When I was much younger, it used to matter what others thought of me. It was important for me to “fit in.” Now that I’m more mature and in my fabulous 50’s, it no longer matters what others think or say about me.
Most people have no idea what I’ve endured. They don't know me. They most certainly don't know my heart or my soul. When it comes right down to it, they are not the one who survived hell on earth.
In reality, unless someone almost lost their life, fought for their health, climbed out of the dark pit, and reached the other side to regain wellness, their opinions are not welcomed. What they think has no influence over me.
In this sacred season, I have no desire to fit in, to conform to rigid religions, nor a desire to attend church. I am unapologetically UNchurched. I have no regrets.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, unchurched, Merriam-Webster defines it as, "Not belonging to or connected to a church." In simple terms, it's someone who no longer goes to a church, synagogue, or mosque.
Last year, I left organized religion. Of course, I have my legitimate reasons. I may save that for another post since there's dozens of points to cover.
I have a hunch that those inside the church will not understand my perspective. For those who are no longer involved in organized religion, I have no doubt that they will "get it."
Let's get something straight. I may have left church, but I did not abandon Christ. With or without organized religion, my strong faith remains intact.
One primary reason most “unchurched” folks avoid talking about why they left church or the legitimate reasons for not returning to organized religion is because some people who do attend church criticize them, judge them, and use scriptures to shame them.
I am not ashamed of leaving church. I am not any less of a Christian because I don’t attend religious meetings, prayer groups, Bible studies, or organized religion.
God knows my heart. He intimately knows my soul. He knows everything about me. And He still pursues me. He powerfully reveals Himself to me. Most importantly, He accepts me and welcomes me with open arms.
The Lord understands my "why" for being unchurched. He continues to shower me with His unconditional love. He meets me wherever I go. We have a close relationship in which I cling onto Him because I trust Him. He’s always faithful!
Today, please understand that Christ can be found outside of a building. He will draw near to us when we draw near to Him no matter where we are. (James 4:8)
Just because someone does not attend church doesn’t mean they will not go to heaven. Just because someone goes to church doesn’t mean they will automatically go to heaven.
We mustn’t assume anything. We don’t know the true state of a person’s heart or soul. Only God knows.
For those who feel the need to faith-shame me for being “unchurched,” please refrain from doing so. Understand that you will be judged for judging others. Don’t take my word for it. Open up your Bible to read the verse for yourself. (John 8:7)
For three years, I've been researching and reading about the "unchurched" movement. I've been concerned that many people, young and old, have been wounded or cast out of church. Countless friends on Facebook have openly shared their negative experiences with me. It's enlightening and helpful to understand a wide range of opinions, thoughts, and real life stories.
Have you been ridiculed, attacked, or mistreated by organized religion? Who are they to judge you, condemn you, or tell you how to live? Unless they are free from sin, they ought to not find fault in anyone.
This reminds me of the woman at the well in the Bible in which the pharisees were shaming her, criticizing her, and mistreating her. I love how Jesus called out those pharisees. He told them that they could only throw a stone at the woman if they had never sinned. Of course, the pharisees walked away because they knew their own lives were not spotless or free from sin. (John 8:7)
The good news is that we are not alone. Droves and droves of people, young and old, are leaving organized religion for one reason or another. For some folks, it's temporary. For others, it's a season in life or permanent.
What's interesting is when I read about the churches view on this important topic, oftentimes they miss the mark. Unfortunately, some churches refuse to take accountability for their own negative beliefs, behaviors, and hypocrisy.
This is the legalism that Jesus warned about in the Bible. He hates man-made rules and how some folks twist the truth. He said to stay away from this type of nonsense.
As a side note, it’s people like that who harshly judge others who give Jesus a bad name. They are a turn off. Their mean-spirited words are offensive. Their holier then thou attitude repels most unchurched folks to reconsider attending church.
Instead of slamming unchurched people with biased opinions, hypocrisy, or shame, shouldn't we be more like Jesus? After all, that's the second commandment in the Bible.
Perhaps, we can look into the mirror to see our own failings? Then we can kindly offer compassion. We can extend grace. Be encouraging. To love as Jesus called us to agape love for one another.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (NIV)