Have you ever run into someone from a former church while in the store and the Awkward-O'-Meter goes through the roof? Yeah, well that just happened to me and of course I was mostly to blame. More on that in a minute.
As much as I'm not proud of this fact - it's true. In the 11 years that my wife and I have lived in Richmond, we've attended 3 churches and have been at our current (3rd) church for 5 years. So go ahead...I know that you are, right this second as you read this, relegating me to an infamous sub-faction of Christianity…the church-hopper. But you'd be wrong. So allow me to defend myself my spiritual brethren and sistren (??) I think I just made up a word.
[Serious aside] Contrary to what you are thinking (at least what I think you're thinking) I am a huge advocate of NOT choosing a church the way you choose a gym or a club or your favorite restaurant. No, I believe that the church is a living thing, a holy thing, and while we should seek God in all our decisions, I believe He cares deeply about where we choose to fellowship. Because church is more than just a place to break bread, it is a place where we become a part of the Body, the Body of Christ. We get it. So believe me when I tell you that we did not take our decision lightly when we decided to leave our first church. Suffice it to say we feel now that we are right where God wants us. OK...now to back to awkward reunions. [End of serious aside]
So, I ran into this former church acquaintance (his name is Mark) and it's been 5 years so I figure the conversation will be easy, cordial banter and then back to shopping for baseball helmets. Until he pops the question. You know the one. THE BIG QUESTION. "So Keith...what happened?" (clearly referring to me tearing out his heart and stomping on it). WHAT HAPPENED?! Really? You want to go there? OK, I was not prepared for this, sort of in the same way you aren't prepared for that huge piece of truck re-tread in the middle of the highway because you're jamming to some David Crowder song...by the time you see it, it's too late. You just brace yourself....and BAM!!...hit it and pray a tire doesn't fall off.
So, figuratively speaking, I had just hit the re-tread. Well, not only did the tire come off...the window cracked, my fan belt broke..it got ugly quick. To my horror, I heard myself begin to utter things like "didn't agree with the theology" and "failed leadership"..."not happy with the Sunday School program". I could not make myself shut up. And to make matters worse (yes, it gets worse) after my monologue of death his response was "Well, I still go there..." Wonderful. Amazing. Fabulous. I am officially the worst ex-church member ever.
The last thing I remember I was staggering away, my confidence in my own humanity a little tarnished…a little humbled. On to the baseball helmets.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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