Read This: What Church People Need to Know About Once-Churched People
This blog post has been going around some of the disaffected Mormon Facebook spots despite not really being specifically about Mormonism at all (as far as I can tell.) Isn’t it interesting how those things seem to be universal? A snippet:
This message is for Church People.
It’s for those of you who are part of a faith community every week; a physical place where you usually find yourself on Sundays. You come there willingly, expectantly, and in that place you receive encouragement and find community and feel acceptance, and where you regularly experience moments of challenge and inspiration and joy.
You feel at home there in that building, connected to those people, confident in the creeds you recite there, comforted by the songs you sing together. The sum total of what you find in that place makes you certain that God exists and makes that God feel close enough to touch. Your presence there on the inside of it all makes you better. It leaves you feeling lighter. It takes your faith deeper.
If that describes you, I celebrate what you’ve found and what you feel and what you have, because it is well worth celebrating.
But what you need to know, Church People, is that there are other people too (lots of them, in fact); those who used to have those things and used to feel that way—but who no longer do.
I like that the author of this post begins by describing the value that Church People get from their church communities. As someone who has never believed, in some ways, this “ideal experience” of what a church should be eludes me, so I appreciate being reminded of the difference in experiences.
I have to be reminded that some people do really see church as a place of validation and support, a safe space, a hallowed space. Because if let to my own devices and interpretation, I see churches too often as being the same place of invalidation and interpersonal violence that so much of the world is. I can see more clearly the idea of church as being a testing or proving ground rather than a place for rest. (And I can sympathize with those for whom church is such a testing ground, and that that is its own solace even if the community isn’t).