In 2010, Barna Group released a poll indicating that 4 out of 10 non-church Americans claim they do not attend due to negative experiences with churches or congregants. Seven years later, I doubt the numbers have improved. Countless Americans have been hurt by a church’s negative teachings, oppressive policies, immoral leaders, rigid expectations and misbehaving members.
But speaking of such matters has become taboo, creating a liability for religion writers like me. Some seem to believe that critiquing Christ’s church is the same as critiquing Christ. When I’ve engaged in the former, I’ve been called “hater,” “pessimist” and “whiner,” among other labels not suitable in print.