Hi, everyone, I’m new to the Forum. This is a great place!
My login name is Cat. On other Christian boards, I call myself “Cat in the Window.” There is a reason for this name.
Two years ago, I was asked to leave our Evangelical Free Church in America (EFCA–it’s an evangelical Protestant denomination). I had gone to the pastors privately (including a woman pastor) and questioned some of the church procedure and schedules. The Administrative Pastor had a habit of scheduling two or three things at once, and had scheduled some meetings at the same time as my Children’s Choir program. I wanted people to be able to attend my once-a-year Children’s Choir program instead of having to be at a meeting.
There’s a lot more to it, a lot of meetings and discussions, but the gist of it is, I was accused of “striving against the leadership” and told that “I should find another place to worship.” My husband tried to work out a reconciliation and restoration with the church, but the pastors obviously wanted me out as soon as possible. They had no plans or thoughts of a reconciliation.
I was totally devastated. I had been part of evangelical churches since I was a little kid. (I was 45 at the time I was asked to leave the EFCA church.) My whole life was my church. I felt (and still do) that “church” is God’s plan for Christians here on this earth. (A lot of Protestants these days will strongly disagree with that statement–there is a big “Jesus and me can handle it all by ourselves” movement in Protestant churches–very scary.)
For months I had horrible nightmares about trials because of what had happened. (There actually was a church “tribunal” during which a deacon who had never met me before that night accused me in front of my husband of being “unloveable and unteachable.”) I dreamed that my church people were trying to kill me and my children. I dreamed these types of dreams night after night.
(BTW, a “deacon” in an EFCA is NOT an ordained person who has spent many years in preparation. Deacons are “elected” by the congregation.")
I also cried everyday for long periods of time, and my hands shook. At work, I had a hard time because of the shaking. I was so afraid that someone was going to tell me to “leave.”
Because the pastors had not followed the Biblical directions for conflict resoluation in Matthew 5 and Matthew 18, I lost all trust in Protestant teaching from that day on. After all, if they were so horribly wrong about that part of the Bible, then how did I know they weren’t wrong about all the rest of the things they had taught me? Remember, these were pastors, leaders, ordained men (and women!) of God.
Anyway, I told God that I would NOT join a church again until I was “wooed” in by loving people. THAT’S why I began calling myself “a cat in the window,” because I felt just like a stray cat, sitting on a windowsill, looking in longingly at the warm, happy family and wishing they would ask me in, give me some food, and let me sit on their laps and stay warm…even though I have worms from living outside on the window.
Well, you can guess what happened. There is a long story behind my exploration and acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church and on April 10, 2004, my husband and I were received into full communion with the Church, which I call “the Church of Christ.”
Interestingly, the woman “pastor” in our old EFCA church was fired two years later because she was “caught in a lie.” (The lie was not revealed to the people in the church.)
There is a lot of bad stuff going on in Protestant churches. I recently started trying to write a book about my experiences, but it is hard going. I doubt anyone will ever publish it; it’s not exactly pleasant reading.
But I believe that churches and the Church need to kind to “cats in their windows.”
Thanks for reading this. Has anyone else had experiences of being “kicked out” of their Protestant church? Share, please, if you can.
One final thing. Since that day, neither of my two daughters, now ages 18 and 21, will get involved with any church, Protestant or Catholic. My older daughter says that she is still “damaged” over what happened. “Mom,” she says, “If they kicked you out, after all your years of service and hard work in the church, then what would they do to me?”
My younger daughter simply says that she can’t trust any church. She will go sing at churches when she is invited, but not stay involved. (She is truly a “cat,” isn’t she, singing outside?!)
This is a terrible burden for me and my husband, and I pray that St. Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Nicholas would intercede for my children, that Jesus will lead them home to Church. My older daughter is currently dating a non-practicing Catholic. We have hopes that this will lead to a “coming home” for both of them. My younger daughter is dating a non-practicing Baptist, a wonderful young man, but…