Shhhh! You can't say that in church!

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Today Anne Jackson re-opened a fascinating conversation that she started on her blog a year ago when she asked, “What’s one thing you feel you can’t say in church?” The wave of responses that followed (nearly 400 comments) reveals just how much angst and repression there really is in the Christian community.

Although you really should visit the site and read them all, here are some that struck me as particularly interesting:

  • "I’d rather look like a good Christian than put in the time and effort to actually be one."
  • "When I say “I’ll pray for you.” I don’t usually mean it. I have been a Christian for 27 years and I still don’t understand the point of praying."
  • "I’m a pacifist."
  • "Sometimes I wonder if this whole Christianity thing is a lie."
  • "I don’t like Beth Moore Studies."
  • "I like a lot of those Emergent guys and gals and I’m Southern Baptist. There I said it! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest!"
  • "If you are going to give a sermon on abortion, please have some compassion on the women that have had one. We deal with so much shame on our own, we don’t need you to put more on us. Saying abortion is like the modern day Holocaust makes me feel as if you are likening me to Hitler."
  • "You’re so nice you’re utterly boring people."
  • "Just because I am female does not automatically mean I am good with small children."
  • "My Christian husband and I almost never speak of spiritual things…we have almost no spiritual connection at all."
  • "I do not think Calvinism is a prerequisite for Christianity. I am an Armenian. Deal with it."
  • "I am opposed to abortion in almost every instance. I still want it to be legal. I don’t want women who don’t share my point of view to not have access to a medically safe procedure."
  • "I get frustrated reading the Bible."
  • "I am depressed. Really, really depressed. I’m a Christian. A 100% born again Christian. Why do so many people think that the two can’t go hand in hand?"
  • "Some people might be born gay."
  • "When I’m at church I don’t want to talk about work - in other words, please call me on Monday and I’ll help you with your computer."
  • "I hated the movie fireproof. I don’t care that it was made my Christians to spread the gospel. The bad acting and lame dialog makes Christians look cheesy and fake."
  • "I will smack the next person who tells me God is my husband."
  • "I don’t believe Jesus is the only way that God provided for people to be re-connected to him. I think God is “bigger” than that…"
  • "I feel suffocatingly alone, almost all the time. I am politically apathetic, and can’t stand almost any true republican I meet. I am a pacifist. I don’t like Christian music. I don’t want to convert anyone. My greatest fear is dying. I love saying the word shit. I think women are absolutely equal to men. I don’t see anything resembling our modern church in the New Testament. I don’t think tithing (even though it pays our salaries) is a New Testament principle. I kinda think televangelists could be some sort of sub-human race. I think you can be Christian and gay. I am becoming increasingly irritated at God for how invisible He is. Sometimes the only thing that soothes this ache is a night drinking with friends. I wish we could quit the ministry and never look back, because maybe there is a church out there that I could love and that could love me and maybe we could figure this life thing out there."

As sobering as some of the responses were, I felt a strange kinship with these people. Several times I thought to myself, “Wow. I am definitely not alone.”

So, what is something YOU would never say in church? (Feel free to copy and paste the same comment on both sites.) Can you relate to any of the sentiments above? 

If you find responding to such a question therapeutic, consider joining our previous conversation about “off-limits questions.”

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