She Can't Do It Anymore

park and drive cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

A woman sits in her parked car watching people going into her church. The caption says, "It's Sunday morning. Sarah has driven to her church. She's parked. But she can't seem to force herself out of her car. She just can't do it anymore. She looks on, watching the people she has gathered with for years going into the building. Suddenly they all seem like strangers to her. She will watch them for a little while longer. Then she will say goodbye to them in her heart. Then she will drive away.

I post this popular cartoon once in a while because it helps so many people feel validated in their difficult decision to leave the church.

This was me. Not exactly like this, but sort of. When I knew my time was up with the church, I was gone within a month. Very suddenly. 

But this cartoon captures the sadness and the resolve.

Do you identify with Sarah?

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1 comment

I have been there. I was a member of a church for something like 20 years…a charter member, actually. It was a church where my kids were raised – where my kids were the church’s kids, every member taking on some of the job of raising them. We were family. This congregation embraced me and saved me from the deepest despair of divorce, from the loneliness of single parenthood. They celebrated when I remarried and welcomed my wife into the fold as though she’d been a part of them forever. But the pastor decided we should take a position on the LGBTQ community and my world shattered. I realized what I had never seen before – that a congregation that proclaimed God’s love really just proclaimed that love for people just like them…only. One day someone said, “This is a congregation where I would be proud to invite my best friends!” and I realized the truth – my best friends are gay, and in no way did I think they would feel welcome in my congregation. After agonizing about it for a long time my wife and I made the decision – we couldn’t be a part of a congregation that didn’t proclaim God’s love for all without conditions. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Five years later we still mourn the church family we left, but we knew we had to.


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