If Your Church is Silent Right Now—You Should Leave it

Sunday is coming.

Soon, millions of Americans will find themselves in the houses of worship that dot nearly every corner of this country; disparate buildings where they’ll gather under the guise of religion, of faith, of goodness.

Whether set in trappings that are ancient or modern, filled with polished pews, prayer mats, or plush concert seating—a multitude will leave their homes this weekend and purposefully head to those places to be part of redemptive community that seeks to perpetuate the heart of God in the world—or so the story goes.

You may be among the faithful making this weekly pilgrimage, and whether you’ve spent a month or a lifetime at your current spiritual home, I’m suggesting this might be a good time to leave it.

Now, you may need to follow God right out of the building in order to hold on to your soul.

Our country is experiencing a real-time Constitutional crisis and human rights emergency generated by our elected officials.
We have sustained an unprecedented and brazen act of terrorism committed by almost exclusively white people, many claiming faith in Jesus and quoting the Bible.
They literally killed people for a lie and waved Jesus flags all the while.

If there was ever a time when the Church should be visible and vocal, it should be now.
If there was ever a moment moral leaders were made for, it is this one.

If there ever was a day where spiritual leaders should stand bravely in front of their faithful and speak the hardest of truths, complaint and mass exodus be damned—it should be this one.

But it probably won’t happen. 

Many of these would-be prophets will be silent, out of cowardice, self-preservation, or worse yet, agreement with the sins of this Administration.
They will deftly dance around the conversation and preach around the issues.
They will sedate their audiences with flowery, intentionally vague prayers that pretend to speak but actually say nothing.
They will attempt to distract their flocks for an hour or so, and sidestep the urgency outside their buildings, because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to brave the turbulence that taking bold stands creates.

Many of the professed spiritual leaders in these faith communities will count on people filling their pews and prayer mats and chairs, not giving a damn enough to ask them to speak with absolute clarity about the present crisis against humanity in America.

You can’t let them be right.

Every white pastor, priest, and minister should be standing before their various communities this weekend and specifically naming this Administration’s violence.
They should be explicitly condemning these violations against humanity and calling their communities to do the same.
They should be directly confronting the privilege they have benefitted from and participated in.
They should be specifically naming Donald Trump’s stoking of violence as fully antithetical to the heart of their faith tradition.

If not, you may want to ask yourself what the point is and why you need to stay another day.

You may want to ask yourself what use the religion they espouse there actually is, if not to rescue the most vulnerable from the most powerful, if not to advocate for the least of these, if not to care for their neighbor as themselves.
If your faith leaders can’t find their prophetic voices to defend people from homegrown terrorists, are they really worth looking to for guidance on how to live one’s faith, know God’s will, or emulate Jesus?
If they have silent tongues and feet of clay in these days, why should you remain and nurture such moral impotence?

This isn’t about protecting the line between Church and State (not that this Administration cares at all), it’s about not separating believing and living. It’s about demanding that local churches and their leaders fulfill their greatest calling: delivering the Gospel of Good News to the poor and the orphans and the widows, regardless of the cost.

If you’re a member of a church led by a white minister, and the leaders there don’t specifically reference the terrorism at the Capitol and elsewhere, and push back hard against it—you should ask them why they aren’t.

Ask them directly, and if you aren’t satisfied with their answer, seriously consider leaving then and there. This may be your greatest spiritual declaration, the most concrete affirmation of your beliefs that you’ll ever make.

If you are keeping company with polite cowards and smiling frauds whose faith is quiet, you may need to empty the pews and exit the buildings, and go loudly speak the words of truth and compassion and justice that need to be spoken right now.

You may need to fill their silent voids with your rafter-shaking voice.

You may need to follow your deepest faith convictions right out the door and toward the families assailed in these moments.

If the people of God where you gather this week, will not bring mercy, love, and goodness while such things are in such great demand—that may be your cue to exit.

You may need to leave the church to find your religion.

162 thoughts on “If Your Church is Silent Right Now—You Should Leave it

  1. Pingback: Should You Leave a Church for Political Reasons? | Brandon Colbert

  2. Political pastors of the day sure seem hellbent on getting in the way of worshiping God. It’s difficult to take this message seriously when the challenge of serving illegal immigrants well has been a serious problem for decades. You and so many like you are late to the game. Your lack of voice and action on this matter (for so many years) is precisely why these very vulnerable individuals and families have been forced to live in the margins of our society for so long. Supporting legal immigration laws is a much more civil and humane way to embrace those you are suddenly so concerned about.

    • I don’t support chuches that see any person in any stage or leadership as sent by the Lord. That’s ridiculous

  3. John, I don’t always get the chance to read all your posts, so maybe you’ve made these points before:
    1. I struggle with continuing to call myself a “Christ-follower” when someone else who also claims that title goes to the Supreme Court to fight for the right to treat anyone he disagrees with like crap.
    2. When others who claim to follow Christ put their hope of redeeming the culture not in God or His ability to give them the wisdom and strength to to it themselves, but in the government. They, like the Pharisees before them, chant, “We have no king but Caesar!”

    It makes me heartsick.

  4. Pingback: Please, Progressive Christian Blogosphere, Stop Telling People to Leave Their Church – Southwest Conference Blog

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  6. All these religious leaders claim to be your link to God. My question has always been “If God is all-powerful and inside each one of us, why do you need these intermediaries?” The answer is that you don’t. If God exists, and you believe in Him, communicate with Him directly, look within yourself to do so. The primary reason for the existence of religions is control. They want your obedience and your money. They’re parasites. I was a good little Catholic until I was old enough to see through the hypocrisy and bullshit. I left the church, more than 50 years ago, and have never regretted a moment. Be responsible for your life and your actions.

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