Usually when a Catholic leaves the church it is not an overnight decision because of the ramifications. They could be cut-off from friends, family, etc. There are major consequences with a decision like that. Because of the potential consequences they almost become a slave to the church at that point because it is what they were brought up in and just cannot leave. They would rather stay in something and be miserable than leave and experience a fresh and vibrant church experience. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Guess what? We have to stop picking on the Catholics because this happens in ALL denominations even non-denominations.
I have come across many people who are locked into a church but really are quite miserable. They are either wanting to leave but just cannot come to grips with making the change or they would be lost without the drama. So we come down on Catholics but I have met many others from all denominations that if they were raised in it, then for them to leave will cause relatives, family, etc. to be upset with them and not have a relationship with them like they used to have. It boggles my mind how many people stay in a setting that they are clearly not happy with. I have always been the type that if I don’t like something…I just won’t do it or be a part of it anymore. There was a time when I was in my early 20’s that I did not enjoy the way my church was going so I left. I came back but only for a bit before I took my first youth pastorate. Even with my “radical” messages and approaches to ministry I find old friends cutting me off and relatives sending me mail that is less than flattering. It bothers me deeply that my best friend from my teen years has blocked me all together on Facebook. I have to say though that I have to do what I feel the Lord leading me to do. If I don’t I will be miserable. There are too many Christians out there living out the words in, Steve Taylor’s song “I Want to be a Clone.”
I truly believe our church experience should be a great one. Granted we will never find that “PERFECT” church. Stick around in any one church long enough and you are bound to find something you don’t like. However, the good should FAR outweigh the bad. It isn’t always the easy choice but once you do make a choice and settle in…you will have never thought church could be so great!