Churches Are Funny Places…

This quote pretty much sums up why I stopped going to church. People who talked a good fight on a Sunday morning but then disappeared for the remainder of the week. Especially when you really needed them. It’s sad in a sense but I actually feel more settled and safe since I left the church environment. A place I came to dread, when I should have felt valued and loved. Churches are funny places, but I’m not laughing.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

48 thoughts on “Churches Are Funny Places…

  1. Not all churches are this way. I have attended some that are but my current church is definitely a congregation that walks the “talk”, that lives the prayers and blesses others. Many members (not all) have gone out of their way to help me through my present period of darkness – without even being asked! I am blessed and thankful for this family in Christ. May you someday be also.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I will say though – it hurts the soul and the spirit when one leaves a church feeling empty, forsaken, unsafe, judged, alone.This is not the will of God. This is an example of broken people in a dysfunctional setting that does little to encourage outreach to anything but the individual’s inner needs. I too have had this experience and found myself “worshipping” in the wilds of nature or simply communing with God on my own instead of in community with others. I think some of this is just the nature of society as a whole. We are becoming more and more fractured and the evidence of this is even more painful when we find it in a place where intimacy and relationship once dwelled.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I’m with Erika. It’s a tough place. I found a church that is very loosey goosey (not very Evangelical) but I find God in people. In my conscience. In my quiet spirit. I don’t want to be told who God is. That makes no sense to me.

        Liked by 6 people

  2. I understand. I grew up a minister’s granddaughter. When I divorced 18 years ago it was the opinion of many I was taking myself and my sons “to hell in a hand-basket”. I’m telling you friend, I am not affiliated with any one denomination. I had an awakening through my near death experiences, coupled with the fact I DO know THE WORD (my only truth really) and have counted on its direction my entire life. I do not look to people, but keep my eyes focused above in Christ. And I found an organization years ago~we deliver meals to the homeless. And it was through all of these experiences, that I knew that the church ⛪️ spoken about in the Bible~ the ones that Paul wrote so many letters to~were successful ONLY through ACTION. Sitting in a pew and tithing, while judging others and categorizing “sizes of sins “ does NOT make you a citizen of heaven~but of earth and it’s lowly occupants such as me. Grace was given by no action of me. It was free. And I choose to love others. The greatest two commandments~love God, love others. People are people. And when you find a group, in sticks & bricks or wherever they might be, that believe God is love and will SHOW you by action…well, that’s the “church” you need. I’m fortunate to have found a church full of messy and non-perfect people like me! Your post resonates with me. God bless you and yours. May God’s love light your path always!

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Yup. We all show up with our best facade of being whole. Things go south when we forget we are all broken. I don’t go for the people and as it ends up I go for-the-people. Only God can make that happen.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I totally understand where you are coming from! But not all churches are like this, i.e, my church! We are a family who loves to serve! We reach out always and genuinely love people! We love to love on people. I am confident you will find this same type of love one day! Many blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The enemy doesn’t mind us going to church (4 wall structure), but he does have a problem with the church we carry, manifest, and grow (the church inside our hearts).
    Every church, every pastor, sand everyone inside the church is broken, imperfect. I don’t go for the people, I go to hear God, the Source. In the end, God is the one we run to for truth.
    If we say all churches are bad, generally statement. I’d say the church experience is difficult for many. But I wouldn’t focus on the people. Since the Bible states we as humans can fail, but God is the one who doesn’t. Seek Him, when it’s the right time God will take you to the church He has for you.
    All of us are apart of his ministry.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Hi there. I can relate, I grew up in a church like you were describing. When I became an adult I decided to find a church where I fit, I did so, then with multiple moves through my life, Iv’e found many, as well as my current one. Remember, we are a broken people, including pastors, leaders, teachers, and all. Sure we want to feel comfortable and find a place where we are at peace. You can be the one who lives like Jesus, Jesus wants us to come follow him, in actuality, It’s All About Him…. Thank you for sharing.. ~~Blessings~~

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Unfortunately your description of many churches is far too accurate and because of it countless good folks have been hurt. This pains me deeply. I have seen first hand the work of antagonists causing damage to a church or maybe just mean-spirited ‘I’m right you’re wrong’ Christians in name only who make my job much harder.
    In the defense of the church however, I will add that so long as it is made up of human beings it will never be perfect. You have written that you feel more secure now that you left, and I’ve no issue with that. Each of our journey’s is just that, our journey. If I may throw my two cents in Stephen, I would add this: maybe there is a church out there that needs you much more than you need it! I know from reading you stuff for a few years now that a wonderful heart beats inside of you. Perhaps there are some suffering in silence that you could reach if only you could meet them.
    As always, I appreciate your transparency and honesty,
    Chuck

    Liked by 7 people

  8. I have been shunned by many churches since I had cancer that made me blind and put me in a Wheekchair. I was blamed for not seeing people and not waving at them when they knew I was blind. They would not make room for my wheekchair inn the church. I worship God in other ways now!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Church is so fake. I was a practicing Christian for a good portion of my life. Now I am agnostic. But going the church was always the low point in my week. I felt like I had to be fake and that no one really wanted to listen to anything going on in your life. Especially if you had problems. Mostly they would try and avoid me for having “sinful” issues. But at the same time gossip about me and say they were “praying” for me. Just insulting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I liked your post because of your honesty not because of what happened to you. I’ve experienced a lot of the same things over the years but I’ve also found genuine people. For those who believe in God they should understand they don’t need to know everything to be able to pray for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Mike. It can be so tough when you go in looking for support and they use prayer as a way to exalt themselves. Although I did find some genuine people there it wasn’t enough to cause me to go back. It is true that they should just pray for someone and trust God knows what is happening and He will help them. Sometimes people just don’t understand and project what they think which makes it worse for the person going through hard times. I had a lot of guilt tripping from church members since they could never understand my unique struggles.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve gone through a lot of trials including divorce which obviously I am partially to blame as well as losing a son. People who haven’t gone through these things will not understand them just as I won’t understand some of the things other people go through. People who actually care and truly love God will be there regardless of the situation and without knowing everything. Sometimes we just need people to listen or even just be there. I try to keep that in mind when I see others who are struggling, I don’t try to fix things but rather ask how I can be the best support that they need.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am sorry about your divorce that you had and the loss of your son. And yes, that is a great mindset to be a supportive listener. That is the best thing you can do. I have been through a divorce as well and that is very hard regardless of who initiated.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. My wife is going through some horrible health issues right now, and the one person who has been with us from the start– cooking us meals, sending us letters and emails of support, providing help and encouragement every step of the way without ever having been asked– is an atheist.

    I think a just and loving god would certainly be pleased with her behavior, and find her lack of faith nothing but amusing. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Church is just a group of people. You have good ones, you have bad ones. You have no perfect ones. Christianity does not produce perfect people. I’m with some good ones. They would show up in the middle of the week, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere….whenever I need them. Or whenever you need them. I hate that so many of you have had bad experiences. But I also think if things are bad, maybe someone who notices needs to be around to show them good?

    Liked by 5 people

  12. I appreciate your post. There is a huge difference between going to church and being the church. I’ve been frustrated in my attempts to find a church home, but I keep trying, albeit with some irregularity. As my relationship with God has grown I’ve discovered His presence in the world around me. I’ve been blessed to work through many of the “religious” abuse areas of my life. I know today that church is about community, communal worship, and serving others. I’ve found that community in some “not very churchy” places. Abba loves to show up in ways we never expect.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I agree with you ~ I walked away from the church environment many years ago because I found them to be terribly hypocritical places. I get that none of us are perfect, but I got the distinct feeling that many of the people I came across weren’t even trying to be children of God. They certainly weren’t treating others as children of God. Even while they were standing inside God’s house!

    I worked in a church for several years as well and that helped me a little bit to make peace with my earlier experiences, but I would rather have my personal relationship with God away from all the drama.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. So sorry that church hasn’t been the place it should have been for you. I empathize.

    Last year I started going.back to Catholic Mass. Our whole family did. I felt weird there. No one knew us surprise, surprise. Why would they? We were 1st timers at that parish. Families all stood to the side after Mass was over. No one ever said hello to us though we stood there waiting. No one welcomed us week after painful week. As time I went on, admittedly I grew resentful.

    I realized one would ever notice whether we were even there or not. God would. And God should be all that mattered. Yet, I longed to be a part of a fellowship, a community of people who worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    I left. I still have a hole in my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Today I sat through a church service and the passage was out of Mark talking about divorce… Well as I’m sure you can imagine that’s not the most pleasant or popular topic in a church setting. So many people have been hurt and treated poorly due to this topic. Today however was a wonderful change. The pastor talked about God not liking divorce because of all of the difficult things that come from divorce however he loves all of us the same whether we’ve been divorced or not. Very positive uplifting and caring message. For someone who has been divorced twice it was certainly well received. If you ever need someone to chat with my inbox is always open. 🙏❤️

          Like

  15. I get this. There may be individual congregations that are functional…like good families…but there is the overarching institutions that often do not practice what they preach. Hanging out with people who have spiritual integrity may be alternative path to take. You don’t need a roof or a building. You can take communion in a coffee shop.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Totally appreciate your honesty. Church hurt can be brutal. I must also say that churches finding the right church for you is vital.There are churches where their motto is community and not doing life alone. I think that’s the church that fits your needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I am very thankful for the church I am currently attending. Obviously it is filled with imperfect people including myself as well as the pastors but that’s what makes it real. It’s nice to hear a sermon when the pastor talks about his struggles openly and honestly. I go to church because of the imperfection as I can meet people who struggle as I do and work together to become better and less judgmental. There will always be the “holier than thou“ people no matter what church you go to but sometimes you can find a church that has how many more who understand they are imperfect. Jesus spent a lot of time in various synagogues but He did so to talk to the people who knew they were struggling and were willing to admit it. The only ones He showed anger towards were the ones who thought they were perfect… The same type that you yourself have been frustrated with when attending church. I’ve been there.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. True. Many people have been hurt by church. What I believe though is that despite it all relationship with God should always be key because despite people being imperfect God is perfect.

    Hopefully you may heal and one day return to church, for yourself and for God. People are secondary.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My philosophy on church is that we are all imperfect people trying to please a perfect God and in doing so sometimes due stupid stuff that drives people away. I’m sorry you’ve had such bad experiences but don’t let people drive you away from a God who loves you.Sending you a handshake because I remember you saying before you didn’t like people to just come up and hug you without permission ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I totally agree with you. I stopped going to church many many years ago. It was down to the vicar though. It was church parade in the middle of winter people were coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses. When the vicar stopped his sermon and ranted and ranted at us all about us disturbing his sermon. I was a brownie at the time and sat on the front row. He scared me to death I had to give brownies up as I had to go to church to be a brownie. Even now I’m in my late 40’s it’s still as clear as day and it make me shudder. But I have found over the years you don’t need to go to church as we see little miracles in nature and can feel closer to man, nature and god than in a church.

    Like

  21. Thanks for being honest. These stories of flawed churches make me sad. I’m a pastor’s daughter and granddaughter and now I’m a pastor myself (genuinely didn’t see that coming–it only happened 14 months ago!). I’ve had some pretty terrible experiences in churches, too, over the years, and also some good ones, but I can’t get away from the love of Jesus, and also that the Church (as a whole) is described as both His body and His Bride. He loves her, too, messed up as she absolutely is. So…I keep going and I will say that at least so far the tiny congregation I’ve been given to pastor is really lovely. They’ve been through some of their own darkness as a whole church, so I suspect they’re a little more compassionate and less rigid than some–and even than they themselves may have been some years ago.

    Like

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