Saturday, February 4, 2017

Reply to Louis.... @louiskinsey

In reply to this tweet.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my personal reasons for not going to church are quite complex. I was brought up in the Church of Scotland but joined a Baptist church when I was a Divinity undergraduate at Edinburgh. I was a very active lay preacher and heavily involved in church life, but have not been for some years.

Here are the main reasons:

1. I have suffered from mental health issues in the past and these had been partly driven by what I was hearing in church. There is nothing better at lowering your self esteem than a good dose of "total depravity".

2. I don't get very much out of sitting in rows in a room. Might sound harsh, but I can do that on a bus. It doesn't have any biblical basis either.

3. I don't feel able to contribute. Its a combination of feeling that as a relatively young (49 - still the young end of most churches)  and able person I might get landed with doing things that I don't have the mental capacity to do. Even if I told the church leaders and they understood, others would think I was being lazy or aloof.

4. I may have had just enough church at work to immunise me. I do visit churches, of all denominations, in my work. What I see is universally depressing. At 49 I am, more often than not, the youngest there, and one of the few men. This is the same in small baptist, large Church of Scotland, or the average Catholic Parish.

5. In addition to #1 I was diagnosed with a neurological condition which explains why I have get stressed in social situations and don't really get relationships - including the idea of a relationship with God /worship.

6. I am divorced and remarried. Not a situation that is easily tolerated in Baptist circles. My current wife is a Roman Catholic and not comfortable with Protestant worship.

7. When my kids were still kids and I was a divorced Dad I only got to see them on Sundays which made church attendance difficult. I was picking them up at noon, so you can see the problem.

I told you it was complicated! Too complicated for 140 characters.

I am most comfortable in liturgical churches where there are no surprises, and least comfortable in charismatic churches. But my theology is more towards the happy clappy end of things. That is another problem. I never really feel like I fit in.

I see the "everyone welcome" sign outside most churches and wonder if they really, really mean that. Can they really accept people as they are? I don't know the answer to that.





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