At the food bank I volunteer at, there is a mixed group of people, some of whom are Christians, some are church people.
Had a really interesting chat today with two volunteers about spiritual progression, the damage caused by right wing, fundamentalist, hard line, shame/big stick led churches. And it was interesting to talk with people who also recognise the damage, abuse, spiritual abuse this causes, and how far from Jesus this is. And know about spiritual progression and how most churches are stage 3 led, and contained within stage 3 progression and why.
I opened up a little about my abusive experience at a Baptist church and my inner conflict about attending church again. The conflict mostly being about feeling my children could be missing out on church, church youth groups etc. And my concerns about churches and church people – which are legitimate concerns (validated by these people I was chatting with) and my awareness of not letting past spiritual abuse, cloud my thoughts about church and whether we ‘should’ attend.
Their thoughts gave me much to think about and I like that and I’m grateful for that. One is a former pastor, who does not attend church in the ‘normal’ sense, because he is part of the community at large – which is also church. And a lady who does attend church, and also had a very interesting and mature attitude towards this subject.
It was a conversation I will think a lot about. It was an important conversation and I can tell that, because I know Jesus was part of it. I felt that.
Don’t know what I will decide….. but I know I will spend considerable time thinking, praying, talking with Jesus about it all.