Dear church people..I hate church

**I read this open letter a few years back and it recently crossed my desk again.  So if you don’t go to church and are reading this, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.  If you do go to church and are reading this, I’m curious to hear your thoughts, too.**

Don’t worry you won’t offend me I just would love to hear some honest opinions**

Dear church people,

I recently attended your church. I don’t know why I decided to get up early on a Sunday morning and I’m not sure why exactly I chose this church, but nonetheless, I went. I guess it was because I overheard someone talking about this man named Jesus and he seemed really edgy and from what I gathered, he seemed like a rebel like me. And then I heard that somehow he can help me get rid of all of this junk that is messing up my life. I’m not sure what you church people call it..i guess its “sin” or something. So anyways, yeah, I was compelled by what I overheard, and I didn’t quite hear everything that guy was saying, but he was telling the other person to check out their church. I didn’t catch what church name it was, so I wound up here.

But can I just say, I really hate church. I do. I mean, that Jesus guy sounded really intersting, but I just can’t do the church thing. The building looks nice and all, but when I got inside, I felt like a total outcast. People were just staring at me. I guess you guys don’t do lip rings and punk hair very often.

And those church program things, whatever you call them, they have a cool picture on the front…i guess…and your program thing makes me think that obviously you guys have lots to do around here….but how come I never see you guys around in my neighborhood? My neighbors just had a giant fight and the wife threw all of the husbands stuff out on the front lawn and then she drove off. I helped that guy pick up all of that stuff and we put a few beers back…i think he was trying to forget what happened. We could’ve used some extra help picking that stuff up. Where were you? And I always talk to that lady sitting outside my work building who is asking for food for her kids. Sometimes I try to get some MickeyD’s breakfast for them. Is that something you guys would be interested in helping with?

But anyways, I’m getting off track. So I go in and sit down and some guy mumbles to his wife about me sitting in their seat. I’m really sorry about that. I don’t know who the guy was, but if you know who it is, can you tell them I’m sorry. I really didn’t know. I didn’t see a name tag or anything…did I miss it on the chair somewhere? I’m really sorry, again.

And that music…well, I will say that the guitarist was totally killer and the drums were sweet. I didn’t really know what you guys were all singingabout, I didnt know those songs…but I did see that Jesus guys name a few times, so i tried paying attention. That leader seemed pretty pumped up and trying to get everyone to clap…but I think those people around me were bored with your songs. I dont know them, though, so maybe thats how you’re supposed to respond. Maybe there are rules I don’t know about. Im sure there are. I know that when Im at a concert and im really pumped up about the lyrics, i can’t contain myself. but i guess it is church..so..maybe thats why you stand so still and just stare at those jumbotrons with the words on it.

The speaker dude wasn’t too bad. He seemed like he really believed what he was talkin about. I heard that Jesus guys name again…i’m really curious about him. Do you know who I’m talkin about? Jesus somethin. I need to find out about that guy..do you know where I could find more out? Iknow the speaker guy could help me…he did say something about coming up front if I wanted to know more about Jesus…but no one else went up there..so i’m totally not going up there. are you kidding? those people were all looking around like they were gonna go attack the first person who stood up or somethin. Freaky.

Sorry, but i was just really bored, over all. I’ve gotta know more about this Jesus guy. I didn’t wanna go bug that speaker guy cuz there was a ton of people around him, so I just decided to leave. As I was walking out, I heard some ladies pointing at another lady and they were sayin some pretty rude things. Dude, if church is a place full of clicks and gossip and high school drama, I’m FOR SURE in the wrong place.

All this to say, I guess I’m sure there’s somethin I’m missin…there’s probably somethin I didn’t read somewhere…but I was really just hopin to find out about that Jesus guy. But, sorry, I just don’t do long boring program things around a bunch of people that stare at me and bash their so-called friends.

Maybe that lady asking for food for her kids outside of my work building knows about that Jesus guy. Yeah. Maybe I’ll go ask her tomorrow.

Sorry church people, I just can’t do that church thing you guys do. But hey, if thats your thing, more power to ya.”

Sincerely,

The guy/girl who doesn’t go to church

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About Jon Nelson

I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody [Christ Jesus]!

Posted on January 17, 2012, in ...from Jon, Guest. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. The letter is spot on from my experiences. A lot of judging and staring and standing around looking bored and gossiping and bad-mouthing and…. Plus it seems as though the people that do actually go up to the front and then get baptized never come again after their baptism. They wanted attention and then when it was over there was no reason for them to come back. That is part of the reason that I have never joined the church I have been attending for 8 years.

    • Dub,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m [absolutely] sure that you are not the only person that feels the same way. I have a question for you though. Could you clarify why you haven’t joined your church? The logic doesn’t seem to make sense (IMO). What I read is that you won’t join because you don’t want to be like the other people who solely do a religious activity and then leave, never to return. Would this be right? Again, thank you.

      • I dont agree with the stances my church takes on many issues. The previous pastor would routinely make comments, or fail to make comments, that would completely fill me with rage because it was completely opposite from what I think a biblical person should be doing.

        There is a new pastor now and he has only twice said things that I did not agree with, but he hasnt made me mad. But it still remains that the people in the church are the same and they do not fit my vision of a follower of Christ.

        As for being like the other people, I am not afraid that I will stop attending. I just dont want to stand up and do a hollow affirmation like everyone else. I was baptized as a baby, and went through confirmation as a teen. Confirmation requires study and commitment. I dont see the point in doing it again and putting myself on display in a ceremony that has no equity.

  2. Got to say I agree with most of that letter. I count myself Christian but HATE going to church. Why does it have to always be about how we or at least the rest of the world are going to hell? Or about how much money the church needs for its roof, puppet program, furnace bill? And about that puppet program? And youth group? And the drum set? Those things are not going to attract youth. Young people see through them like the patronizing things they are. Instead, speak intelligently about the gospels. And by intelligently, I don’t mean by taking things out of context or reading it literally so as to serve whatever pet project you serve. Instead, tell us what it MEANS, which is to recognize that the Bible was written allegorically, which Jesus even announces at one point, just in case you need a literal reason to do this.

    • Do you mind if I ask what part of the letter yo disagreed with?

      • I had the impression that the letter writer liked the drums. I hate drums at church–trying too hard. (Maybe this sounded too adamant? I do go to church fairly regularly, but leave too many times annoyed rather than inspired or at peace. I’m sure that probably has a lot to do with me and less to do with church. And I think I’ve just talked myself out of my rant :))

  3. Jon,

    Interesting letter. I have attended church my whole life. As a remember back I can think of countless times where I have seen people bashed behind there backs, to include myself. Seems like the same things happened to Christ from the so-called religious elite of the day (Pharisees). I am looking at what religion as a whole has become self-serving multi-functional entertainment circus. Jesus message was simple LOVE!! I have to agree with the writer on many points. What has the Church become? Why are we doing what we do? We are called to Love one another. Do we do that or are we just a bunch of busy bodies? It is easy standing on the inside looking outward to say we are doing a good job, but from the outside looking in I think the letter speaks for itself. WE are failing miserably.

    All that being said we should continue to go. You can’t change what you don’t participate in. I want Christ to develop in my heart, and for me myself to emulate Jesus. So others may come to know him thru me. We can do nothing with the self serving, those are to be left up to Christ. But a single person approaching a visitor can change their entire perception. We have to become that one person, like Christ, to reach into their life and show them the love and peace in Christ.

  4. I am 100% a full believer in Jesus Christ. I believe that he rose from the dead and is LIVING today. But I completely agree with this letter. I attend church every Sunday (I know that going to church does NOT make you a christian, it’s all about relationship) I have to force myself to go. I HATE going. No one ever speaks to me, and I constantly see where all the girls are constantly hanging out and such. I do serve in the church so it’s not like they never have opportunities to include me. I always tell myself that it is partly my fault too, because I am very shy and I don’t make much of an attempt to socialize either. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the devil in my case. I’m starting to learn to just trust in God. It’s nothing about me. I shouldn’t go to church and expect to receive anything. We go because we are going to meet with Him, and because it pleases him. We worship even when we don’t want to because it’s pleasing to God. I have been continuously been praying about my situation and leaving this church for over a year now. Sometimes I feel like God is nowhere near to be found. But we know that God is always with us because He lives in us. We just have to be obedient. Hang in there! This is not our home, so it’s no surprise it doesn’t feel too great all the time.

  5. Carmen Childers

    I was raised in church and I’m still at it…even though I hate it sometimes. Ironically, that letter is spot on when it comes to that Jesus guy. It’s not always easy to find a church that actually talks much about Jesus. There’s no shortage of pop psychology and politics, but the gospel’s absent. I don’ t believe Jesus ever intended for ‘the church’ to be a tax free business. In the past eight months I’ve been looking for a new church after a move to a new state. I’ve heard sermons about homosexuality, abortion, and saving the whales, not as many as I’d like about God or living your faith. I really have an issue with the doctrine that the practice of tithing is for today, since tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament. There are good churches out there but there are no perfect churches. There are also churches that exist solely to separate a fool from his money. Any yahoo can start a church, but there are a lot of sincere men of God out there as well who really have a heart for God’s flock. My advice is to read your bible, pray, and hold on to your wallet until you know you’re in the right place. That’s my plan.

  6. I hate church because its a never ending class of being fed the word of God that we have to pay with our offerings or tithe… Which the. Church never accounts for as it is for widows and orphans. I hate church because we are made to believe that we have come to the presence of God as if God is impressed by our praise songs that are a copyright of someone else’s tunes and our worship songs… Plus birthday parties..that are done in the church almost every Sunday. I hate church because those who don’t attend Sunday religious meetings are considered as ” unbelievers” just coz they don’t submit to a pastor who mostly talks about prosperity and his wife.

    • You made a point Ruth God can come into our presence when we are alone and going through difficult times God can strengthen us anytime and heal us I go to church if i feel led to other than that sorry to say i do not like going to church, I am a Christian and not going to church or going to every Sunday doesn’t change the coarse of Gods will and plan for you, sometimes when I do go to church I feel as though I got brownie points for going or it is like ok God I went are things going to be different so I do not go every week I am just not comfortable with the whole church setting and find people to busy or I’m just not comfortable, I talk to others outside the church about faith in God and about trusting God and give material things when I have it to others. A Christian is a Christian weather they go to church or not.

  7. I stopped liking going to church about 7-9 years ago, i usually feel better when i dont go, I will go if I feel the tug on my heart by God and when I do go I usually wait until all the singing is done sorry but I just do not like to sing and to hear all the 25 minutes of singing and don’t concentrate of the sermon and can’t wait until the service is over so I can go home so why go sometimes I think I am going to save face just so others can see that I was there, im not comfortable going to church and I just dont like it plain and simple I still am a christian and will share my faith in God and witness to others if needed and be a giver of material things if I have something that someone else needs and I have it to give, love is giving, you dont have to go to church to be a christian the only think I can say about if the Lord tugs on my heart to go to a service then thats when I need to go but every Saturday night I go through this thing am I going to go I am not envolved in any ministry at church, my loving and giving are alot mainly people on the outside and this is where God needs the people helping on the outside, i hope this helps and let the Lord be the one to lead you.

  8. The problem with church is it is full of sinners. Going to a building of any kind and expecting it to be a perfect Place with everyone doing exactly what they should is a great burden to bear. The court house in my city is probably the most boring Place I’ve been to but I don’t expect it to be sufficient because I know people that work their are just trying to do their jobs. However, I don’t affiliate with any church. I did once due to the fact I was offered a counseling position but now no. Church is hard for my husband and I because people are afraid of our passion and strong views on scripture. We are often seen as intolerant and not open minded enough to be Christians. So instead we hang with those who aren’t. They seem to think we are an anomially because we don’t judge them. My best friend right now is a unwed single mom who has a three year old and is pregnant with her second kid who’s father recently died in car crash. I would rather be by her side loving and being her friend then in a bible study any day because she loves me for who I am and vice versa. I cannot stand how little the church looks like less of a loving body and more like an institution. What happened to just being saved people who love Jesus and the bible? Plus after living in Kuwait I can tell you that being part of a church does not win anyone to the Lord. Only being like Christ does.

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  10. Going to church is like going to a pep rally every week but never getting to actually attend the big game. After a few years of going, I looked around, thought, “This is it?” and started asking questions of my church leaders and fellows. I was very disappointed with the lack of passion, direction, action, or any real presence of courage.

    Sunday mornings were the worst – people looking at me funny because I didn’t dress like them, talk like them, sing or clap like them…and forget bringing a friend, unless that friend happens to like the ‘all eyes on me’ feeling you get when those creepy, fake-looking people stare at you like that.

    My attendance slowed and I eventually stopped going altogether because, long story short, I came hungry and left hungry, so why keep attending? (Selfish?) I’ve been waiting since then for some major crisis to come along and wake us up, but that seems like a pretty weak plan. Still, beats going to church, though…

    • Josh,
      Thank you so much for you comments, they are insightful. Could you clarify something for me? You said, “I came hungry and left hungry” could you help me understand what you mean by this?
      Additionally, could you help me understand your definition of church? Finally, would you consider yourself a Christ follower before? Still?
      Sorry, I know this is a lot but I’m just a bit curious.
      Shalom

  11. The letter does not sound authentic. Is it an actual letter? Or was it only a way for you to ask for feedback?

    I can say that I was faithful in Church all of my life…very active…until the last year or so. My husband and I adopted our son and a few years later, I lost my mom. On both occasions, and in between, I have had more hurtful, intrusive, and insensitive things said and done to me by “church people” than I can count. I know all too well that the explanation for such things begins by blaming the victim and moves on to justification of the behavior and ends with it being the victim’s fault. I’ve seen it play out for 30 years. My father was a leader in our Church all of my life.

    After I lost my mom I decided that I would not invite more pain into my life than I was already enduring so I decided not to attend church services until I felt stronger. Yes, I feel like I have to be strong so that I can somewhat endure church.

    I find my strength in God thru daily meditation, prayer and study and thru regularly connecting with others who do the same. I also exercise my beliefs by trying to help others, however, I do not believe in listing the things I do. It is a gift and an honor to me that God places people and opportunities in my path so that I can be of service to HIM. Oddly enough, most all of them come with a story of being badly hurt by those in churches. It makes my heart sad because for most of my life, my church WAS my life, and I loved it dearly.

    I guess sad is the word that best expresses my feelings toward church these days. It is sad that an institution designed to be the ultimate conduit for the expression of God’s love and healing has become the entity doing so much of the hurting.

    • I’m 52 years old now and I can say the only place where I have felt self conscience, out of place, agitated, offended, and confused at the same time are at a church, any church take your pick. My mom had me on the front pew for the first 18 years of my life and I vowed to myself when I have kids they would not step foot in any of these sewers of hypocracy unless it was their choice and they haven’t. We do speak of God, bless our food, and talk with each other about the teachings of Christ and what they mean to us in this time. How we can help each other and help others in our own way. We do not need a place to make business deals, compare clothing, or look down our noses at those we we think don’t belong.
      It took awhile for me to figure out I don’t belong and I’m OK with that.
      Now I just have to figure out how to keep you from knocking on my front door.

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