Leaving a church that stunts one’s spiritual growth does not call for pity.

March 18, 2013

“No pity party” (a cartoon, by David Hayward, the “Naked Pastor”)
At a time when quite a bit of attention is being paid to the “ religious independents” or “nones,” David Hayward wants readers to realize an important message through this cartoon and his accompanying text. It is this: there are times when some people may realize that they need to leave a particular church or church in general, and to do so is an act of courage borne out of a realization that they’re being hindered rather than helped in their personal spiritual journey. What these people need from others is understanding and validation in their decision—a decision they believe is right for them, not somebody else. Hayward says, “I think people who pity those who’ve left the church have unrealistic ideas about the church and that it is unquestionably required and beyond question. They see those outside the church as outside of, well, salvation and lost. Second-class citizens. Plan B. Spiritual invalids.” On a related note, see David Hayward’s one-minute video, “Show them your ‘But.’” Both the video and cartoon are from his Naked Pastor blog on Patheos.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. 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).

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