I admitted in a recent post to being “off the spiritual reservation” and someone asked if my experience with the church is what drove me away. The answer is no.
I’ve been intimately involved in a handful of churches over the years, usually in a leadership position. The people I worked and worshiped with were wonderful for the most part. The majority were compassionate, caring and kind. My best friendships have grown out of church fellowship.
There is nothing more exciting than being part of a transformative community. I experienced that at a church in Portland. There were frustrations and I ultimately moved on looking for wider vistas but the bonds of love kept us connected at the heart even when our minds couldn’t agree.
Local churches can be stifling and toxic but I haven’t spent much time in such places. They can be insular and smugly content “tithing mint and dill and cummin” behind closed doors while the world rushes by. However, the ones I’ve attended have been engaged with the culture and a blessing to thousands.
It’s easy to make caricatures of committed Christians and lampoon their foibles, but life on planet Earth would be much more rotten and bleak without their salt and light—something the new atheists like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al, are loath to admit. Certainly there are hypocrites and hucksters among the faithful, but considering what God has to work with it’s amazing there aren’t more!
My aberrant thinking is not a reaction to crummy Christians. It’s a result of perceived inconsistencies in the Bible and Christian theology, many of which I’ve addressed in this blog.
Of course it doesn’t help that when it comes to being levelheaded I’m a half-bubble off center.