Do Not Be Silenced!
I take comfort from such people as William Stringfellow. He was called a "lay theologian": he wasn't ordained, didn't have a theology degree, and didn't attend church. Nevertheless his theological contributions to Christianity and the church were enormous. His greatest involvement was with the Sojourners community. It's a shame if you haven't read him. (I would suggest, for starters, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land. It's an excellent treatment of the principalities and powers and the church's susceptibility to them.) Even though the authorities excused him because he lacked the proper credentials, he continued to raise his voice and set his pen to paper with prophetic power. He wouldn't be silenced. He wouldn't be invalidated. I am encouraged by many such people who continued to speak and write to and for and against the church while not attending it. The way I look at it is that they were "in" it but not "of" it. There is Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who concluded that the three major principalities and powers on the earth were the government, the university, and the church, and he refused employed from all three; Karl Barth, who finally left the ministry and only visited different churches occasionally because he found it had become too sentimentally pietistic; and Thomas Merton, who finally became a hermit and only rarely assembled with his brothers. There are many others I could name. Of course, they have precedent in the scriptures in those who separated themselves from the crowd and lived and worked outside of the pressures of the assembly, such as many of the prophets, Jesus and Paul. I must admit I feel a strong pressure to be quiet. I admit it is largely due to my own weaknesses and insecurities. But it is people like those I've mentioned who persuade me to persevere and not silence myself. The world is my parish! Get my book. It also has commentary on many of the cartoons. Get fine art cartoon prints & original art. Get my t-shirts. Please join my newsletter.