Why I Stopped Going to Church
A few years ago, I watched an online sermon from a mega church I was attending at that time. A friend of mine had suggested I watch it after a discussion we had. From what I remember, the sermon talked about the effects of premarital sex and what the Bible has to say about it. Towards the end of the message, the pastor started talking about how homosexuality is a sin. He then paraphrased the following verses:
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV
He then went on to tell about a something he either read or heard about a pastor who was on the radio answering questions. I think he said someone called in and asked why the church didn’t accept gays in church. The pastor said that gays are always welcome in church and love on them. If I remember correctly, the pastor said they could come listen to sermons, participate in worship, attend church functions, but would not be able to take on a leadership role. When I heard that, it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I would never be allowed to be a spiritual leader no matter where I attended. During the time I watched the sermon by the pastor of the mega church, I had not fully come out. He said, “We must love the sinners, but hate the sin.” You can only imagine how ‘dirty’ I felt.
I grew up going to church just about every Sunday. I participated in Children’s Choir, attended Vacation Bible School in the summer, studied scriptures for the week’s Sunday school lesson, went to church camp, and spent countless hours memorizing the names of the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. As I got older though, I didn’t attend as much. In 2010, I had a spiritual awakening, and began to attend the mega church on a regular basis.
Slowly I began to slip away from going after hearing the end of the sermon in 2011. I have never lost my belief in my faith. I lost faith in the church. I have always known that I had a calling on my life to serve the needs of others. The one place I felt like I belonged soon became the place that I avoided. I stopped going to one group that introduced me to new friends and was like a support system for all of us single moms. I felt if the leader of this group found out about my sexuality that she would ban me from attending. Besides, if I ever wanted to serve as a small group leader, I wouldn’t be able to do so. All because of one small fraction of who I am and being attracted to the same sex. I was not going to be of use to them, so why stick around?
Over the past two years, I have been on a spiritual journey of my own. I have researched and have asked myself, ‘What is God’s true view about homosexuality?’ I found out that God loves me for who I am. God is not angry with me or other LGBTs out in the world. It’s some people’s perception that He is.
My mother recently asked me when I was going to start attending church again. I told her I am slowly warming up to it, but fear is still holding me back. I have come to realize that I can help others without being a leader in a church setting. I can still serve people regardless of my sexuality. I am a good person even though I have flaws in my character. I will eventually go back, but not anytime soon.