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18 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    My parents left the second church they were members of in a dozen years.

    I have seen again and again, in friends and acquaintances’ lives, that this leads to stunted growth, a thinner skin in the next church they go to and usually a more hardened heart.

    With significant knowledge of their situation, they were not treated poorly, they were not “wronged.” Of course, in many comparable situations, wrong was done.

    Have you witnessed such? WHAT IS this dynamic?

    I see it over and over, in numerous churches, with varied theology and differing church government.

    I’d appreciate some help.

  2. London says:

    People change and have different needs in their lives at different times.

  3. Babylon's Dread says:

    As a churchman of over 40 years I am amazed at how many victims there are who caused the wreck they cried out about. Sorry, this is just the reality. People usually make their own problems. Social interaction in groups requires a level of maturity that simply does not exist across the board. Watch any talk show, attend any political rally, join any social group and you will find relational carnage. The church has no more of it than any other group and probably has less than most.

    We always hear about the offended church member. As a pastor I want to say…”can we talk?”

    One more thing… lying in our culture is not logical. People do not lie merely for a reason. They lie for any reason, no reason or perceived reasons. They lie because they have somehow lost a value for and contact with the truth.

    One thing for sure; church life as a pastor or as a member requires that we grow up… again and again.

  4. Em says:

    People/we lie to themselves/ ourselves most of all…. a destructive disguised as a survival technique ?

    I think the Bible calls it a deceitful heart…. we cannot deny our need for new ones… IMHO

  5. Em says:

    Ooops forgot to add a loud AMEN to the last sentence of BD’s 2:47. …FWIW. – my amen, that is. 😇

  6. London says:

    Sometimes people feel the desire or need to move on, even if there’s no particular offense.
    Maybe a lack of interest, connection or purpose is at the heart of it. Maybe they just want to try something different.
    There’s no rule that says anyone needs to stay at one church for the rest of their lives.

  7. Jerod says:

    Anonenmush 😉

    What if “thinner skin” is actually just your parents being told by the Holy Spirit to leave for good reason?

    What if thicker skin is really just becoming hard of heart?

    BD made an interesting point, but too narrow. Maturity in social situations is being real without writing people off. I think what we see online is the fruit of what lies under the surface of faux “familial” social interaction of church members. Social interaction is not genuine
    at church, unless you are part of the group-nous.

    Maybe give your parents some credit? They may be being told something in conscience you are not, or maybe you should be listening to them? I dunno, finding a church without a lot of funny stuff is hard these days.

  8. Babylon's Dread says:

    People coming and going from a church community is no big deal at all nor did I intend to suggest it

  9. Reuben says:

    Dread is correct in his first post.

    I watched a church implode, and shut down over a family who tithed quite a bit and demanded as such the there be a youth ministry for their kids, who were half the kids in the church. The family with the other half of the kinds in the church wanted their kids in the adult service. We discussed this as the church elders, and determined that it was not feasible to have a youth ministry in a church so small, and that if it ever grew, we would revisit the demand. They left, and the money left with them. They immediately started talking trash on social media, and most of the congregants left as a result, using outright lies against the elders and priest. The church closed within two months as a result, the priest resigned, and moved to another state to wither away.

    I have seen all sides of pretty much any manner of church departure, and it is always selfish and an outright lie.

    I have said it before, I will say it again, church is exceedingly proficient at destroying it’s own.

  10. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    There was a man sailing and like the castaway, his boat was destroyed in a storm and he was washed up on a deserted atoll. Unfortunately the atoll was marked on mariners maps as deserted. Every hour and day, for months at a time he attempted to be rescued…making fires, lining up boulders in the sand spelling “help…” all to no avail.

    He finally gave up. He made a life for himself. One day seven years later he saw a cargo ship on the horizon and the ship stopped. From it came a skiff and as it crossed the reef and headed towards him he saw a captain and two deck hands

    After it came on the sand he lunged into the captain’s arms crying. After he gathered himself the man asked the captain why he stopped. The captain said they saw three huts and knew there had to be life on the atoll.

    “What’s the first hut for?” He asked. “Well that’s where I live.. it modest, only ten sq. Ft., but it my home.” A second question ensued, “…and the second hut.” “That’s my church. I’m a Christian man you see and even though I lost my bible in the storm, on Sundays and Wednesday nights the Holy Spirit gives me scripture to meditate on and I worship by singing hymns to myself.” The captain questioned, “and the third hut?” “

    “Well. That’s the church I used to go to.”

  11. JD says:

    Sign seen while driving by outside of a small church in the town where I grew up:

    CH CH
    What’s missing? UR

  12. Em says:

    folks post material here from time to time that they find thought provoking or edifying and while i know that there are souls here who love our Lord Jesus Christ who find the Apostle Paul offensive (I hope Michael doesn’t)… this was my morning reading as he addressed the Church in Corinth
    it occurs to me that the principle that Paul is urging is exactly the same as one that Michael has been trying to get across here

    it hit me that the Church today is way deeper in sin that we care to recognize…..

    1Cor. chapter 5:
    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. [seems to me we can broaden the scope and apply the principle]

    And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.

    When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

    you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. [ah… isn’t this “hate the sin with love for the sinner?”]

    Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

    Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

    Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

    not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

    For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

    God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    yes, God judges, but we have the responsibility of discernment and obedience… or so it seems to me

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oops.

    Thanks for the very insightful answers!

  14. Erunner says:

    Something I’m seeing a lot is the new trend of people having sex with robots/AI. It creeps me out but how might a pastor respond to a congregant who admitted to this? I know marriage is between a man and a woman but this seems to be gaining acceptance and traction. I haven’t really heard from the Christian community about this.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    E,
    I need to talk to you about which movies you are watching. Robots. 😉

  16. Captain Kevin says:

    Anyone here familiar with the works of John Dominic Crossan? And do you have an opinion on the veracity of his scholarship?

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin,
    I followed and read Crossan in the early 90s. I would describe him as a “Christian” skeptic who at one time wore clericals – who denies the divinity of and the resurrection (both bodily and spiritually) of Jesus Christ.
    He is a biblical scholar with an Irish accent and is readily called up by the History Channel, The NY Times and Time magazine each Easter and Christmas to debunk the Jesus of the Bible in favor of the Historical Jesus.
    He was a founding member of the Jesus Seminar which would gather every few years to discuss what in the NT Jesus actually did and said and what was fabricated by the NT writers and / or the tradition. In the end they would vote with colored marbles. I think they were red (Jesus did indeed say it / did it), pink (Jesus probably didn’t say it or do it) and black (No way Jose). Mostly the table scene was black marbles with a scattering of pink.
    It is an interesting study of apostate scholars trying to upstage each other. In modern parlance it would be similar to today standing up and saying to the last presentation – “hold my beer.” 🙂

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