I receive emails everyday at nakedpastor from people who have left the church. They share with me their struggle to learn how to live without it. Here’s a slice from one such letter:
We were told to leave a church because we had become tools of Satan in the fellowship. So we were handed over to Satan to do his will for punishment. All because of a difference of opinion regarding actions we believed were unloving.
Anyway, person after person has encouraged me to find another church with comments about how much I need it, and how in danger I will be without it. My gut is that I will be trading one concentration camp for another, and I even picture barbed wire in my mind. All promise they will be safe places for me.
I am one of the voices who tells myself that I will be in danger without a local fellowship. It’s exactly as you said — I don’t even believe that I can safely walk in freedom.
When we say we are welcoming, do we examine what that means? What do we mean? What do people think we mean?