“You may be seated.”
No, I’m going to run out the front door, screaming!
Oh, how many times I wanted to do that when visiting a new church. You see, my dad was a minister. I grew up in the church. If there was a non-church sanctioned Sunday morning activity I wasn’t allowed to attend it.
The only Sundays I missed church for the first 16 years of my life were because I was sick, and even then my mom popped in the VHS Bible cartoons.
It also meant that when we went on vacation, any vacation, if it crossed over onto Sunday we absolutely had to go to Sunday morning service.
Nothing breaks up the family trip to Disney World like sitting in an AC-lacking Kissimmee church, fanning myself with a program, being told of how I could never ever, ever, be good enough.
Good thing to hammer home with a 10-year-old.
Think that church’s motto was “break them early.”
But I digress. Anyway, what I’m getting at is I’ve been to a ton of churches over the years. At least while my father was alive. It’s been a bit touchy in recent years, but that’s a different topic and a different story.
Instead, I wanted to focus on how you know you’re at the wrong church. For any regular or even semi-regular church-goer, you know there is an important connection you make with certain congregations, and others are cold, sterile, and maybe even downright creepy (dare I say, cultist?).
Perhaps you don’t even realize you’re experiencing some of these red flags. I know I didn’t until I stepped away from regular church attendance. Once I did and began digesting my church-going excrescence the signs became much more pronounced.
1. You’re Being Back-Handed Judged
Here’s the thing. Far too many people in church are probably judging you.
Despite there being that, “you’ll be judged in the same way you judge others” portion of the Bible, people tend to skip over that part (it’s not the only part that’s skipped over).
There will be those who judge you on your clothes, on if you show up late, on if you’re showing off too much skin, on how much you tithe. Everything.