Rachel Held Evans started this. Slacktivist made it known to me. The commenters inspired me to join them.

No two members of my family churched the same. Dad didn’t at all, despite those missionaries teaching him to speak English. Mom left Catholicism for various other things over the last thirty years. My sister spent her formative years dragging Mom to the local evangelical church, where the projector screen in the sanctuary was bigger than the parking lot outside. I was the only one raised as a purely mainline Protestant.

In some kinds of testimonies, you’re supposed to get to the part where you invited Jesus into your heart, and then you cry until your makeup runs, and then everybody prays over you. This ain’t one of those testimonies. This is mine. This is why I left.

  1. I left because my confirmation was a tribal signifier.
  2. I left because my congregation was old, and I was young, and nobody bridged that gap.
  3. I left because one of the few hymns I could mean was "Though I May Speak." I meant every word.
  4. I left because the Spirit did not come, my heart to control, by the third verse.
  5. I left because I hate vain words.
  6. I left because I realized I had Calvinist baggage, and no idea where it came from. (Oddly enough, it wasn't the church. I'm still not sure where it came from.)
  7. I left because I realized that nothing I'd been taught at years of Sunday schools made me much different from somebody who'd just read Emily Post.
  8. I left because I realized I had no idea how to pray, or to even mean to.
  9. I left because I realized I had no idea how to read the Bible. To prooftext, maybe, but not to read.
  10.  left because I learned, from a few Catholics and a few Mennonites, that Christianity was a praxis I had no idea how to engage.
  11. I left because I learned about Christianity's role in the discourse of sexuality at an amazingly young age.
  12. I left because I learned that in some places the church isn't a Sunday social activity like it was for me; it's a very real and powerful institutional evil.
  13. I left because I learned that my church was a liberal church. Not in the sense of "wishy-washy," or "not authoritarian enough." In the sense that both the community and the institution were products of a capitalism that even then was dissolving around us, even then was unsustainable, and even then I knew I had no stake in perpetuating.
  14. I left because all those things I learned? Those were the issues facing my faith, and I learned those issues couldn't be addressed. I couldn't ask. They couldn't answer.
  15. I left because I learned the horror of belonging to a tribe you will never belong to.
There will be more thoughts on this later. But this is where it starts.


Michael Mock said...

I don't think I have anything to add to this, but it was definitely worth reading. So thanks for posting it, and thanks for putting the link in the comments over at Slacktivist.

Edo said...

Whoa, somebody commented! You're very welcome.

(Somebody commented?! That wasn't supposed to happen... *g*)