Church is for extroverts. Church is for those who fit in seamlessly, who flit from conversation to conversation, group to group, clique to clique. Church is for those who belong.
What are you looking for in a church?
I don’t know.
Church is this nebulous idea, something that’s always been there, whether lurking in the background or looming like a spectre. It is felt by its absence, rather than its presence.
It’s supposed to be like family. Something you expect to always be there, something you can count on, rely on. It’s meant to feel like home.
I haven’t felt at home in church for a long time. The past few years in PCC — ever since Ignite at ROLCC, actually — I’ve felt like I’ve merely been visiting. I am unseen, unwanted, easily forgotten, for all that I’m always there, always standing by, always serving. Until I was not.
My absence was not felt. (It’s fine. I don’t expect people to remember me.)
It hurt. (I was the one who left. Why should I feel hurt?)
So stepping into church last weekend — a new church, a foreign church — why did I expect anything different?
You always hope, don’t you, that this time would be different. This time something would change. This time, they would see you.
They don’t. No one does.
I told him once that whilst I was fighting the church, I was still meant to stay. I meant to stay. It felt right. It wasn’t time to leave.
Now, maybe it is. Now’s a good time. I’m away, anyway. When I go home, I just won’t return.
You refused communion. Why would you want to be one with the church that did not want to be one with you?
Community, he stressed. Community and family and reaching out.
Yet you sat in the pews wondering if you should leave before church started, if you could leave before the tears fell, if this was the wrongplacewrongtimewrongwrongwrong.
Lies, all lies.
Then someone handed you the cup and the bread and you knew that He would not let you go.
Do not be bitter. Your place might not be here, but your fight is not with this church.
Afterwards, I almost left. I almost walked out that door without saying a thing to anyone.
Shake the dust off your feet.
But then she came, tentative smile, hesitant questions. And there was lunch and there was chatter. Introductions. Phone numbers. All the shallow things you come to expect, that you hope will turn into something more.
When I left, nothing changed. I do not know if I will return. It does not feel like home; it doesn’t feel like it could be.
Church is for those who belong. Church is for those who fit in seamlessly, who flit from conversation to conversation, group to group, clique to clique. Church is for extroverts.