What do you do when you feel you’ve “outgrown” your church?

April 11, 2013

David Hayward, the “Naked Pastor,” asks “Have you outgrown your container?”
You’ve probably had the experience of seeing a potted plant outgrow its container. The roots can’t find more space to extend, the stems and leaves are bending and drooping over the sides or getting twisted and tangled in their efforts to reach higher, searching for more room. The container is simply no longer suitable, it’s too confining and it’s time for something bigger that doesn’t hinder growth. In this post, David Hayward’s cartoon and commentary illustrate the inner conflict that persons may experience as the realization dawns that they have outgrown their “container.”  Their church community, where they may have at one time found nurture and challenge, no longer allows them to grow, to ask different questions, to voice emerging doubts, to bring up new ideas and challenge older ones. They need to move on from their too-limiting container. And that’s okay says Hayward. He provides a link to his earlier posting of the same cartoon and suggests reading the responses it elicited.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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