Should I go back?

On my vacation I met with many people who have left the church. They are people I know and love. So from the start I want to say that these are generalizations. I do realize others might have more positive things to say. But what I hear from the people I talk with is pretty consistent. This is not my opinion. I'm not making judgments. This is just what I hear:
  1. When they've been gone from church for a while and return they are all shocked by the strange lingo that people talk. It is a coded and getto-ized language that no one else understands but insiders.
  2. When they go back more than once, suddenly there is a huge feeling of expectation that weighs down on them. They know that if they commit at all, they are going to have to meet certain expectations.
  3. Although few admit it, shame is an important and powerful tool used to keep sins, weaknesses, struggles and differences concealed.
  4. One quickly learns that although indulgences ended officially many years ago, money is still an effective means to earn rank, privilege and allowances within a community.
  5. One discovers almost immediately what the belief system to be embraced is. Critical and inquisitive thinking is generally not welcomed.
  6. Although it is rarely ever explicit, competition and the disdain for other religions and even other churches percolates through the attitudes, language and actions of the community.
  7. Orientation, condition and status (examples: divorced, single mom, living together, gay, addict, etc.) are the equivalent of brands that are accepted or not.
  8. If you come and go, in the end no one really seems to notice or care.
  9. You are expected to grow only if it enables conformity.
  10. Even though, if you keep going, you feel you are being knitted into the community, there is a strange feeling that there is something conditional about your acceptance and membership.

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