For me, it started with a theological shift – a restlessness that I could no longer cover over and paste a smile on. And no one (but one dear friend who was in a similar frame of mind) in my IC world wanted to engage with these questions/thoughts. They looked like deer in the headlights when I would start talking about it.
At some point, I started to realize that the IC and the people in it would not change and that if I wanted change, I would either have to change back into what they wanted me to be (compliant and attentive) or that I would have to make a bigger change and leave that body of believers.
The catalyst for actually leaving did come about after a hurtful event centered around my pastor parents retiring from their church of 24 years and the vocational ministry and witnessing some hurtful things that were done to them. It made me question why I would want to remain a part of a group that could be so callous and unfeeling towards people who had “given it all” just like they had been taught/encouraged as young Christians.
That was the nail in the coffin. To say I am gun shy would be an understatement. I know wonder if having my children grow up in an IC in this day and age would be more harmful than good. So we are on the periphery of another IC that my parents and sister and her family attend. I cannot bring myself to jump in whole-heartedly because while they seem to be kinder of heart, I still see a lot of the “theological issues” going on in the practice of “church” there that first started to give me pause.
I don’t know that I have it in me to walk back into that system and bring my family with me. I am still longing to find an open consistent community without the tools of manipulation, control and the constant “self betterment” gospel that seems to be so popular now. I don’t need more seminars or quick guides to a better relationship with God. But people look at me like I have two heads when I express this. It seems to be more about “getting your kids into church” than considering their hearts and relationship with the Father.