Here’s the question – “Why is it that when people are hurt, disappointed, angered, and/or disillusioned at a church they so often either resolve to never go to church again or renounce their Christian faith altogether?” Please note – there is an “or” in the previous sentence because I do realize those are two different things.
Now the background to the question – I know, and love, several people who have suffered injury in a church context. I also hear/read countless instances of folks I don’t know talking about leaving the church. The #1 most often stated reason I hear is, “I realized that the church was full of hypocrites,” or some variation of that theme.
We are in the midst of Holy Week - the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. As Jim and I were preparing the bulletins for this evening’s Good Friday service and Sunday’s Easter service, I remembered that when I was young - many years ago - I did not like Holy Week at all. I loved Easter. That was always a joyous day. I always got new clothes. It was one of the two times during the year (Christmas being the other) when my mother took me to the “hairdresser” to get my hair professionally pressed and styled in shoulder-length Shirley Temple curls. Church on Easter Sunday was always a “high time,” they used to say. Those who were inclined to shouting came in ready to dance and praise God for the victory Jesus won over sin and death on that great gettin’ up mornin’. Then, after church, the Easter egg hunt and the baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and marshmallow chicks. Yep. Easter was definitely a good day.
But, Lord have mercy, what we had to go through to get to it!