I have not left The Church
Anyone can call themselves a Christian. Practically anyone can call themselves a church. Anyone can go to a church. It’s really not that hard to pretend you are a Christian: you just say that you are one. No one bats an eye if you never go to church. Besides killing someone, everything else is pretty much acceptable by this generation. So the people who DO go to church HAVE to be Christians right?
People have said that we should be the church rather than just go to church (some of which imply that you don't need to go to church to be the church); I think that it expresses a dissatisfaction with sitting in church once or twice a week and that being good enough to be a Christian (a person who confesses that they follow the teachings of Christ, literally a little Christ). With this dissatisfaction has come a justification for many to leave churches altogether, implying that they can be the Church while isolating (through their hatred towards the Church) a large amount of Christians who go to a church building.
I have known people who have “left the church” and believe themselves to still be Christians and, I would assume, believe that they are being the church as well, but the way they left it has put me in this odd position of feeling like I am somehow inferior since I didn’t. Although there are people who probably fit into the label of having left the church but do not spew hate, the ones who leave this way reek. I won’t for a second say that I have not cast Jesus in a bad light for my bad actions that people associate with a Christian and, by proxy, Jesus, but I have watched people leave a church and tear people down with them. The stench of the self-entitlement is overbearing.
Maybe I don't understand. I have not left the Church. Maybe I have failed to see the hidden darkness that is lurking within the Church as an organization and one day I will be enlightened to a higher vision of what being the church is, but from what I can see in the Bible, we are meant to be together.
In Acts 2:42-47, Christians helped take care of each other and met together often and in Acts 5:42, we see the Christians meeting at the temple and in their homes. Hebrews 10:25 expresses the importance of meeting together to encourage each other. The only thing I can see is that Christians should hang out more, which is brings us back to meeting so infrequently that people are dissatisfied. There is a reason that God tells us to gather together as people of a common faith, it helps us. We find encouragement and love together. We can help each other grow. Empty Church believes that we can know God better through community. We have discussions to find what we truly believe and perhaps find belief that is true. How can they know us by our love if we cannot love each other? The world sees this and it shows them that either our Jesus is fake or His followers are.
If you have access to attending gatherings of believers (often called going to church) but have decided that meeting together to learn, to worship, and for accountability is not important to the Christian faith, please don't call yourself a Christian. You might follow moralistic teachings of Jesus in hope to one day ascend to heaven but that’s what most religions boil down to, you are not a Christian, you just happen to find your sense of morality from Jesus. If that seems harsh, I’m not sorry, because you don’t even take the whole Bible for your morality and you certainly have missed Christians being Jesus’ body if you are busy cutting fingers off. I’ve played the moral Christianity game, there’s nothing in it, another religion can do just as well if not better. Many religions have produced “good” people but “No one is good except God alone.”
It’s true that the Bible does not refer to the Church as a building to attend, but as either a group of Christians within an area or as all Christians, if you leave “the church” and cut them down I don't see how you can be apart of the Church. How does that make sense? All I see is hurt, bitterness, and arrogance prevailing.
Go to a church and be the Church. Meet from house to house if you like, but the early church still had spiritual authority figures over them. There were local leaders and traveling authorities (like Paul) who wrote letters to settle disputes. If you are leaving “the church” just to be your own authority, you are probably in the wrong.
I realize that if you want to go that you will rationalize the decision like any other wrong decision we make, but I have to plead with you to stay connected with other Christians. Don’t allow yourself to get to the point where you cut yourself and others off. If you are being a wolf, stop! The name “Christian” has already been tainted to the point where we almost should stop using it for a while until it looses its bad connotation, but maybe it's just time to take it back. If you are not willing to be honest and genuine with your Christianity then do us all a favor and just drop the word. It would be a big help. Sometimes I wonder if I personally dropped the word that it would help real Christians, but if I did that I think I would be just doing it to be hip and cool saying that I was a follower of “the way” or something else. What I can do is just be honest about my shortcomings, not put myself on a pedestal, and pray that God helps me reflect Him the best that I can.