I haven’t written anything on here in a while. I’ve been struggling with pulling my thoughts together and staying focused on one topic. But my mind is cluttered with a variety of things and happenings so I decided to just share some thoughts that will actually make sense or not by the end.
The year was 2006, I was newly pregnant with my fourth baby and had not made the announcement to friends and family. I had a nursing infant and as the office staff of my OBGYN had indicated on my folder, I was “advanced maternal age.” My then dear husband, the three kids and I were visiting with a pastor, his wife and they’re gaggle of kids. I realized during the visit this was an interview or recruiting session for me. My dear ex husband wanted to join this church (read cultlike body of believers) and this dinner with them was his way of convincing me this was the way to go.
One of the rules of their church was the children were watched or monitored at all times. This was done to keep them from sinning. Because we all know that you can’t sin with your parents or church elders watching. (Have you ever had an inappropriate thought?)
Some time during this visit the mother came to us to apologize for her young daughter’s actions. The little girl had given my 6 year old son a note stating she wanted French kiss him. The parents were extremely embarrassed. The kicker to me was the apology offered by the mother. She said if she had been in the room with the kids this would have never happened. She blamed herself because it was her duty to watch her children and keep them from sinning or behaving inappropriately.
I knew right then that I was not joining this church and as far as I was concerned these people were nuts. I grew up with a single mom with zero adult supervision. It’s a wonder I survived. I hoping to achieved a happy medium with my kids.
Have you heard of, glanced at or dared to read on of the many articles about millennials leaving the church? Every single article I’ve ever read places the blame on the church. Have you ever heard the phrase, employees leave managers not companies? Okay… stay with me. What if they aren’t leaving the church but leaving their hypocritical parents? Hang on… The children are the witnesses to what their parents are living and doing when they aren’t at church. They hear the conversations and see the truth day in and out. They hear the arguing, gossiping, racist comments and other words that don’t align with the pretense shown on Sundays and in life groups or Bible study. They know the truth. Perhaps they are choosing to live an authentic or at least alternate life that is not encouraged at church.
When I was upset with the ex, I still sat next to him at church. Eventually, I sat on the other side of the room. I stopped pretending for the sake of others. It felt good to me but I’m sure it was awkward for people who asked me where he was and me telling the truth. I didn’t want to sit next to him.
I don’t know where that couple or their children are today. But I’ve spoken with other children who lived under similar conditions or saw through the religious sham and not only walked away from the beliefs of their childhood, they walked away from relationships and some from their parents as well. Marriage? No thank you. They saw the lie their parents lived. Pray. No. They didn’t see any positive results as children. Read, worship, attend church? No, no and no.
What do you think? Are children leaving the church or are they leaving their parents?