One of the subtle lies of the charismatic church is that there’s a perfect way, a better understanding, a purer worship, a more insightful teaching to be found in their fellowship. They hook people this way, offering prime real estate, so to speak—the best of God.
The result is that most who buy into this lie find it difficult or impossible to return to “normal” church again.
They are addicted to the music for the most part—loud, hypnotic, and repetitive—having no understanding of how music can manipulate the human brain into believing it has had an in-depth religious experience. The sixties drug culture employed it well.
They are addicted to the entertainment they receive in church. Services are designed—complete with special lighting and, in some cases, smoke machines—to reach into the hearts and minds of men and move them—for God, of course. But with pounding music, emotionally charged videos and dramatic sermons by hip and happening front men that “still small voice” becomes unnecessary.
Yet God does not abandon His own. In the quiet moments through the week, that Voice was the one that led you out.
And now you don’t know where to go to church. All other churches seem dry, the worship lifeless. You are like a junky needing a fix but knowing the drug holds no nourishment.
Hurt from the emotional pounding you endured just to break free (your so-called church friends think you are on the wrong path and quickly forget you); you resolve not to trust any church. You can stay in this place, alone, a kind of controlled self-protection. But that verse about forsaking the fellowship nags.
I don’t have your answer, other than to say detoxify yourself. God is not a sugar ball you shoot into your veins on Sunday. Get back to basics. Read the Bible, find a place to serve after you’ve had some healing, get down and wash others’ feet and lose sight of yourself and what you want. You can always dance to loud worship music in your living room.
I was fortunate to plug back into my childhood church. The people accepted me back without judgment, even though this is the same church I spurned as “too controlled” in my search for “More!” It is still a bit more controlled than I like (there’s this rush to get the first service finished before we create a traffic jam with the incoming second service.) But we are humans frail in our ways seeking the grace of a loving God.
This frailty, this lack of knowing it all, allows me to feel safe. I am not manipulated by the music or the preacher. (I am not told to tithe or God won’t bless me!) I am advised to read the Bible through the week and look for God in the people and happenings of the everyday, to serve as Christ served. Now, I teach Junior High Sunday School and hope one sentence captures the bunny trails of their minds.
What I like about this place is its motto: We are disciples of Jesus Christ, encouraging all people to become His fully devoted followers.
Now I learn how to be and become more like Jesus. I am not being entertained. I am being transformed, fueled by a commitment, a focus, who is Christ. It’s a process, a journey of ups and downs, but my God is patient and full of grace, compassionate and loving. He takes me in and receives me as His own.