15 Reasons I Returned to The Church

'44. the elements and candles' photo (c) 2009, Cathy Stanley-Erickson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

So yesterday’s post, 15 Reasons I Left Church, generated a massive response, which I was not expecting. (Must have struck a nerve.) Thank you so much for your comments. They were honest, encouraging, challenging, and true. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I left church when I was 27, and for a couple of years, I really struggled with my faith. But as many of you pointed out, sometimes leaving church is the best way to find the Church, and that’s exactly what has happened as I’ve encountered the goodness and grace of God’s people at the Catholic church down the street, at the local church that rallied to bring food to my mom during her cancer treatments, through our quirky, grace-filled (but sadly now defunct) church plant, among friends and neighbors and fellow searchers, and, of course, with you. 

Dan and I are still in search of a faith community that feels like home, but at the risk of sounding cliché, “not all who wander are lost.” So in that spirit, here are 15 reasons I’ve returned to the Church—with a capital-C: 

1. Jesus 

2. The Book of Common Prayer

3. The fact that when somebody gets sick or dies or has a baby or loses their job, it’s the church ladies who are the first to show up at the front door with a casserole and a hug

4. Anne Lamott 

5. Communion 

6. Connecting with other searchers who may not be part of a church, but are part of The Church (this includes many of you!)

7. The first sermon I ever heard from a woman  

8. Sucking up my pride and embracing the fact that, like it or not, I need community...and real community isn’t about surrounding myself with people just like me

9. Liturgy that reads like poetry

10. Madeleine L’Engle

11. My parents, who, though we don’t always agree on all the political or theological details, have modeled Christian compassion and grace better than anyone I know and who have supported me through every “evolution” of faith

12. The Biologos Foundation, and especially Karl Giberson, who was the first to reach out to me and tell me that I didn’t have to choose between my intellectual integrity and my faith

13. The Mission (our church plant), which even though it failed on paper, changed my life and gave me hope for the future of the Church

14. Friends with whom we gather each week for movies, food, conversations about God, and the occasional (slightly awkward) church visit 

15. Grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace 

So what keeps you a part of the Church, even when it's hard?

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