Are you a Christian? Do you go to church? If you’re anything like most Christians I know, you probably go to church… a lot. But what if you were like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, stranded on a remote island, far removed from society and its helps? What if your only company was a volleyball named Wilson? What kind of Christian would you be in that situation?
That’s the situation I’ve placed myself in by abandoning my church membership. For any group of people, there is the temptation to put your best foot forward just in case the focus falls on you. It’s human nature to portray yourself ideally. But apart from having an audience to perform for, I come face to face with what God has to look at every day: the kind of Christian I actually am.
In 2003, I found a group of amazing people and together we started a church. These people were especially helpful through my twenties. Peers could commiserate with me about challenges encountered in a life of faith. Middle aged members helped guide us through missteps and unfamiliar territory. Elders with a wealth of life experience sailed out ahead of us all to offer wisdom.
As long as I had them, I felt sure to win! Not only were they great resources, I also came to genuinely love and respect them. When someone becomes that dear to me, I often tell them, “I don’t know what I would have ever done without you.” And then I thought “what if I HAD to do without them?” As strong as we felt together, I always believed we should have a plan… just in case we were ever apart.
I felt I should know how to be a Christian with or without community support, just like you might take a self-defense course in case you’re attacked while alone. I wanted to know I could “survive in the wild” if necessary. Though a fleeting thought, it was my premonition that such a day would come. True enough, it came for me in June 2011 when, after much consideration, I decided to leave my church.