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There Are Plenty Of Churches Out There, Don't Go To One That Is The Wrong Fit
I don't have a religious bullying story per se because I will leave a church before it gets to that point. Unlike a job or a home which is a fundamental necessity, I am free to walk away when my gut tells me something isn't right.
The red flags that lead to my decision to discontinue a church are: laity/leadership who treat rich parishioners as VIPs and ignore the poor ones; Couples and families treated more favorably than single parishioners; a lack of warmth when you walk into the church that tells me God isn't there; gossip disguised as prayer requests; the concept that the church should consume your life and members should devote all their resources to it and avoid the outside world; and leadership telling you how to live your life when you're doing nothing wrong.
I quit a church singles ministry once because the leader expressed concern over my socializing with another attendee of a higher socioeconomic class than I. Mind you we weren't dating, only chatting after the meetings. He ceased talking to me after her lecture about the importance of being "equally yoked" in all ways. Before that happened, I didn't realize there are christian churches in this day and age that have a caste system! I was brought up to believe brothers/sisters in christ are equal!
More recently, I decided to discontinue the church of my folks because of the coldness of the pastor towards me. My folks devote a lot of money and time to this church; I am financially unable to do so. Also as a private person it was unnerving that my hardships were shared with her and others by my folks (for the purpose of prayer, of course) and I felt judged. I had no idea depression is a sin until the pastor preached it one Sunday!
I started attending another church that has a different feel and so far so good. I don't hate religion or church because of bad press or my experiences. It is the human element, not the divine one that spoils things.
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