So yesterday was Easter Sunday. I was raised in church all my life and was even faithful until a year and a half ago. Grandma consistently asks me if I’ve been going to church though and yesterday was no different. If the title of this post doesn’t give you a clue – no I didn’t go to church for Easter.
I haven’t hopped on the bandwagon of people who are too “woke”for church. I’m not even going to use the reasoning that I’m a Millennial and so forward thinking even though it’s true. The fact is that people keep asking me why I stopped going. I used to be a Jesus fanatic (seriously my Facebook memories about this fact are so annoying). I invited people to church often and they actually came. But that’s not the case anymore and here’s why.
GOD GAVE ME POWER
I’m intuitive. I have a measure of discernment. I have critical thinking skills. I have street and book smarts. I’m grateful because these things have saved me from some bad situations. People love to quote that “faith without works is dead. ” (James 2:14-26) I agree. When I got tired of getting laid off, I started my own business. When I got tired of hiding and avoiding my mental and emotional issues, I sought a therapist. When I got tired of my life in the DMV and needed a change I moved away. When I kept attracting men that I didn’t want, I had to look in the mirror and make changes.
I understand why older generations are sticklers about waiting for an answer from a prayer before making a move in life. Times were different back then. A lot of the resources that black people have now weren’t available to us back then. So of course they felt the need to depend on God for every little thing. That’s not the time that we’re living in anymore. When I started taking responsibility for my life and using the gifts that God gave me that’s when I became happy with my life. Church had nothing to do with that.
GOD SPEAKS TO ME DIRECTLY
I dream a lot at night. They’re always in color and very vivid. I often wake up with my heart pounding and sometimes the dreams feel so real that I’m afraid to go back to sleep. This is how God speaks to me. You know when you go to a church service and feel like the preacher is speaking directly to you? I know that feeling well and it’s because I have a personal relationship with God myself. So He’s already spoken to my heart about situations and may use other people as confirmation of those things. But the point I’m making here is that God speaks to me through small things in my everyday life like dreams or a small tug in my spirit that urges me to do a good deed for someone.
CHURCH IS TOO EMOTIONAL
All of them? No. Many that I visited? Yes. I don’t want to hear people shout and scream every single Sunday to the point that I can’t hear the lesson. I don’t need the preacher telling me their personal life stories every Sunday when it doesn’t apply to what’s being taught. I don’t want to cry in church Sunday after Sunday because I was touched emotionally but didn’t learn anything practical that I can use in my life throughout the week. I can get together with my girls to talk about my problems and cry. I don’t want to get dressed and gather in a building for that. I know that church can be a touching place, but every.single.sunday? Nah. I want to learn.
PEOPLE HIDE THEIR STRUGGLE
Transparency. I adore that. It’s a Millennial thing (yeah, I said I wouldn’t mention that but it’s applicable). People are so accustomed to wearing a mask and pretending that nothing’s wrong when they’re dying on the inside. Oh but they’re on fleek each Sunday! Outfit, hair and shoes are all on point. But they close the curtains and cry when they get home. They have no friends because they don’t know how to foster healthy relationships. They have low self esteem. They’re stressed out because they don’t know how to manage their finances properly.
Getting control of these things will improve your spiritual life no matter what your religion is. Which is why I believe they should be addressed in church. We are human first and always will be. People want to know that they won’t be looked down on because they struggle in a specific area. We want help! And once we overcome, we’ll pass on our lesson to help someone else. Each one teach one. Wouldn’t church be a great place to do this?
FOCUS IS TOO BROAD
Can anyone tell me why churches want to change the world? There are more than enough churches to touch different places on this here Earth. Why don’t more churches focus on their surrounding communities? When I think of religious and secular history I can’t think of one person that influenced the whole world. Why should the church be any different? I often felt like the people in my church would do anything that seemed good on paper but they didn’t really nurture relationships with the people and neighborhoods right under their noses.
Smoking weed is bad but there’s nothing wrong with having a drink. Cursing is forbidden. Don’t forget a slip with that dress and pantyhose with that skirt. These are all subjective and man made old school traditions. I used to think that people were ” bad” because they said curse words and listened to rap music. I was conditioned into this thinking as a child. But as I got older I started marching to the beat of my own drum and stopped giving a damn about what people thought of me. Now if I call you don’t put me on speaker phone because a few four letter words just might fly.
LACK OF VISION
This is one of the many things that I believe is keeping churches from growing. Even if you narrow your focus and want to get more involved with locals, how will you do it? When you lack the vision, people aren’t serious about what role they need to play. I’m a person of action. If I tell you I’m going to do something I will. And I value my time so I won’t ever waste anyone else’s unless it’s a reason that I can’t control. When I did attend church, people wanted me on their committees because of these reasons. But guess what happened. I showed up, gave my input and more often than not the other people wouldn’t follow through with their duties. I didn’t feel valued. So I chucked the deuces.
MY HEART WASN’T IN IT
Going to church wasn’t an option when I was living in my mother’s house. You pretty much went every week. We didn’t come home and talk about what we learned. We didn’t pray together. We didn’t read the BIBLE. So I didn’t to go to church anymore because it was a significant part of my life. I went purely out of habit and because I knew my mother would have something to say if I didn’t, as long as I was living with her. I also went of of allegiance to my pastor who was related to me. Isn’t that just terrible? I didn’t want to do that anymore so I moved out. For the record, my dad isn’t into church at all.
I won’t say that I’m never going back to church again. I’ve attended services a handful of times since I moved away from home but still haven’t found a place that feels like a fit for me and I haven’t made it a priority to find one that does. I’ve been in church my whole life and it’s been enlightening to focus on Candace the person, not just Candace the Christian.
How do you feel about church?
Until next time…