It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I knew it was going to happen. I tried to stop it, I really did. But alas, the inevitable has happened and I must leave my church. I am beyond upset. I am livid and then I am calm. Up and down. My emotions are twisted up but one thing has remained a constant since Sunday afternoon. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I cannot stay at my church. I can no longer tolerate the manner in which they speak of and treat my husband. I am so done.
I have blogged a few times about my frustration with the nagging and negative comments my husband receives and I also receive about his church attendance. Which may I say is NO BODY'S business but his and the Lord. However, my Pastor and a few others for whatever reason believe that if you do not show up for church and that includes all 3 services that there had better be a good reason why and you should expect to explain yourself the next time you do show up. What? I've been in church my whole life and I have never seen anything like this and it has always bothered me but I loved going there so much that I just didn't let it bother me enough to be an issue. But seriously, church members are not employees, we should not have to explain ourselves for not showing up. It is no body's business where I was on Sunday night if I did not come. I should not have to hear any single comment about how my presence was missed. And, I used to think it was a genuine "We missed you at service Wednesday night." but in the last couple of months I have begun to recognize it as more of a rebuke than a genuine we missed you. Rude.
My husband has always done his own thing with God until the last year or so. He had a real and genuine experience with Jesus and he began giving church a try. He liked going a lot too. I was thrilled! He was doing door to door ministry with the men, he was having a great time of learning and experiencing how wonderful church can be. It was really great. Mike has always been a Christian, he just doesn't like going to church. And, y'all I can have a theological discussion with him and he is not clueless at all. He knows what Jesus is all about, he has some major awesome faith and he lives his life beautifully reflecting what a good Christian should be doing at home and in the community and not the least of which is the workplace. He truly treats others as he would want to be treated. He is a great guy, a great hubby and a great dad. But, this is not good enough for our Pastor. No, apparently you are on your way to hell or backsliding if you are not there ever single Sunday morning and as many other services as you can make. At the very least, it is mandatory to be there every single Sunday morning or the "Great Interrogation" ensues.
You see, I can so understand the genuine good place our Pastor is coming from. He just truly wants his flock to have the best, fullest most wonderful Christian life and relationship with the Lord. He really does. I believe that. You can't have that great, blessed and fulfilling life without personal relationship and being in the will of the Lord. I get that. BUT, what he forgets is that all of our Christian walks have a beginning, a middle and an end. From what I can see, he has forgotten about that whole middle part. How many of us had unfaltering Christian walks? How many of us have never taken a break from Church for whatever reason? Few Christians have gotten saved and then went to church every single Sunday morning for the rest of their lives. When someone has a real experience with Jesus and begins going to church they are on fire. They volunteer for lots of stuff usually. They want to tell everyone about Jesus, etc. But then what happens? Yes, the newness wears off and they begin to settle down a bit. They also tire out from working all day and then going to several services a week and also doing the volunteering they signed up for. So, they back off a bit.
This is where things got hairy for us. Instead of understanding this process and letting the hubs and the Lord work this out between themselves our Pastor gets concerned and nags him to death. "Where were you?" "You can't slack off from coming to church. You need to be the spiritual leader in your home." "You are endangering yourself to backsliding." I mean, I could go on. It just does not end. Why can't he just let a somewhat new convert find his place and work through the path he needs to take. We need to let other Christians have their middles just as we had our middles. You can't stand in the pulpit and talk about how you strayed and then berate a perfectly good new convert for missing a Sunday. Dude, he was just tired and he is just beginning this Church stuff. It's not as important to him yet as it is to you. GIVE IT TIME. But no, we have to nag and make things so negative that now my hubs no longer even wants to go to church because he does not want to hear first off, the where were yous, and then the "let me tell you all about the terrible things that are going to happen to you if you don't come here every single Sunday stuff". Um, of course he doesn't want to go to church anymore. He does not want to listen to YOUR NAGGING! Der.....
So now, in your zeal to keep him in church he has zero desire to even darken the doors of a church because it has become a place of nagging and condemnation. Oh and if it was only the Pastor that might be bearable. But, in the small foyer the men gather and as you walk into the church they are there to greet, shake hands and if need be, conduct an Inquisition as to where you were and how you are not doing it right. How many times did I want to scream "SHUT UP!!!! YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN EVERYTHING!!!" And, they did. I completely understand both sides but I put the majority of the blame for hubs not going to church much anymore on the mature Christians. They should know better than to be nags and judgemental. They all kid about their stupid mistakes in the past. Okay, so nobody else is entitled to make mistakes? Suddenly you are in charge of keeping church goers in line? Yeah, um, all you are going to do is make people feel uncomfortable and they will quit coming. Everyone needs a middle.
Once we become mature Christians and have made some dumb mistakes, we walk away from God for a bit or whatever we realize our mistakes and we truly embrace that fulfilling Christian life. It doesn't just come. We have to build our relationship with the Lord. We have to learn a lot of things.....but the key is let people do that without making church a negative place. People should not have to feel like they HAVE to go to church because it will be noticed that they are missed and that it is EXPECTED of them! Nobody is going to go to a place like that for long. Nobody wants that. It is too much pressure for someone who is just beginning their walk with the Lord. Who wants all that pressure? If I miss a service it irritates the poo out of me that I will have to hear it from at least two people that they noticed I was not there and of course the inevitable where were you from at least one of them. Um, I don't work for you. It's none of your business where I was. I may have been selling my body on the street corner, I may have been puking my guts out sick. It is none of your business. STOP ASKING ME.
One of my all time favorites. Every time I go to the altar for me, my sin, my issues, they start praying about my husband and for him to be a better spiritual leader, for him for him, for him. I'm like, GREAT, I cannot even go to the altar for my own personal spiritual junk without their judgemental condemnation about him interfering. Oh sure, everyone please pile on and lay hands on me and pray for my horrible sinful husband to end my wretched suffering. Really, please do. NOT. Um, my husband is way awesome and does his best to reflect a Christian in his personal life and I am in no way suffering nor are my children. He prays every days. He gets it, he just doesn't like going to church for just this flippin reason. So, now he is over it and so am I. I mean the nerve of people to assume that I am up at the altar because my husband is not with me. Um, just 'cause you go to church every service like I mostly do does not mean that you have all your junk together and every time I am up there it is because of my own mess ups. NOT HIS, thank you very much but thank you even more for just assuming that he is a monster and a heinous Christian because he has not immediately lept from new church goer and acted and served like some of them, a mature seasoned Christian. I am so sorry he has failed your expectations, please feel free to judge and heap condemnation on him. Yeah, he totally deserves it.
So hubs was supposed to build our new building. I'll make this quick. He has been saying for months that there will be no money in the budget to pay him. He was going to do it for a small amount that the Pastor said they would pay him. About half of what it would normally be. He has also worked hours and hours and hours getting pricing, putting together estimates and doing everything the bank needed to secure the loan. He has spent tons of time on this building project out of service to the Lord and to be helpful. Now that it is time to build and the permit is here and everything is ready....what does Pastor tell him? He tells him that he has no excuse for not coming to church and that while he is building the church he needs to come every Sunday. He also tells hubs that he is pretty sure that there will be no money left over to pay him. Now, 2 minutes prior to that he tells hubs he wants to add brick and that he wants to give 2 jobs to someone who has over bid those two jobs $5000 higher than two other bids but he wants to give that high bidder the job anyway. Well, between giving the high bidder the job and adding the brick that is the amount my hubs would have earned for the total job. So, then he says he is pretty sure he can't pay hubs at the end. Well, of course you can't now, you just gave away $5000 extra to a fellow church member because whatever and now you want to add brick which you cannot afford but hey, let's just not pay the guy building it for you and you can have brick! Makes perfect sense. So hubs comes home two weeks ago and says what he has been saying all along. He will do the job for free. He is mad. He is mad about it only because the money is there to pay him but Pastor wants to do a favor to someone and add brick and the only way to do that is to just not pay hubs. You want to hear the crazy part? Although Mike is EXTREMELY HURT because he knows he is being used and the money is there to pay him but Pastor is willing to use it for other things instead, Mike was willing to do it anyway. He was going to spend the money for the gas to go there every day, he was going to sacrifice pay because if he is at the church building it then he is not making money someplace else. But Mike had faith that God would honor that sacrifice and bring in extra jobs so he could work for free at the church while everyone else got paid and everything would be fine. He was going to do it. He has already done lots of work getting things ready number wise and getting the budget together and he wanted to finish the job.
Sunday afternoon, a fellow member of the church called my husband and said they had a committee meeting and it was decided that they would put together a building committee and build the church themselves and they would no longer need his services. In other words, you are fired now that you have worked for FREE and done all the stuff we didn't have the software to do or the know how and now that the church is ready to be built and we actually are supposed to start paying you something we are firing you and we will do the rest ourselves. Hey, sucker, thanks for all the free work you did. Sucker.
You know what really infuriated me? Not that they fired him, but that the Pastor had another member of the church call hubs and fire him. Nobody has ever discussed the building of the church with Mike before. The only person he has ever communicated with about the building of the church with was the Pastor. That was the most low down dirty rotten nasty cowardly act to have another member of the church who has never EVER spoken to Mike before about the construction of this church to do the Pastor's dirty work and fire my husband. It was the final slap in the face of what he must really think about my husband that he does not even call Mike himself to tell him that they are going to form a building committee and do it themselves since he does not think there will be money left to pay Mike. That was the bull crap excuse that the church member gave Mike. Okay, coward. I do not believe that for a single second. I believe that he told Mike that he had to come to church from now on and Mike got angry at that last meeting and while he went the next Sunday Mike missed the last two Sundays. One of which his back was out and he could not have even gotten in the car to go if he wanted to. Which don't you know I was forced to explain during the great inquisition in the foyer. So I guarantee you that after this second Sunday in a row of Mike not going he got mad and I just know he was feeling slightly guilty because he knew just like Mike knew that he was going to blow the budget and he would not pay Mike squat do. So he had probably already been thinking about just doing it themselves because of some guilt feelings about not paying Mike and when Mike didn't show the second Sunday in a row.........to quote Trump.....You're fired. Except, he did it dirty. You don't have someone do tons of work for you FREE OF CHARGE and then have someone else call and fire that person. You do it yourself. You do not treat my husband like a piece of trash. Act like a man, not a coward and do your own dirty work. You want to do it yourselves, fine. Whatever, we knew we weren't getting any money out of it for months. But, you do not treat him like trash because you think he is not a good enough Christian solely based on his irregular Church attendance.
What kills me is that the only reason Mike does not want to go to church is because he does not want to hear all the negative comments. They think their comments will draw him closer to the Lord, they actually think they are helping. Yuk yuk yuk, oh it would be funny if it was not so tragic. Dorks. Well, after the ultimate slap in the face of being fired over the phone by a fellow church goer and not the Pastor that was it for me. I will not go to a church that will treat my family in such a manner. I REALLY LOVED IT that Mike was informed that he was not going to be a part of the building committee either. Yeah, that is how I know that this whole decision was based off his church attendance. Oh, you judgemental blind fool, take care of the plank in your own eye. You know, the giant plank of thinking if everyone is not doing it your way they are on their way to HELL. Stupid. Beginning. Middle. End. You had your middle, let my husband have his.
The thing that kills me is that putting the attendance aside, dude, Mike has it going on. He is awesome. He never looks at other women in front of me, he never talks about other women, if something racy comes on he turns the channel. He never has said one negative thing about my body and I just turned 40 and have 4 kids. Not one negative thing. All my friends tell me that he has never said one bad thing about me and that when he talks about me he practically puts me on a pedestal. He speaks nothing but positive about me, um, how rare is that? He wants me to be happy and he trys to make me happy. Um, another rarity. He is a great dad and he parents our children, he doesn't just foist it all on me. He plays with his kids. He coaches and is President of our youth baseball league, so um, he is active in the community. He helps everyone he can and gives money to anyone who needs if if he has it at all to give. He does more good deeds than most I can tell you that. You know, he totally reflects a great Christ loving Christian to me. He just doesn't want to enter a building and hear negative stuff. "If you're not doing this, you don't love God." That doesn't do it for Mike. He hates that. He does not respond well to it. So, he just avoids it and listens to preaching on TV or the radio. He has a Bible and he prays. He is good he says. I still think he would benefit greatly from going to church more but after this experience I think perhaps he may be right in his case. He is too positive of a person. He likes encouraging stuff, not your evil and on your way to hell stuff. He is smart enough to know he is living a life pleasing to God. What can I say?
So, I am leaving. That means no more teaching for me, which I loved, but I can no longer listen to the comments about Mike and can they pray for him. I'm like, pray for yourselves, Mike is fine. Stop judging us!!!!!!! Whatever, I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER go to a small church again. I will only go to a church that is so big that if I do not show up for a service nobody will probably notice. I love to go to church, it is a true pleasure for me but dude, when you go you shouldn't go because you have to. It really needs to be more grounded in you want to. Sometimes we go because we just plain ole need to even when we don't want to, I'm not talking about that. Mostly we should want to go and feeling pressured to be there really just made me not want to go. I am looking forward to visiting my old church which is very large and seeing old friends. I am not sure where I will end up at. We have another really large church in Canton and of course we have the Jesus dome in Woodstock which is go gigantic you could get lost in the sanctuary. Hee hee. No nagging there!
I have peace about my decision except that I know they will all think I disappeared because I got mad that they fired him. Not true. I am livid over the cowardly judgemmental act of having some one else do the dirty work and that it was grounded in judgement over his church attendance. I wish them well in the building process 'cause we all know how well church committes function, lol.