interior of corridor with mirror wardrobe

The Family That Left (A Poem)

Editor’s note: This poem fuses together multiple stories heard over a 10 year period of those who have left the church. It stands as a window into the reasons young families give for leaving and does not reflect any one church or one congregation.

By Jonathan David Faulkner

We are the Family who left

Do you remember us?

We came for a month

Sat fourth row from the back?

In that time many people said “Welcome”

But were we welcomed?

Like that first Sunday we came

My wife and four kids

We piled in the pew and sang the songs

We enjoyed the sermon

About how Christ’s love transforms us

The peace was passed, so was the plate

Do you remember that date?

Trouble started from the time we entered

The very people who shook our hands

Sat in the pews sparring sideways glances

Because my wife was wearing shorts

And my sons hair looked a little unkept

You shook hands and said “Glad you’re here”

Then you gossiped about what we wear

We had been told by our friends about the judgment

Past members who had left for the same reason

Who had had the same experiences

Who were no longer even Christians

Because of the way you treated them

You wanted the sound of children’s feet

But you wounded the heart that within them beat

We tried to talk to the Pastor

He was all about how we could get involved

But we had concerns  and we needed resolved

They were brushed off as “just how it is”

When the Bible says it is to be different

So many hurt by the church with regrets

1 in 3 saying the church is full of hypocrites

But no one wants to address this

No one wants to admit these sins

And so another sister is abused

Another brother is demeaned

This has nothing to do with being “woke”

But everything to do with the words Jesus spoke

If you want to reach the lost

Then you have to start paying the cost

Comfort has become your idol

And you sit in your zones idle

Gossip and slander come from your lips

While you try to give unwanted parenting tips

How long oh Lord,

Will you forget the wounded forever

How long Oh lord, will the young girl cry

While the teenage boy ponders suicide

How long until the word of God is proclaimed

It seems day after day it is profaned

By Church people

The very ones who claim your name

How long oh Lord

Will you leave us stranded here

I see my sisters and brothers floating in the wreckage

We reach for each other and pull each other to safety

Meanwhile the evil doer goes unpunished

The wicked prosper in your church

And we just leave it hurt.

We are the Family who left

Do you remember us?

We came for a month

Sat fourth row from the back?

In that time many people said “Welcome”

But were we not welcomed.

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