Now this is not a scientific poll, and the sample size is small. So I'm not going to draw any national conclusions.
But this is what I got back within MINUTES of asking the question:
From a straight, white, cisgender male, I received comments about how each person's relationship with Jesus is different. Then I read this heartbreaking sentence: "It's important that I separate myself from the greater church that hates, discriminates, casts out those that are the most deserving of love for the sake of appearances and money." This is a guy the church would love to have, but his heart for those the church doesn't want is what keeps him outside with the outcasts rather than inside with the respectable.
From someone who is in a same sex relationship:
We've been asked to leave a dozen churches over the years. We finally found a UCC home and felt welcomed until we became activists. After that we were treated like bastards at a family reunion. It simply hurt too much to try again.Asked to leave churches. Treated like bastards.
I don't wonder why people don't come to church. I get it.
What I wonder is why churches are working so hard to keep people out.
Maybe it's Religious but not Spiritual: to have a specific way (religion) but not the spirit, the breath, the life, the love to reach out to the hurting, to those who need healing.
It breaks my heart that this is still happening, even in my own denomination, in the name of Christ.
Still, these are people of faith who can see past the hurt the church has caused to see the love of Jesus. They are believers not because of the church, but in spite of the church. The church had become a stumbling block to them, and they have overcome it.
Maybe those of us who are Spiritual and Religious need to spend more time outside the churches, meeting people where they are, and loving them whether they come to church or not. Because Christianity is not about the numbers in worship, nor the amount in the offering plate, not the beauty of the sanctuary, nor the chops of the praise band, nor the fame of the pastor. Christianity, at its root, is about grace and love, poured out without limit, to all. We, as church leaders, have to learn to be conduits of grace and love rather than restrictions in the flow.