I always felt like a misfit in the evangelical community. I grew up in a small messianic congregation and the majority of Christians don’t see that denomination as a part of the church. The doctrine of it summed up is when Jesus died, he did not abolish the laws of the old testament. Because there is no longer a Temple, we cant do animal sacrifices but that’s alright because Yeshua (Jesus) was the “Ultimate blood Sacrifice” Believers who don’t have a Jewish bloodline are “Grafted in” to the olive tree (Judaism). Typically, Messianics observe Shabbas on Friday night and it continues to Saturday nights and keeps some kind of special dietary restrictions (no shellfish, pork, etc). This isn’t a true form of Judaism. Most practicing Jews don’t have high opinions of Messianics, and the evangelical church doesn’t either.
I never felt like I fit in with the local evangelical scene. Throughout the years I was active in different bible studies, groups, and I went to a Christian school. I hated telling people the name of my congregation because 9/10s I would get asked “Are you interested in knowing jesus as your lord and savior?” Like it was a sales pitch (which it was). I would try to engage in a conversation, but the majority of the time I didn’t feel heard. In many ways, it felt like I was seen as “Just another person to convert” even though I proudly loved the Lord. I knew my theology and I wasn’t willing to take the Jewishness out of Jesus, or the old and new testament. I originally started this blog because I felt isolated, and out of place, especially within the evangelical community.
I have left the church. I don’t know if it’s a forever, or a for-now thing but I am content at where I am in life. It feels like so many 20-30 somethings who were raised in Christian homes have left in the past few years. We’ve changed from posting about the gospel to posting about our deconstruction. For many of us, stepping back is scary as literal hell but we could no longer sit back and let the things that bothered us go by.
When I initially started questioning my beliefs, I would have long conversations with a couple of coworkers who had similar upbringings. One day during our chats, one of them said something along the lines of “It sounds like you didn’t have a sturdy faith, to begin with.” Ouch.
I think that’s the only time a phrase like that has been said to my face, but I can assume that stuff like that has been said behind my back. I went from being the person who could only talk about my faith online and in person, to talking about the trauma I got within my religion.
I used to be one of those people who believed that people walked away from Christianity because they either wanted to sin or weren’t true believers. Because if the consequences were hell, why would anyone willingly want to walk away from that? I know that those are close-minded ideas and that I was guilty of never taking the time to listen to those who left. I was that judgmental person that I dredge running into now.
So, is it a fact that most of the people who are claiming to leave the church were never a real Christian? In my experience absolutely not.
We loved Jesus. Hell, some of us still are fans. We studied the word, were at a building at least once a week, led worship, taught bible studies, and evangelized. Why did we leave then? For a variety of reasons. I think the common reason is that we read about jesus, but never saw his traits in church. We saw injustice. We saw abuse. We saw things that just didn’t add upright.
Was I a true Christian? Absolutely. I accepted the lord into my heart as a child and didn’t look back for a very long time. I believed that god sent his son to die on the cross for my sins and that whoever believes in him gets eternal life. That’s the gospel am I right?