I Skipped Church for Three Years

My spiritual loneliness brought me back.

Faith and church have been tough for a lot of people coming out of the pandemic. I’m one of them. The last three years ushered my wife and me through two job changes, a cross-country move, and months spent hunkered inside, trying to keep our young children healthy and ourselves sane. By the time the world began to reopen, so much felt different.

Until recently, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d physically attended a church service since March 2020. I could give many reasons for our absence—a toddler and a newborn, disillusionment with a church tradition that was once home, enjoying a second weekend morning, sheer exhaustion, and more.

But if I’m really honest, one reason stands out: The further I get from church, the less Christian faith makes sense to me. The physical drift begets an intellectual one.

Although I might sound like a Christian upstart, I’m something of a thoroughbred. I was born and raised in what is now an evangelical megachurch. I graduated with a degree in religion and philosophy from a prominent Christian college, and I finished a seminary degree at another. I got chops.

But when it comes to believing my faith, it’s always been the same. During any season of life when I’ve been separated from like-minded Christians, my faith starts to feel as alien to me as it does to my non-Christian friends. Wait, you believe a man was God? That he actually rose from the dead? Like, his blood and guts cooled and then his heart just started beating again? It’s ludicrous, isn’t it?

Part of my experience of faith—and part of my constitution—is that I’ve always sought out the best arguments against my own positions. …

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