Christian Living

Are You an Outsider at Church?

Heed the Call to Rebel Against Status Quo Religion

All my life I’ve attended church, and throughout that time I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. Although participating in a faith community, I never truly felt part of it. For the first years of my life this was because those on the inside effectively kept me at a distance, all while offering some degree of acceptance.

(I’ve covered this in my not-yet-published memoir God I Don’t Want to Go to Church. Though I’ve written the book, I’m not ready to send it out into the world. It’s been through two developmental edits, but it still needs polish.)

More recently I’ve been an outsider at church because of my own doing. It’s a character flaw, of sorts.

Questioning the Status Quo

I have this insatiable desire to constantly ask, “Why?” I’m always questioning church practices and challenging traditions that I don’t find rooted in Scripture. The common response—either directly or indirectly—is “But we’ve always done it this way.” This causes my spiritual angst to boil.

As I do this, I contest status quo religion, seeking a better way—a more biblical way. Though I often say I desire to worship God and serve him in a fresh, new way, the reality is that I seek to worship God and serve him in an old, scripturally sound way.

My spiritual impertinence makes people uncomfortable. They don’t like someone who confronts what they hold dear, even if their affection for it comes out of an unexamined, lifelong habit that has little or no biblical basis for truth.

I make them uncomfortable, and they keep me an arm’s length away.

Religious Rebellion

In this way, I’m a religious rebel at heart. I always have been. My role model for this quest is Jesus. May I be more like him.

I celebrate him as he continually confronts status quo religion; as he frequently attacks the religious leaders of the day for their hypocrisy; and most comforting of all, as he embraces those on the outside—like me—as he sharply criticizes those on the inside. Oh, how his acceptance warms my soul.

No Longer an Outsider at Church

With Jesus, and through Jesus, I’m no longer an outsider at church looking in. Instead, I’m with him. And that’s all that matters.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 replies on “Are You an Outsider at Church?”

Hi Peter. Although my past experience with the institutional church is not the same as yours, I sense that we both seek a more authentic church experience. I have good news. From conversations that I’ve had with many other Christians, I’m learning that we are not alone. I truly believe that God is beginning to draw like minded believers together and that the changes we seek are going to happen but maybe not in the ways we might have anticipated. Be patient and speak the truth in love.

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