January 10, 2011
Dear Mr. Farmer:
I know it’s been several months since I last saw you and I am amazed at the present state of your condition. Honestly, given your advanced age and your affliction I would have thought it impossible for you to hold onto even a coffe mug for any length of time. Yet there you were, Saturday night, with a superman-like grip on a rather large and presumably heavy grudge. A weaker person may have developed a hand cramp from holding on to something that big for 9 months and counting, but not you. I’m sure your doctors are as impressed as I am.
I know we haven’t talked much, or really any, since I chose to leave the church we both attended last March. However, given our lengthy friendship, I had always thought that a face to face encounter would be a happy occasion, regardless of how much time had passed. Therefore, when we were walking through the parking lot of my former church, and you were standing by your car puffing away on your cigarette, and refused to make eye contact with my family. although we all knew you saw us, I blew it off. Perhaps he was just REALLY into that cigarette, I thought. Upon going in to the fellowship hall for a fundraiser and social event, it quickly became evident that the incidnet that transpired in the parking lot was no fluke. While everyone else was genuinely glad to see us, it seemed that you didn’t see us at all. Nor did you appear to hear me speak directly to you, although you were probably only 1′ away and looking directly at me. My husband experienced the same treatment from you, and neither of us have any idea what we could have done to cause you to act in such a manner towards us. In a church envoirnment no less.
I understand that yourself, as well as the other members of , “our” church might be angry at us for leaving. Furthermore, I’m sure the fact that we deflected to another church on our charge, one that the people of your church don’t particularly care for, doesn’t help matters. Yesterday I relayed the story of what happened Saturday night to a mutual friend, who said she was treated similarly by you at that event, although not quite to the degree to which we were. Her theory is that you are upset with everyone for leaving. The division in your church is so blatant you want people to stay and fight for it, not to give up on it.
Hearing her say that reminded me of a statement you made on the facebook page of my sister 2 years ago when she declared her intentions of leaving the church via her facebook status. You told her not to leave, and said that if she allowed them to run her off, “they would win”. I realized then that I was in a very poisonous 3 church enviornment, and although it took me another year to make a change, I thought of your statement often. In fact, although I know it was not your intention, those very words were instrumental in my decision to leave your church. Outside of sporting events, an, “us v/s them” mentality is rarely a good thing, and when it’s so rampant that members are talking about it on facebook for all the world to see, true worship is impossible. Which is why I left, and I don’t regret it one bit. You see, now days I don’t leave church feeling worse than I did before I went. Now days, J and I don’t have horrible fights every Sunday because we are so miserable at church. Now days I love going to church, I don’t loathe it.
I find it amusing that Saturday night you would not speak to me, but “they” welcomed me with open arms. “They” made it a point to speak, and to hug, whereas you went out of your way not to. I want you to know that I’m really happy now. I don’t come home on Sunday afternoons and cry. I don’t spend the first part of my week bawling hysterically, and feeling the dislike for my church course through my veins like some kind of poison. J and I do not fight every Sunday. Church is not a black cloud hovering over our heads, waiting to drop it’s toxins on us. Our marriage is healthier, and our lives are better, and if that means you have one or two less soldiers in your imaginary army fighting, “them”, then so be it. I wish you the best, and if you need a hand with that grudge, there’s a guy named Jesus who would love to help.