Did I Divorce the Church?

by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground

Laura Parker is one of my favorite bloggers. Fact: her blog is one of the best Christian blogs around. Laura paints and tells stories in such convincing tones.

Her post today “Bride and Divoce” grasped my attention. Here’s an excerpt.

If the Church is really the Bride, I’ll admit I’ve wanted a divorce for a few years now. 

She isn’t who I thought she was 20 years ago when I said, “I do.”  She hasn’t been kind, either –to the people outside of her club, to those who question or doubt, to me.

And, so, I’ve essentially lived in an off-again-on-again state of separation from this dysfunctional being that is the American Church for a solid two years now. She tells me I don’t look or act or think or believe rightly. She sells me a promise of community, and then sits me in a pew facing forward. She takes my money, but hides the Jesus I adore. And every time I muster the hope to try again, she disappoints. So like a scorned spouse, I’ve walked away from her power, her manipulation, her legalism. Her abuse.

Laura has articulated exactly why I left the church. Chuch for me is like going to bed with an abusive husband who runs off with my money at the same time.

I’m not anti-church. I want to love the church again. I hope some day that I can. I hope some day I can experience it uplift me, and the worship can touch our spirits again. I know that’s possible because I have seen that kind of church in the remote places of Asia – the kind of church where I could bring the kids and let them run free in God’s earthly vessel.

But this American church thing and me, we are done.

But maybe, like Laura, I have not signed the divorce papers yet. Somewhere, maybe if they have not kicked me off, my name is still on some church roll. We do not have a relationship anymore, but I just can’t bring myself to sign the divorce papers either.

What do you think? Did you divorce the church or stay?

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Read everything by Lana Hope!

Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy.  She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

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