I was thinking about this blogger I used to follow named Micah Murray who had story after horrible story of experiences he had as he was unknowingly growing up in a “christian cult”. His encounters and situations were just unfathomable and what is crazy is the organization he was involved with my husband was familiar with, in fact, my in laws were very much in favor of that place. I would say I was shocked to discover that but if you knew them like I do, you would understand why I wasn’t.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about him because as I use to read his stories I used to get so frustrated and I eventually became exhausted with his constant rambling and bitching about his experiences and never “wanting” to be freed from them. I was tired of him putting down the church and questioning Gods people and even now, googling him to see what he’s up to and realizing he’s actually making a living off of what I was tired of reading, my heart still grieves that he feels the way he does. The difference today in my frustrations with his bitterness not bitterness is that I am now in a situation where I too am a hot bag of pissed off air regarding Gods people and the church we just left after 10 years, and I kinda get him, and that scares me a little.
I get that it wasn’t a lifetime or anything even remotely close to what Micah went through, but a decade in a small church like ours was could actually feel like one, especially after you walk away from it and realize you can suddenly breathe again. The first Sunday we went to another church with my mom the three of us collectively sighed with complete relief the moment we walked out of those doors. It was so refreshing to know that the Holy Spirit was not confined to the walls of that busted up church we were dying in and it was amazing to feel His presence again.
The details in our experience are pretty common in the churches of north America really. You have an amazing young pastor who inherited a thriving church and had little administrative backing that ended up leaving him burnt out and stepping down leaving behind a broken church with no pastor. In swoops the inexperienced unfriendly “introvert” seminary student who had been chomping at the bit to be the next pastor for years, add in the sin of pride and arrogance within the elders that are collectively destroying that ugly terracotta building and hurting the people they “love” and call family, whats left of them.
There have been more amazing people leave with the change in leadership this time than I ever saw in the last decade. And while we were willing to work through our differences with this man for the sake of our church family, and we tried to sit down a few times to talk through our differences, when he chose to abuse his “authority” and make demands on us the way he did, there was nothing more to work through. He made it very clear it was his way or the highway “In the name of Jesus” and he had his RCA bylaws and elder minions backing up his wicked ways, so we walked. It wasn’t even a hard decision to make either, which made it a thousand times worse. Knowing you have to leave behind the friends you love, the family you have bonded with because of the actions of the one man who is the “pastor” that you will never be able to sit under is so unfair and heart breaking. The worst part is that no one even bothered to find out where the heck we went or what the heck happened and the elders never bothered to mention it to the deacons either, it was just an awful situation all the way around.
So then I catch myself. I catch myself being “a Micah” more now that the dust has settled than ever before because I simply do NOT understand how people that I thought were “family” and were rational people, would be able to excommunicate my family for not taking a knee to the eldership, and it makes me sad, it makes me angry! The body of Christ isn’t suppose to be like this, and while I’m not about to go on a world tour talking shit about them to whoever will listen, and while I will continue to work through my bitterness and be thankful God got us out of that cult like situation, I become more and more empathetic of Micah’s hurt, which is probably why he came to mind so heavily in the last week or so.
I dont understand Micah’s heart, but I do. I dont understand why the church continues to destroy what God created it to protect, but it does. All of this to say, Micah if you stumble upon this, I DO understand now why I found your blog so long ago and I appreciate you for speaking out, I really do. The only thing that makes sense out of ALL of these experiences I believe, is to remind us of how awful we are, how good Jesus is, and how badly we need Him. That should be enough and I am believing I will get there eventually…. but probably not today.