Within a few minutes, the four of us sat down to eat. A third group, sadly, chose to jettison their faith completely.They grew tired of feeling stuck and trapped in their spiritual journey.Starbucks and the New York Times were better companions for Sunday mornings.There was a time in my life when I wanted more than anything else to be one of those church leavers.
Peter Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City, a large, multiracial church with more than seventy-three countries represented. The kids haven't seen you."I put my head down and slumped my shoulders, hoping my humility before her would evoke mercy. Susan returned from the bathroom and John continued talking. Unconsciously I had been thinking: I hope I am a good-enough Christian. Pretending was safer than honesty and vulnerability.
On a hot, humid July Sunday, they made the long, arduous drive from Connecticut, with all the predictable traffic, to sit through our three services. They saw the same patterns of emotional conflict inside the church as outside. Other church leavers include those who remained in the church but simply became inactive.
Between the second and third service John pulled me aside to let me know they hoped to get some time to talk with Geri and me. But my greater concern was what their pastor, a friend of mine, would think. Geri and I would occasionally glance at each other. After many years of frustration and disappointment, realizing that the black-and-white presentations of the life of faith did not fit with their life experience, they quit—at least internally.
It wasn't until the pain exposed how much was hiding under my surface of being a "good Christian" that it hit me: whole layers of my emotional life had lain buried, untouched by God's transforming power.
I had been too busy for "morbid introspection," too consumed with building God's work to spend time digging around in my subconscious.