Leaving Church

As I read through other blogs I am finding more and more stores about people leaving the church because of abuse.  I must admit that I don’t understand.  First off, I guess I don’t understand what they mean by abuse.  Now if you are actually being abused like in the priest sex scandal the Catholic Church is going through, then I get it.  But it seems most of the stories I am finding aren’t anything like that.  It seems like is just people being neglectful or mean.  All I can think to say about that is this, get over it.  I know that sounds harsh, but we are adults, we should be used to people being jerks.  Now should people act like jerks in church?  Of course not, but there are better ways to handle the situation besides leaving the church.

I think I need to explain a little about myself and my beliefs about what Church is.

First off, I am a Catholic.  As I talked to people from other denominations I found that most of them have very different ideas about what “Church” is.  I remember I took a class created by a Baptist.  He taught that each individual church is the body of Christ, and all the churches in the world united form the Kingdom of God.  I have no idea if this is official Baptist doctrine, but it is so different from what I believe.  The Catholic Church teaches that there is only one Church.  You cannot divide it.  So no matter which denomination you are a part of you are still a part of the one Church.  The body of Christ is indivisible.  We may think it isn’t united anymore, but that is just us silly humans.  We may be divided, but Christ isn’t.  So that being said, I don’t think it is important to stay in a certain individual church.  If someone has issues with a single church then they can find another without leaving the Church.

Another part of being Catholic is the Eucharist.  We believe that the bread and wine at communion actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus.  So if God is actually there in the flesh every Sunday (every day actually, since we have daily mass)  why would you miss that?  How could someone else keep you from God?  I just don’t understand.

Now I know not everyone believes what I do, and that can be a part of why they find it so much easier to leave their church.

What I really don’t understand is how someone can let a person, or people, keep them from God.  No one is keeping me from going to that altar and receiving God.  That would be letting my anger, resentment, and hate win.

I suppose it comes down to what you believe.  If you think church is just a place you go on Sundays to hear a sermon and sing songs then I can see why it would be easy to give up on it.  I think if you study the letters in the New Testament you will begin to see that Church is more than that.  It is the body of Christ.  As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no hands now but yours.”  We have to do His work now.  We are His body and we must work together to accomplish His mission.  We have to put aside our petty differences and let love triumph  in our churches.  We can’t do it all alone.  We need a community.  We need each other.

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