Why Julie Neidlinger Walked Out of Church

I just came across a post written in the beginning of August that has made it’s rounds called Why I Walked Out of Church by Julie Neidlinger. I suggest reading the post above before continuing. There is also a good interview with her at Internet Monk.

She says a lot, so it’s hard to summarize. Basically, she’s expressing her frustration with aspects of church (sub)culture. I think she puts words to what a lot of people wonder about a lot of church culture. She has some good insight, I think.

“What I’m saying is that I can’t stand the phoniness, or trendiness, or sameness — or whatever I’m trying to say here — that the church seems to catch onto at the tail end, not even aware of how lame it is.”

“Instead of helping them get on into adulthood, we’ve introduced single’s groups — in the name of helping the unmarried, of course — which are mainly youth groups for those in their 20’s. Which, instead of helping people not be single actually encourages them to never grow up and, instead, use the group as their relationship fix.”

“It nails it on the idea of how we segregate by age and, sadly, create a self-feeding monster that means teens look to each other for cues and kids look to each other for cues, and the adults “leading” them are pandering to them to get their attention. The end result? Idiocy. Never-growing up.”

“Churches now tend to focus on the family. This is good, if you have a family. But, for those of us who are not married or do not have kids or a family, it really sucks.”

I particularly like, in her InternetMonk interview, when she said that the message were told from Church culture about singleness and marriage is “completely schizophrenic.” So true. I’ve heard so many conflicting views of singleness, relationships, and marriage from Christians, that I really have no clue.

As for singles groups. What is the purpose of them? I’ve been told that they are not places to ‘get a mate,’ but are about family. That actually backs up Julie’s point about them being a reason to not get married. I’ve also been told, in that context, to not spend much time alone with the opposite sex unless it’s a serious relationship, but of course, it can be awfully hard to get a know a person if you can’t spend time with them. I liked spending time with working singles when I did, but after awhile, I got bored, especially as friends would continually move on as they got married or moved away, and while the relationships were nice, I just kindof wondered, “Is that it?” About the only reason I can see for going to a singles’ group now would be explicity to look for someone to date, and that would have to be at another church. I’d rather go social dancing…

Thanks to Ramblings of Passion for referencing the post.