As a kid, I loved going to church because it was fun: playing hide and seek in the basement, climbing trees in the front yard, debating with my Sunday school friends over the most effective torture methods, the dessert table at potlucks, singing, hanging out for hours in the library, arguing with my teachers over the interpretation or application of a new idea.
People at church made me feel special. People at church made me feel important. People at church made me think.
But something happened while I was away at college. And when I came back, church just wasn’t fun any more.
People no longer seemed to care about me. They were more interested in the children that filled our vacation Bible school and Sunday school programs.
People no longer praised my work. Instead, they made me feel guilty when the service I offered as a gift didn’t meet their standards or expectations.
People no longer wanted me to think. They were threatened by my questions and sometimes wondered aloud if I were even a Christian.
Of course, these are sweeping generalizations. I did have positive experiences as an adult in the church. But not enough to convince me it was worth my while to stay.
Sometimes, looking back, I wonder, “Is there really anything wrong with the church, or is the problem with me?” I want to believe it’s just me. But I can’t. That would be too easy.
Is there really anything wrong with the church, or is the problem with me?