As I read your statements about leaving Christianity, I see people who have been hurt by the church as you have. I have been in ministry for almost 20 years and have been hurt by the church every year of that. I recognize that it’s the fallible, sinful people who cause the pain though, not the institution. The institution is as imperfect as the people who form it, but that doesn’t make the institution broken or invaluable.
God calls us to fellowship and tells us he brings blessings through it. It’s not about a mega church or small church model. It’s about a regular gathering to fellowship, pray together, worship and hear God’s voice. Now, you can do parts off this alone. I do it all the time. And the bible supports this. But it also calls us to fellowship because the church has many parts like a body, and the leg cannot function without a foot, and the hand cannot function without fingers. We don’t always know where our place is within that body, but we do know that we belong. Even though we may not always feel like it. If all the people who had issues with the church believed this and stayed to work from the inside to change it, the world of Christianity would be a different place.
The way to change it though is not to make it more like the world, but make it more like Christ. Christ suffered more than any of us can even conceive or will ever experience, but he never gave up on the sinful creatures He was sent to save nor the broken church which was to become His bride.
Arguing that none of the denominations are in the Bible is pointless. Denominations are man’s doing, not God’s. And I believe they grieve the heart of God because we have so separated ourselves from each other that we fail to recognize we really have a lot more in common than different. Instead, we start looking at each other like the enemy. And that divides us further and creates pain and anger which distract us from our focus on Christlike living and Christlike compassion to our world.
Compassion is the heart of Christ and yet the church today often fails to show any evidence of it. We’re hardly compassionate to our own families, let alone needy strangers. That grieves God as well. Humans have to categorize everything because our hearts are competitive. It really comes out of deep seated insecurity which makes us want to feel we are okay by putting others down. But in the process, we fail to follow the humility of a Savior King who became a servant.
The church is not perfect. It’s broken. But the fact that you see that makes you invaluable to healing her. The people who are blind to the issues will never make a difference Those who see it and have powerful voices, like Anne Rice, are in a position to push for much needed change. And I urge you to consider the ministry possibilities that offers for you to serve both Christ and the church. Even though you will have to be humble to ignore your discomfort, and even though you will have to love on people who don’t love back or don’t often deserve it.
The church needs you, and you need the church. Only together can we all grow together to be more like the Master.
I hope you will continue to seek His will and wisdom in this, and I hope you will consider how your service to your fellow believers can serve Christ. We need loud voices of change, and though they may seem to fall on deaf ears, they will never go unheard.