About two years ago, we stopped going to church. We used Tess as an excuse, because she was sick, she couldn’t be around large crowds. We said we didn’t want all the germs. That wasn’t the reason though. The church we had been attending was superficially supportive of our family, but wouldn’t let us become members until we took hours upon hours of classes that both Joe and I had to attend. Both of us, even though we had ten children at the time. There was to be no flexibility, or understanding. If we wanted to be welcomed to this house of God, we’d best show up for their coursework.
We couldn’t make it work, so we resigned ourselves that we would simply remain guests in a place that would never call us one of their own. We rationalized that by saying that everyone was pretty welcoming to us, so it didn’t really matter. If we were accepted on Sunday mornings, did we really need to have membership? What would that gain us that we didn’t already have.
It may have given us a place to voice our concerns about what came next. A statement was put out from the church about gay marriage. They would never welcome such an unholy union in their walls. They took a firm stance. Now we wondered, were we actually welcome? We have ten children, what if one of them comes out? What if one identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community? What will we have taught them all this time?
So, we left. No one called to ask why. No one reached out. We got a letter in the mail asking for money though. They didn’t miss our presence, but they missed our offering. Unbelievable, and yet, so believable. This isn’t what we wanted to teach our children, that church values profit over people. We definitely didn’t want them to hear and absorb that God views some people as unholy just because of who they love.
So, we church at home now. The Sunday messages take place in our pjs. The message is carefully curated based on what we believe God is really telling us to do unto others. We’re not going to weaponize the Bible against marginalized groups. We are going to be the hands of feet. We are going to raise our kids to fight for justice the way He wants.