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Whenever I felt that our obedience to or admiration of a leader was too great, this explanation was always used… that we were serving God, not the person in authority who was benefiting from it. Most people seem to buy it. Some don’t.

I want to tell you guys a story about what happened to me this weekend. It’s a little bit related to this cartoon, but different as well:

I was invited by a man to join a group on Facebook. The group was for Christians who had left the church. So I joined. I immediately posted a comment that I had tweeted that day:

We live in a rape culture. And I claim the church is an “abuse culture” where abuse is normalized & the abused made responsible.

I immediately got attacked by people claiming that I should never use rape in the same context as church, that I brushed with too broad a stroke, that I should never ever criticize the church, and that I should be more careful with my language about the Bride of Christ. I was, frankly, shocked. Actually, I was really perplexed. I responded to a few comments but things just spiralled into craziness. So I immediately quit the group.

The next day I got a couple of messages from the directors of the group apologizing for what happened. They same they came to my defense, but realized it was too late. I was already gone. They asked why I left. This is what I told them:

I quit the group because I get enough flack on my own site. I was surprised that for a group that was flaunting itself as progressive and in the business of critiquing the church for its betterment to be so strong in its opinions about what I posted. I just decided I didn’t need to add more critics to my arsenal. I didn’t feel welcomed at all. So I quit. I have found that those who leave the church can just be as nasty as those within and they don’t even realize it. Religiosity doesn’t just reign within church walls. That should be obvious to me by now, but I’m always perplexed when I meet the religious spirit in those who claim they are free from it.

What I appreciate so much about this group on this site, my friends, is that you all seem humble and don’t assert that you have the answers. You are seekers. You listen. You care. You respect other people’s journeys. You at once critique the church but aren’t nasty about it. But neither are you nasty to people who are really critical of the church because they’ve been so hurt by it and may express themselves with bitter and angry words. On this site, we know that we are all on a journey, that none of us have arrived, and that we are all progressing to a better place. I love you all for that.

Thanks for listening!

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