Unfortunately I came across a blog this week through a few social media shares about a sistah who left the Church and the 20 lessons she learned from it. I say unfortunate because those who shared it had already made up their minds about this young woman with their status while sharing the post.
Some people want to sit and chat with her; others took every word she wrote as truth. I was curious to see if the post had some weight to it, and it’s interesting to say the least; I had a nearly 30 minute conversation with my friend about it. So what I’ll do is share some of the lessons that she posted that stood out most to me and respond to them. I hope I don’t come off as trying to explain for the writer because she often feels misunderstood, but without further ado, let’s get into it:
7) “Accountability is often (but not always) used as an excuse for control and spiritual manipulation.” I understand this one, I do. But I’d add that some people avoid church altogether because they don’t want to be accountable to anyone. So what’s a saint to do? Pray for God to send you accountability, observe them and make righteous decisions about who is pouring into you, otherwise you can get tainted as mentioned in Proverbs 25:26.
8) “These pastors ain’t loyal.” You right! Many church leaders and pastors are not loyal for many reasons. Where can one find a man who is faithful (Proverbs 20:6)? Jesus’ disciples weren’t that loyal either; they couldn’t even pray one hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, fam. And that’s why we need Jesus and thankfully by grace we have Him. We can’t put too much trust in man, no matter his or her title. They are human beings going through some heavy stuff just like you and me.
10) “Women are fully capable of leading churches, nations, and their families.” Upon first reading this I’m thinking “she must be a feminist.” And I particularly don’t subscribe to the feminist movement, but I do believe that women are more capable and “allowed” to do many things that the Church has misunderstood with twisted perspectives on scripture. Turns out she wrote about this a couple of years ago on the same blog.
11) “Sexuality and spirituality aren’t mutually exclusive.” Amen! Don’t get it twisted: God invented sex, not Trey Songz. It’s His divinely assigned context (marriage) that we, the creation, have abused and gone outside of. Sex is a spiritual thing, whether you believe that or not. People are literally walking the earth, in and out of church with spirits and ties to people they don’t even talk to any more. This is a call for the Church to be less religious and more proactive about the realities of sexuality and what it means for every type of member in the Body of Christ. We need the realness, not the religion.
12) “God’s blessings were never dependent upon my willingness or ability to tithe.” This kind of goes back to the accountability aspect of attending church. My prayer is that you continue to tithe. There’s a blessing in giving back to God. Are you giving to anything or at all? It’s not a religious thing, there are blessings tied to our obedience and our giving. God loves a cheerful giver, and obedience is better than sacrifice. Your heart to give is more important than your “routine.”
18) “The people who condemn a particular sin the most are typically the ones struggling with it.” That’s most likely accurate in my observations, but how ‘bout this: Let’s pray for their deliverance. Sometimes our struggle can very well be turned into our ministry. There’s HOPE.
19) “Heather Lindsey lied. About all of it.” Girl, you need receipts for that one; Heather is an anointed HUMAN being. Not sure what she meant by this statement, other than Heather’s social media posts about her life make it seem like everything is perfect, but again, Heather’s not perfect. I’ve been personally blessed by many of her writings, so again I’d need clarification on what the writer is referring to.
Anyone who has the time to take the effort to dig beyond this one article can see this is a woman who is intelligent, enterprising, and cares about Black people and women’s rights. We need more people to care, we need more people to think and go beyond what they’re told, and perhaps challenge authority a little bit in the right spirit anyway. That’s what Jesus did when the Pharisees tried to call Him out for the works that He did on the Sabbath, you know—healing the sick and such. You will have moments when you question your faith too. Those are the moments when you don’t up and walk away; you need to bring that to God. When it comes to leaving the Church, we really have to be careful of that.
“Does that mean I’m not a Christian or that I don’t believe in the Bible? No. It simply means that I’m working it out.” -Makiah
I believe that if you’re enlightened enough to see a problem, you have it within you to help bring about a solution. Leaving doesn’t solve those issues in the Church. Apostle Paul had faced several types of churches that were all kinds of ratchet, but he rebuked them in love, corrected them and taught them as God led so that their congregations and cultures wouldn’t fall off by the wayside. The point is that you can’t just give up going to church altogether because of people or because of leadership in general. If there is a church for Beyonce’ fans, there’s a church somewhere out here for you too.
We can’t forsake the assembling of the saints because we are not islands. We need each other to get through this life journey, spiritually and naturally. I understand that scandal, mistrust and church hurt are very real, but you need time to heal and get back into a church home where you can serve others in. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. You can serve those in need who are in and outside of the four walls.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT
At the end of all of this, taking the time to learn about the writer through her previous works has helped me to not judge her. We all need prayer, but people do what they do and say what they say for a number of reasons. We can’t just dismiss them, we need to be the family that we in the Body of Christ are called to be and be that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on, that extended hand for an invitation to…just talk.
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 NLT
As someone who has family who don’t attend church at all, I’ve grown to love attending church services and fellowshipping with like minded people who love God. I also believe that our impact outside the four walls should be greater than what we do inside. Our relationship with God should not be riding on the coattails of our church leadership or attendance.
Let’s continue pray for our brothers and sisters, hold them accountable, listen to them, and be there for them because discipleship and family through Christ go beyond services and buildings.
PS. Makiah, my official unofficial Green cousin, whenever you visit Chicago you’re more than welcome to visit my church, Chosen Generation, where we value people as family and are committed social justice in the community.