what I feel okay?”
Those three things I mentioned above are some of the distrust I deal with when watching the Christian community. It gets tiresome. It gets angering. And all the while, I ask myself if the emotion is okay to face, if it’s ungodly. I’ve often asked myself “why am I so different from other Christians? I don’t even THINK like they think. They quote such flowery Biblical speech, and I never once thought of doing something like that.” I don’t post verses, or small sermons, or little theological ideas. Heck, I don’t even mention my faith on sites like Tumblr. My opinions, my views, are so different from other people’s. Maybe it has something to do with the pain I’m still trying to struggle through.
After a lot of thought on this topic, I’ve finally concluded that it’s okay to feel hurt, to feel scarred, to be cautious, just as long as I make sure I’m healing and not holding onto to the past. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely healed; even almost two years later, I’m still battling the feelings I am today of betrayal, mistrust, anger….but that’s okay. I’m allowed to feel these emotions. I don’t have to think like all the other Christians, don’t have to overly spiritualize like they do, and that is okay. It’s alright to be cautious too, even, because rather than throwing yourself into a church you barely know a thing about, you can research their morals and principles, their doctrine, and decide what best fits your beliefs. I am no longer a Baptist, and to be honest, I’m not sure I really was one. I don’t have to choose a denomination to obey God. It’s not needed.
If anything, I understand why people walk away from the church. I understand the hurt they’ve faced, the confusion that they have to deal with. I also understand why they choose to walk away from God. It’s a painful process to see your childhood church split up, and then in the next church be told you had too much baggage to participate. It’s hurtful to see this kind of action be done to so many already hurting people.
Unless you’ve been in the same situation as I have, I’m not quite sure a lot of people can relate to the types of feelings I’ve been facing. The betrayal and suspicious activity of cultish churches seem somewhat hidden for whatever reason, but I hope that by allowing my thoughts and emotions to spill out, I’d be able to reach out to someone who doesn’t know what it’s like but would like to help hurting Christians in some way. The world is already harsh enough on us, let’s not make it so the church is as well.