Posted by: celticanglican | July 4, 2007

Seeking the Living Among the Dead in Our Spiritual Lives

Why do so many choose to remain members of denominations they are no longer in agreement with? This has always puzzled me, but in discussions with others who’ve made (often radical) changes in their membership, I’ve come to realize there are reasons, some of which I’ve highlighted below. As individual Christians, we need to be better prepared to help those in transition.

“I’ve always been a (whatever), so was my daddy, and so was his daddy before him. My grandad was a preacher. I don’t agree with all of it, but so what? Why should I change?”

A lot of people remain within their family’s denomination because that’s what they’re used to. However, it’s worth remembering that whether to remain or become a member of a denomination should be left to the individual. No one should feel pressure to remain in a denomination that they don’t totally agree with. More importantly, no one should feel as though  they have to remain in a church where they can’t use their spiritual gifts. For example, one with the gift of healing probably would stagnate in a cessationist denomination, while one called to be a lay Eucharistic minister wouldn’t be able to fulfill their calling in a denomination that has no Eucharist. Most families from healthy church backgrounds will come to accept such changes in time.

“I no longer agree with my church, but my family would disown me if I changed”

In some traditions, the church and the family structure are so intertwined  that to leave the church means to also leave one’s family  While not commonplace, sometimes to leave one denomination considered to be a part of one’s ethnic identity for another is seen as abandoning one’s people. Anyone in this situation should seek the advice of a member of the clergy, and be willing to have a heart-to-heart discussion with their family.
“When you get burned as often as I was, you get suspicious of other religious groups. I won’t go through that again”

Many are afraid to find a new church home because of bad experiences. The prospect of getting involved in another church brings about fears of being hurt again. Spiritual abuse in & of itself is difficult to recover from, especially when verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse are involved. In this case, you may want to seek out churches different from the one you were hurt by and consider speaking to the pastor before becoming too involved.

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