Saturday, July 30, 2011

::leavin'...without a jetplane

There is drama in every life.
It's unavoidable.
As a human living among other humans, it's an occupational hazard.

Amidst all the sub-genres of drama, I've decided that Church Drama is particularly stressful.

I left a church once.
It was painful; and although it was seven years ago, the byproducts of the transition are still sometimes painful.
Basically what happened was, my brother was fired (some would say "in a roundabout way") from his job as youth pastor.
I stuck around and continued to volunteer with the youth group, alongside my brother's replacement.
After a year, I was burned out and had found a community where I felt much safer, and where I was confident that I could grow and thrive.
If you'll pardon the saccharine analogy, I was a tree that had overgrown its yard.
It was (beyond) time to move forward.

Conflict/drama in my current church has tempted many to leave.
I cannot blame them, and I can never claim to be in a position to stand in judgment of anyone.

But I cannot help but wrestle with the question,

What are the "right" reasons to leave a church?

I can see the point about how, if we leave every time something happens that we don't like, then we're treating the Church like consumers, and the fellowship to which we belong may as well be something as crass as Wal*Mart. (Or, as Zach and I now call it, "Walmy's.")

I can also see the point that if the members and/or leadership of a church have behaved in a way that we find morally reprehensible - to the point where the simple act of entering the building makes us physically and psychologically sick - then leaving seems like the only option available.

I remember, all those years ago at my former church, pulling my car into the driveway while listening to Caedmon's Call's Love Alone, shedding tears, surrounded by the mysterious empathy I found in that fusion of word and melody.

And the hands I've seen raised to the sky
Not waving but drowning all this time
I’ll try to build the ark that they need
To float to You upon the crystal sea

Give me Your hand to hold
‘Cause I can’t stand to love alone
And love alone is not enough to hold us up
We’ve got to touch Your robe
So swing Your robe down low...

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