Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There Goes the Neighborhood

Photo: gari.baldi, Flickr Creative Commons

I got a letter from one of the deacons of my childhood church yesterday. Actually, they mailed it to my mom's house and she delivered it to me right before I went out before my last bike training day before Saturday's triathlon.

My old church is dumping me. I'm not really surprised. It's been a long time coming. When I moved back to my hometown five years ago, I think they thought I was going to step back into my old routine of coming to church on a regular basis, and I didn't. After three or four years of me living six miles from the church and never stepping through the front door, the main deacons came to visit me at my home. I didn't really want the visit. I didn't see the point. I knew what they were probably coming for and I knew that I wasn't going to change my mind about wasting my Sunday mornings in a church. Unfortunately, I have trouble saying no, so they came and spent about an hour in my house talking. Mostly, it was small talk and the conversation about coming back to church was short. They asked why, I said I didn't feel the need to and then they asked if it was the fault of the then pastor. A couple of months later they dumped that pastor.

I had nothing to do with the dismissal of the pastor. I said he was in no way my reason for not going. In fact, I'd always liked him. He gave sermons that seemed more like college lectures in Biblical studies instead of the gibberish and platitudes you hear in most sermons. I actually liked that guy and I had said so. After he was dismissed, I honestly thought that maybe these guys were looking to use me as an excuse to get rid of the preacher. Apparently, they didn't really like the man and I think part of it may have been because his sermons went over the head of the average person where I live. This area isn't exactly a bastion of college graduates, after all.

A few months ago, they came by again, this time with the new pastor. It was basically the same conversation. A lot of small talk, a short, very pointless discussion about me coming back to the church. They weren't pushy and I politely gave them nothing that they wanted.

Then yesterday the letter arrived notifying me that on June 5th they were going to discuss removing me from the rolls of church membership and I'd probably lose my membership. Personally, I'm okay with that, although it does feel a little weird that I'll no longer be a member of the church I joined when I was 12. Still, that's silly because I've not made use of my membership or even the church's existence in more than a decade. I have no desire to start going back to the church, to any church.

What I do feel a little guilt about is my mom. She's still holding out for my returning to the church. She's not pushed me on it in the past, but she's still active in there and I know she's probably disappointed that I've drifted away. She doesn't know my full opinion on this issue, but I'm sure if she's at church for their next conference, the topic of discussion is going to sting a little. I really don't like being the cause of that.


Courtney said...

Wow. I've never heard of a church actively seeking out lapsed members to find out why they're not coming, but I guess I've never attended a small-town church, either.

I also have undiscussed issues with my parents about going to church. My family has never been super-involved with going to church, but they like to pretend they're devout Christians and they want me to pretend the same. I'm not willing to do that. They mostly leave it alone, but the subject comes up sometimes and it's always awkward.

Julie said...

The world would be a better place without guilt.

Mickey said...

Weird. It never occurred to me that a church would bother to remove members from its rolls. I guess I assumed I was still technically a member of the church I was confirmed in but, like you, haven't visited in over a decade. Maybe not. Then again, they'd have a much harder time finding me.


Rassles said...

They just want to make sure you don't accidentally get raptured when you don't deserve it. Heathen.