Earlier today, Rachel Held Evans posted 15 Reasons I Left the Church. The seminary president of my Lutheran
sect denomination posted a rebuttal of 15 reasons why I came back to the Church. Having read both, I decided to post my own response.
01. I stay in the church because while worship and Bible study are important, I find that our monthly Ladies’ Night Out blesses me and causes me to grow in unexpected ways.
02. I stay in the church because when we talk about sin, we also talk about God’s love and forgivness.
03. I stay in the church because sometimes I have the answer to the questions others ask. Sometimes, they can help me find the answer to the questions I ask. It’s all about “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” in the words of Philippians 2:12b.
04. I stay in the church because if it’s going to be anything other than a cult or a country club, there needs to be a voice speaking up, welcoming people, and advocating for the viewpoint that we’re a hospital for sinners.
05.) I stay in the church because whether or not the earth is young or old is not a hill on which I care to die and somehow it isn’t the most pressing issue that we’re being called to engage.
06.) I stay in the church because during those times I have doubt, I have a community of people picking up the slack in my faith and being present for me in the midst of my doubt. In this fashion, they are helping me to stay with God even during the times I put Him on notice.
07.) I stay in the church because it was someone trying to make me into their “project” that helped me find my voice and my assertiveness. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also the focus of God’s love and that in serving Him and immersing myself in the Word, I become a better person.
08.) I stay in the church because I believe that in Christ, there is no Democrat or Republican. I also respect that people have to make their own political decisions and that their decision may not be mine.
09.) I stay in the church because I believe in engaging and struggling with the passages in the Bible that include violence, misogyny, and genocide.
10.) I stay in the church because I need the reminder that I am dependent on others in such a way that I am part of a community of faith rather than a lone wolf Christian. Being dependent on others means that there are people to catch me when I fall and that I sometimes have to do the catching.
11.) I stay in the church because whether or not I believe in having a woman behind the pulpit, I know that I am part of the priesthood of all believers and can minister to others that way.
12.) I stay in the church because our outreach enables us to help a wide spectrum of people through things like food banks, helping out at homeless ministries, and raising funds for charities. Quoting Grey’s Anatomy, “it’s what Jesus would fricking do!”
13.) I stay in the church because it spawned people like William Wilberforce and organizations like International Justice Mission. Having a food pantry box in the narthex reminds me that I’m blessed to have food. Working with a local homeless mission through the church reminds me of how lucky I am to have a roof over my head.
14.) I stay in the church because I had people who held me through those times when I doubted God’s existence and who ministered to me during my “dark nights of the soul”, helping me to keep the faith even when I wasn’t sure I had any to begin with.
15.) I stay in the church because someone needs to gently remind people that those signs violate IRS rules concerning organizations with 501(c)3 status, one of which is that churches cannot tell their parishioners how to vote or they risk losing their tax-exempt status.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
— 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31 (NIV)
Despite everything I’ve been through as a pastor’s wife, I’ve chosen to remain in the church because I know that I am part of the Body of Christ. I also know that I would fall flat if I ever stopped being part of the church because I’ve tried doing it on my own and I fell flat. Being part of the Body means being part of a community where we ideally journey to heaven together and help those who have fallen along the path.