So, in less than ten years we have seen what institutional religion has to offer.

GodsWorkThrough a fake hearing which saw “my” denomination spend thousands of dollars to build a fake case against me, my ministry was stripped away and I was ordered not to associate with my spiritual community. The charges: stealing indigenous culture and not using my voice right.

Then a congregation I served followed the road of malicious gossip and banned me from their presence. (They insist I wasn’t banned, just told not to associate with them!) The charges: unnamed, but the Elders had to “protect their minister”, who was the one gossiping. Oh, by the way, accusing someone of bad behaviour when they are not present is NOT gossip, according to this group.

FalseDoctrineWe started our own house group. It fit the needs of the small number who attended for a couple of years, a time to heal from institutional religion’s abuses. But once healed the members just faded away.

Through a friend we found a small group that we joined. When they began to study heresy (prosperity gospel) we challenged it. They chose to continue the study to feed their “understanding” rather than maintain friendship. When the study was over they did not invite us back.

1703646closedmindWe attended a Baptist congregation a few times, but they reject the baptism of other denominations, their anti-homosexual stand is too belligerent for love, and doctrinal conformity superceded personal spirituality.

For weeks we attended a congregation which is publicly evangelical. The teaching and congregational singing were quite satisfying. Only three people introduced themselves to us (and one of them was NOT the preacher). Twice they made speeches about how friendly they were, but never invited us to these “group-building” events. Finally, one of the ushers asked if we would like envelopes in order to reduce our taxes. Not, “Nice that you are joining us”, but let’s make a tax plan.

Next we attended a large congregation (by Canadian standards), a break-away group of evangelicals from a liberal denomination. The pastor has been there about two decades. No one introduced themselves, including the pastor, and no contact was made, even though we signed their “attendance sheet” each Sunday.

A congregation we feel at home in is just too far to drive to participate in the life of the group, and they have many things worth doing.

“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming” (Hebrews 10:25 God’s Word©). It should not be an impossible task to find believers who believe, evangelicals who evangelize or religious people who practice hospitality close enough to join.