wishing you a happy new year . . .
I come from the perspective that organized religion/revealed religion is man's way of explaining God. It seems most obvious when revealed religions reflects so many traits of man's personality. (I did not fact check this but accept the comparison's relativity.)
In order to succeed at life and at our occupation we must grow, take in new knowledge. I believe, we cannot receive something new “with hands filled with the old”. In 1976, I came to the place where I decided to let go in order to receive by leaving the Christian ministry. Without a doubt, I am not the only minister to make that choice. According to various surveys, 1,500 pastors will leave ministry each month due to burnout or contention within their churches. Craig Cable, the National Director of Lifetree Cafe, has had the opportunity to work closely with hundreds of pastors from various denominations. Pastors have shared their fears about and frustrations with the church with Cable. One word that Cable would use to describe their feelings is that they feel “stuck”. They know changes are needed but can't seem to get enough church members on board to make changes.
In a new study titled Church Refugees, sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope shared their insights resulting from over 100 interviews with people who said they are done with church. This group of people is referred to as the “Dones”. The Dones felt frustrated and held back in church. These are four reasons they left:
1. They wanted community
2. They wanted to affect the life of the church but encountered bureaucracy
3. They wanted a conversation but got lectures
4. They wanted meaningful engagement with the world.
On a blog post on HolySoup.com by Tom Schultz titled, “The Rise of the Dones,” many people who self-identified with the term “done” described how they were doing more in ministry after having left the church. The bureaucracy they encountered in the church no longer encumbers them. Due to the great response to this article, the website TheDones.com was created to provide a safe place to find support as well as community.
If you're reading this and you're a “Done”, please know you're not alone. Be encouraged that God is doing amazing things outside the four walls of the church. Amazing things are possible in your life today. I ask that you seek to follow your passion! Take time to enter the Stillness and Silence, absent from space and time, to learn from your Self. There are many wonderful and good works to do in our world that is growing in fear and appearing to lack so many vital things. Let’s do those things we feel in our heart to do. And, in so doing, let us build a community of like-minded folk desiring to follow the guidance that comes from within, the Divine Source.
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Christianity is my inherited religion. For that reason I feel comfortable in participating in its critique. Though the wording may be offputting for some, I believe my friend has pointed out an aspect of the faith, in its practice, that needs addressing. From my observations, the world can stand more folk following teachings as those of the beatitudes.
S.L. Brannon, B.A., M.Ed., D.Div. You can learn more about me on facebook and linkedin.