In entirely unsurprising news to any of my readers, I’m taking a break from our local church. To be clear, I have no hard feelings against anyone specifically (and in fact I have a good deal of love and admiration for many), but I can only scream into the void for so long before it becomes a bit of a “shake the dust off” situation.
I’ve written incessantly about this stuff for many years now, but to put a TL;DR bow on it, the primary reason for my hiatus generally comes down to the fact that the church just isn’t willing to have a serious, top-down reckoning with misinformation, media bubbles and the decades-long fusion of Christianity with the Republican party.
I suspect this is due to concern that exploring these topics would cause many members to leave the fellowship. It’s true, this would absolutely happen. Continuing to avoid these hard truths, however, will cause marginalized and/or dissenting voices in the congregation to throw up their hands and walk away. 👋
We treat these concerned “whistleblowers” as the outliers, and paint us as having been individually choked out by the “weeds” of societal concerns and cultural forces (something to be remedied by just “getting back to basics” and focusing on Jesus), when in reality the church itself has become obscured by a thicket so dense that it’s now almost unrecognizable.
When the church trips over itself to address natural disasters and accidents, but avoids even a mention of Jacob Blake (having already “finished” our racism series), another weed grows.
When (mostly male) members continue to prioritize concerns about their own personal sexual temptations above active participation in online dialogue and the combatting of misinformation, another weed grows.
When the church doesn’t address the damaging effects of QAnon (sadly, not even joking) and related wild conspiracy theories, another weed grows.
When we fret more about worship-appropriate female outfits than revisiting and expanding the role of women in leadership, another weed grows.
Though the next several months will get increasingly terrifying on almost every front, I sincerely hope that the church emerges from the chaos with gardening tools in hand, ready with open eyes and soft hearts to start clearing the soil. I’ll gladly join in.
📬 Subscribe here to get these posts emailed to you, along with links, tweets and videos about technology, politics, ’80s/’90s nostalgia and American evangelical heartbreak.