I left my church today

It wasn't this church

It wasn't this church.

I left my church today. Not planning to come back.

For years I’ve had a problem with the Church in America becoming excessively political. Sometimes I would complain about it, even argue with parishioners. But that just doesn’t work. They won’t change their ways and I just come off like an a$$hole.

So I’ve tried to just be quiet and hope that the Church would be about the business: turn hearts toward God. Feed the hungry. Give hope to the hopeless. A helping hand for the stuck. Shine a light for the lost.

This is really important to me, because I see the Church as a haven from complaining about the state of the world. A place safe from politicking. I, like nameless thousands of others, need the light and the hope. We need a divine sign from Heaven, not a lawn sign from a Congressional candidate.

Plus, we get that everywhere else we go, and extra over the phone. I don’t want it plugging up my personal life. I don’t want it poisoning potential friendships. Which it has done, again and again. So here’s me, in church, hoping to make friends and do, you know, Good Things.

So what happened? Pastor got up in the pulpit and said that “something new was happening in the land, a spirit of cooperation,” and so on. Meaning as a result of the most rancorous midterm election held here since I’ve been old enough to vote. The Amen Chorus seemed to indicate general assent. Now, this is pretty tame. But consider that I’ve run into it before. Christians proving that their political alliances are more important than their friendships.

It’s not open campaigning: the IRS doesn’t permit that. But you know where you stand any more. And this treatment, which this misguided pastor referred to as “cooperation,” isn’t even Christianity. It’s more like tribal animism.

We are still supposed to change the world, to leave it better than we found it. This will sometimes call for us to engage one another about the great social issues of the day. But it doesn’t mean lining up with a party. ANY party. I’ve changed churches over both major American parties, so I know what it looks like.

My church has lined up with a party. So I need a new church. One where it’s about the soul, not the vote.

Read more: You don’t have to be partisan to be prophetic.


~ by Ron Graham on November 7, 2010.

3 Responses to “I left my church today”

  1. It’s sad that so many houses of worship have become homes of political discourse. I hope you find a new place that more closely meets your needs.

  2. If you had stayed and listened you would have heard that there is no Christian political party, that the principles taught in scripture always come first and a person needs to weigh those principles in prayer before choosing their vote. Then you would have heard the message which had nothing to do with politics. You have been aware of the political leanings of most of the people who attend the church for years.

    The church you speak of has done more to rescue people from their hurts, addictions and sins by preaching Jesus, salavation and grace than any other I am aware of in this area. This is how the world is left a better place and people enter into the kingdom of God. Feeding the poor, covering expenses of those without income is all happening. The community garden flourished this summer with produce donated to a food kitchen. There is a Christian addictions anonymous group and we anticipate an AA meeting to start. Members volunteer with and donate to charitable causes of all kinds.

    As citizens we are involved in the political process our country has given us a right to. As Chrstians we are to allow Christ to affect all aspects of our life. At this time there is one particular issue that is untolerable for many Christians and unfortuantley many don’t even think of less untolerable issues in voting. It sadly creates the perception in the mind of many Christians that one political party is “Christian” and the other is not. It is to that the particular comment I stated above was made in church.

    I’m sure if you dig deep into your relationship with God, He will guide you where He wants you to go…not to where you are comfortable. That would be the worst thing for you, as it would be for any Christian.

  3. I haven’t been comfortable in church since I became a Christian in the first place. One might argue that the seats are just too hard.

    And I know this hurts you – my only friend in that church. Sometimes my only friend in this area. I know that church has done many good things for you, for which I’ll always be grateful. You also know me well enough to know there are related issues to those I’ve stated above – stuff I can’t escape from, stuff I can’t talk about openly, stuff that’s political in nature, and stuff for which I hold nobody to blame. So I’m in a place where I need to start over. This is me doing what I gotta.

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