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25 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Go Vikings!

    Not UGA’s day today…tear.

  2. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Tough game tomorrow…I don’t have much hope.

  3. JTK says:

    From a previous R Oakland post:

    “I’m so glad I escaped from a certain CC several years ago.
    I lost a lot of so called friends when we left. It’s hard to be shunned by people who you thought were your friends.
    It’s been a real hard transition for my wife.”

    I’ve been considering why some people are so troubled when they leave churches, whether it be our church or many others.

    My first thesis:
    Younger adults (18-25) who leave their first church have more drama, just like peoples’ first breakup, getting fired the first time, etc
    It is more dramatic IN GENERAL than subsequent things. Someone who leaves the 5th church they ever joined (or the 15th!) are less troubled than the person who leaves a church for the first time.

    Others have told me it’s these darn everyone-gets-a-trophy millenials, who post every one of their feelings on social media. I’m a tad skeptical on this.

    Yet when I was at a men’s Bible study this week, an older man said his exit from the a Episcopal church back to the Catholic Church was every bit as dramatic as anything I’d heard. Likely doctrinal differences were a big part.

    Can ANYONE help, speculate, make an observation, ANYTHING?

    ~troubled by those who are troubled

  4. JTK says:

    I in no way want to take away from the real hurt that the person who posted that quote has.

  5. Michael says:

    JTK,

    I don’t know if I understand the question.
    Many people join a family when they join a church…the relationships formed mirror that sort of relationship.
    They invest time, money, and heart…then see it all taken away.
    It’s crushing.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, yeah, this one scares me more than the Packer’s game last Sunday did.

  7. EricL says:

    JTK,

    I think the person you quoted was talking of drama caused by those still in the church. It hurts when people you consider to be friends want nothing more to do with you just because you no longer attend the same church.

    One of the few “advantages” of a mega church, is that leaving usually isn’t so dramatic. Most attendees had no idea you were part of the crowd in the first place, so they won’t get mad when you leave. That is what it was like when I left the CC I was a part of for over 15 years. The few assistant pastors who knew me had already left and the senior pastor and most of the masses had no idea who I was– just another anonymous face in the crowd.

    We recently left the non-denom church we were a part of for about 10 years, but it was a clean break with no hard feelings. My wife and I felt led to pursue training as church planters and wanted to do so as part of a larger group that provided accountability and support. That young, independent church wasn’t the place for that, and the senior pastor understood our reasoning. No drama, but we left on good terms and without any anger or hurt feelings on our part.

  8. JTK says:

    I see a few scenarios:

    1). People leave a church (hurt or no hurt) and it is like leaving a workplace–you see your peers less because you are not at that physical location as much, so MOST of your relationships usually suffer.
    This may or may not be all of them. With some effort, a few relationships can remain intact, some could even deepen–but rarely.

    2). People leave a church (hurt/offense or not), and neither side makes a judgement on the person leaving; they were just there for a time, etc. I imagine there is little drama in this scenario.

    3). The person leaving judges the church they leave negatively (doctrine, practice, leadership style, or because of offense). This causes many/most still in that church to be anywhere from hands off to actively shunning them.

    4). The person leaving does so with a good heart and good communication and the church they leave judges THEM negatively (their “sin,” change of doctrine, behavior, etc). Especially common in churches with a spoken or unspoken “one true church” worldview.

    My episcopalian friend seems to fall in this category.
    “How could he pick the RCC over us?”

    I’ve talked to a local pastor about these things and it really is flummoxing.

    Michael, I agree on the “family” aspect, and see how painful it can be.

    However, few relationships contain as much manipulation and pressuring as families, soooo…

  9. JTK says:

    I am sure there are many other scenarios.

    I’m seeing a lot of number two number three number for on here, it seems to me.

  10. JTK says:

    I’ve been studying bitterness/unforgiveness and the nature of offense. I realize I’ve been those ways WAY to often.

    A pastor said this:
    “It is impossible to establish a healthy relationship with the person who has left another relationship bitter and offended. Healing must take place.”

    Words other pastors have spoken to me about helping their congregants deal with those issues before they allow them to join their church make a little more sense in this context.

    But in NO WAY do I want to ever be like manipulators who tell people to forgive while ignoring their/their church’s/their pastor’s serious wrongdoings–another topic often discussed here.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I just throw this out as something I have never heard in all these years on this blog.

    Has anyone ever considered that they are the cause of the problem? That they are the cause of their hurt and frustration – that they perhaps were no willing to accept the help offered by others and then blamed them for not helping?

    I don’t think I have heard a single person here say “after 10 yrs I realized I was the one in the wrong and I blamed others all these years.”

    Just throwing it out there.

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Caught it MLD!

    Yes, I realized a few years back that I was my own worst enemy at times in my hurt/depression. Much of my pain was self-imposed. And yes, I will say that I have been hurt BY OTHER CHRISTIANS and non-christians, but you know what? I wallowed in it for a long time. There’s a story out there, probably metaphorical more than anything else, that talks about a man on his roof because of flood waters, and he’s crying for help, and everytime someone comes by to help, he refuses it. Then he dies. He then asks God why he didn’t send any help, and God asks him why he refused all the help he sent to the man (or so the story goes).

    As an aside, something I think about and have talked about with someone really close to me, is how if you project weakness and vulnerability, it may make you more vulnerable to those who are looking for someone to abuse/attack. I believe that this was part of my issue/problem I had years ago. Still struggling with being open and welcoming to people and also wanting to keep people at a distance because of past hurts, though.

  13. Dan from Georgia says:

    BTW, I am not saying here “I was completely at blame and wrong for blaming others for my hurt and pain all those years” so maybe my testimony doesn’t exactly fit with what you are throwing out there. But I do want to say again that my responses to much of my pain inflicted by others wasn’t healthy. My years of anger and depression were more than likely my own doing. But I FINALLY DID GET HELP for my pain. Again, not totally over it, as scars remain (like Frodo’s scar that never truly went away).

  14. CostcoCal says:

    MLD….are you familiar with brian? Lol.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Dan,
    I remember going back to my parents 20 yrs after leaving their house and apologizing to them. After years of blaming them for some past issues and continually pointing the finger I realized that I in fact was the problem – I was a jerky, rebellious teenager..

    I don’t discount that as people we hurt each other.

    Costco – I saw the Life of Brian – does that count?

  16. JTK says:

    MLD,

    My mom wasn’t hearing it: “Ohhhh, you were always a good boy…”

    Yeah, and Scott Peterson’s mom INSISTED he was innocent, despite the boat, despite the pliers with blood and hair, despite the bleached hair of her son and thousands in cash on his way to the Mexican border…

    And it took more like 15-17 years for me to admit *I* was the irresponsible young missionary, not my supervisor’s oversight that was the problem.

    Pfffftttttt. 10 years. Takes stubborn dewds a lot longer than that!

  17. Anne says:

    15. Lol? 🙁 No one. NO ONE can accurately judge whether another’s problems, depression is their fault. If we become aware of our part in our difficulties as others confessed here and I myself have realized in the past that is a healthy thing. But to drop another’s name and lol!?!? And a pastor at that? Sad and tragic. I seriously hope I miss- read your comment Costco

  18. Anne says:

    15. Lol? 🙁 No one. NO ONE can accurately judge whether another’s problems, depression ,hurts, struggles with resentments / bitterness is all their fault. If we become aware of our part in our difficulties as others confessed here and I myself have realized in the past that is a healthy thing. But to drop another’s name and lol!?!? And a pastor at that? Sad and tragic. I seriously hope I miss- read your comment and inference Costco. Name dropping on a blog might read might not help the healing process much either 🙁 I apologize ahead of time if I am misunderstanding because of the late hour, poor comprehension, and over sensitivity.

  19. Anne says:

    Ha! Late hour has me double posting as well… Smh

  20. Surfer51 says:

    Let’s get to the real reason people leave a church, they got offended.

    Offense is usually the originating basis for making the choice to leave.

    MLD is on to something when he says (paraphrase his thought here) that after awhile some of those who have left may have a realization that they are the cause.

    John Bevere wrote an excellent book titled,”Offense The Bait Of Satan.”

    Unforgiveness when offended is often the root cause of why some would leave their church.

    Of course there are other reasons.

  21. Jean says:

    If anyone is looking for a Bible lessons, which applies to the condition of large swaths of the visible Church in America, take a look here:

    “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you. So you will stumble in broad daylight, and your false prophets will fall with you in the night. And I will destroy Israel, your mother. My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children. The more priests there are, the more they sin against me. They have exchanged the glory of God for the shame of idols.” (Hosea 4:4-7)

  22. Potatoehead says:

    Yikes!

  23. Potatoehead says:

    David’s Righteous Branch

    “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD.…
    New American Standard Bible Jeremiah 23:1

    Egads!

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