- After my dad died in a car accident, the church did not know how to deal with my mom as a single mother. I realized the church was not who they claimed to be.
- My wife and I grew up hearing about what terrible people we were...all we ever felt was guilt and shame. Who needs that? We consider ourselves "spiritual" people, but have not darkened the church doors in a very long time.
- My mom was divorced and that was looked down upon in our church. When I saw how she was treated, I decided church was not for me.
These are just a few examples. Although I realize that sometimes our expectations of community can be unrealistic, it saddens me to think that a community founded on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ has left this mark on people's lives.
The recognition of the power of community has prompted some recovering church-goers to form an online friendship that seems to be a source of healing. Communitas Collective is full of shared stories of pain and struggle, but also of hope and re-imagination. Although many people have left the institutional church, they are seeking ways to follow God AND they are still seeking community. If you've never visited this site, I encourage you to visit and listen to the conversation that's taking place. I am encouraged by the honesty, the vulnerability and the passion that I sense among this group. It makes me wonder what would happen if churches today would dare to ask their neighbors who have left the church "why?". Perhaps then we would have the opportunity to listen, to begin to heal and to imagine our future together.