10 Challenges of Religious Communities
I speak from a Christian perspective here as it relates to the church. But these 10 points can also be applied to any denomination and even any religion.¬†I am in solidarity with those who struggle to stay in the church, with those who have left it, as well as those who desire to be a part of a spiritual community but won't for various reasons. I consider these my mission field. These points below are only from my experience, and they all can be prefaced with "generally speaking". Not everyone's. Just consider them:
- I've experienced enough abuse, intrigue, exploitation and alienation within the church, and have heard enough first hand testimonies from others, to realize that it isn't rare within this institution.
- My experience of church in the past tells me that I am to believe what is expected and what I am told.
- Questions, unless they complement the accepted tradition and dogma, are not welcomed.
- I've found that friendship within the church is not based on love for the person, but on a conditional compatibility.
- The church is notorious for supporting codependency. Refuse to play this game and you're considered cruel.
- Success, in terms of money, numbers, appearance and reputation, is the gauge of choice. If you redefine what true success is and live by that, you're considered a failure.
- Creativity has difficulty finding a home here. Unless it is religious art.
- Exclusion trumps inclusion. Gays, for example. Diversity is scary and deemed impossible.
- Male dominated. The fascination with power, authority, strategy, chain of command, visions and goals, reflect this.
- The threatening demand to adhere to a literalist interpretation of scripture is always the axe waiting to fall and sever you from the group.