“Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that’s distorted and false.”—Brian McLaren
We all know that there are not perfect churches.
How do we deal with the tensions that arise from differences in beliefs?
Is polarity necessary?
When I leave a belief system behind (a church or denomination), my actions make a statement about my rejection of that belief system. Some people will allow you to make that change, while others require complete agreement with them in order to maintain relationship.
An old friend from our former church got in touch with us recently. I wonder about the likelihood of re-establishing relationship with someone who believes we are deceived; while at the same time, we believe they are influenced by false teaching.
This is the state of many of our former relationships. It causes the relationship to be at a shallow level, which I find very unsatisfying.
What about people in a system that is distorted and false? What is the margin of error?
Like it or not, you will become influenced by whatever distorted teaching you are under. When there are things you disagree with, what is the tipping point of when you should leave?
Most people will put up with a great deal of distortion as long as they feel it is not directly damaging to them. The positive aspect of this is that it demonstrates commitment and a willingness to extend grace in the process of growth.
Rarely is it possible for a “lay person” to bring significant change. Attempting to is usually an experience of frustration and futility. In my opinion, if you are not at peace with where you are, it is best to either find a way to be happy there or to leave.
We have had people come to us with concerns about what they are being taught at our former church. Ultimately, how much distortion someone is willing to put up with is a very personal decision.
Having experienced the cost of “taking a stand for truth,” I do not want the responsibility of advising someone to make that choice. Even after weighing the price, you will not know the true cost until you have experienced it. I think it is important for anyone who decides to leave a church to know that they are following God.
Our story was much more involved than simply trying to be right. However, it required a difficult choice. Following what we believed cost way more than I expected.
Although I am grateful for all we learned, and we could never go back, knowing what we now know has not been gratifying.
Yesterday, my husband said, “Knowing truth that no one else wants to hear really sucks.” I have to agree.