Sometimes, if you want to hear an interesting story, all you need is the right prompt. And this one on Twitter, asking people to share the worst church service they ever attended, was enough to inspire them to share all kinds of troubling anecdotes.
There are so many responses, it’s hard to share them all, but I can lump most of them into a few basic categories…
The visiting preacher was lamenting dying churches and said it would be better if the people in them just died and gave him the money so he could do good things with it.— Joanna S (@stoneflour) July 18, 2022
The pastor was talking about being a godly woman. He says, “and I say to my daughter, see that woman over there. The one in the tight skirt. She’s a slut. A godly woman doesn’t dress like that.”— lucyzoe (@lucyzoe) July 17, 2022
The underlying beliefs:
A “healer” kept laying hands (Benny Hinn smack-style) on these two obviously uninterested teenagers… they wouldn’t fall down, and he kept pushing them all the way down the aisle of the sanctuary until they finally stayed down.— Joel Eastlick (@joeleastlick) July 17, 2022
Church camp when they paraded the pregnant teens up onstage so they could cry and tearfully beg us all to not have sex https://t.co/q41HyMbVVN— Dale Nixon (@ole_cv) July 19, 2022
The hate and hypocrisy:
The one where I was handed this program. Note the highlighted paragraph on the bottom. It was so bad, I’ve held onto it ever since it was given to me in the 90s as a reminder. Never again. pic.twitter.com/C9tBtAZky0— Tim Dillinger (@timdillinger) July 18, 2022
Christmas Eve service. The associate pastor gave a fire-and-brimstone sermon about the dangers of “liberal” biblical interpretation and *tore pages out of the Bible* to make his point. (We found out later he had a secret second family.)— Allison (she/her) wears a mask 😷 (@allisonata1) July 18, 2022
The interesting thing about the responses is how many of the responses involve self-inflicted wounds by church leaders. Many of the responders would likely have stayed in their churches, but something that occurred pushed them right out. It wasn’t atheists. It wasn’t something in the Bible. It was a choice religious leaders made. That was the final straw.
Will any church leaders learn a lesson from reading these responses? Probably not. Their loss.