Be careful of dismissing another person’s painful (or joyful) Church experience

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

As responses to my CNN post about why millennials leave the church have been pouring in, and as accusations of consumerism fly from one end and of hypocrisy from the other, I was reminded of an older post from April 2012 that seems freshly relevant: “Better Conversations Between the Churched and Un-Churched.

An excerpt:

 When someone opens up about the pain they’ve experienced in a church setting, only to be met with eye rolls, sighs, and accusations of selfishness, why on earth would they ever want to return?! And yet I see this scenario play out all the time in Christian communities.  A word to the wise: When someone tells you they’ve been hurt by the Church, the proper response is “I’m so sorry; tell me what happened,” not “suck it up, kid…" On the other hand, I must admit that among young adults (myself included), there seems to be an unhealthy appetite for stories about the church that are exclusively negative. We get to talking about all the ways in which we’ve been disappointed and ostracized, and the next thing you know, we’ve slipped right into a contagiously cynical church-bashing session, the kind that can leave those who have had beautiful, affirming, and life-giving experiences in church feeling like the odd ones out. In that sense, the ‘un-churced’ are just as guilty of invalidating the experiences of the ‘churched.’ We need to be honest about the problems in the institutional Church, yes, but we also need to read and share and celebrate positive stories about the institutional Church.”
Read the rest.

I thought of this after reading this series of stories assembled by Micah Murray entitled “Why We Left the Church,” which is also worth a read.

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