“No church is perfect”. This is a thing commonly said to people who are leaving or have left a church, whether they’ve left a specific community, or have stopped attending any church altogether.
Along with ‘we’re not perfect, just forgiven‘, it ought to be struck from the arsenal of cliches churches use to try to get people to come, or more likely, to comfort themselves when people decide not to come.
These cliches allow churches to ignore real abuses and real problems that people have with the church, focusing instead on a strawman. But no one really leaves church because people are ‘imperfect’, and to suggest so minimizes the real reasons they leave.
They leave church because of irreconcilable doctrinal differences, or because people are cruel, or because they don’t find love there.
They leave because they’ve been spiritually abused and the sound of worship songs trigger panic attacks.
They leave the church as a whole because of the culture of misogyny, and the cover ups of child abuse, and the victim blaming and the way churches judge people and ignore their own faults, covering those faults with claims of ‘God’s forgiveness’, all while pretending to be better, holier, more blameless than the non-Christians around them.
Sometimes people leave because they just don’t believe, and there’s nothing tying them down to a controlling culture any more.
They leave for varied and complex reasons, and I won’t tolerate them being minimized.
Imperfect we can deal with. But the church has bigger problems than imperfection.