I’ve been following the posts and the comments about church attendance with interest. I grew up in church and used to be on the staff of one. At the moment, I fall into the non-church going camp. I certainly can’t speak for every Christian who doesn’t go to church, but I would like to make a request to church goers on behalf of myself and my non-church going Christian friends. Please don’t assume that you know why we’re not in a church on Sunday morning or that our lack of attendance automatically means that we’re not serious about our relationship with God or don’t want accountability or something. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I and some of my circle of friends stopped going to church BECAUSE we wanted to find God, not because we didn’t. Their stories are not mine to tell, and mine won’t fit in the comments section, but the common theme is being crazy desperate for some redemption and healing and having to look for that outside of the institutional church because most churches are not a safe place for broken people to tell the truth about themselves – especially when the church has been the thing that has done some of the breaking. I know that my alienation from the church is not ideal, but it’s the best I can do right now. I am humbled and blessed by the gut-level honesty and acceptance and desire to do good of my friends and encouraged by the strange and painful ways that the Spirit is healing me at this stage of my journey. If you’ve found a faith community that encourages and nurtures you and helps you find God – that’s great. I wish all churches were like that. Most aren’t, so if you could extend some grace to those of us with a different experience, we would gratefully appreciate all the mercy we can get. We already know we need it.