The Purpose of “Free”
Transparent blog post.
I wanted to write a blog about my new book, “Free: From Legalism to Grace Breaking out of the United Pentecostal Church”, but I am a terrible self promoter and wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it. What do I say after laying all of my crazy out there for everyone to see? What more could be said then what I already divulged in the book?
Then, I read one of the reviews posted on Amazon and it hit me. Yes, I am aware Rachel Hollis recommends to NEVER read your reviews! But, hey, curiosity gets the best of me some times!
I thought this reviewer made a good point. They said:
“I loved how Jennifer was honest in her portrayal of her journey. It took guts to speak her truth, but through it she is relatable to those who have walked a similar journey. I suspect that most of her audience will be people who have left or are considering leaving similar churches, but I actually think it would be especially beneficial for those committed to those churches. I would hope it would help them to see what it feels like from our perspective instead of the “betrayal” they feel from us when we leave.”
It is true, this book will mostly resonate with people who leave a religious organization, but it would be amazing if those who are in said organization would be willing to read it with an open mind.
Not for the reason of trying to persuade you to leave, especially if you are happy there, but for the sheer reason as for you to understand the other side. Think of it as research.
When I was fully immersed in the world of the United Pentecostal Church, I would be very defensive and feel personally betrayed by those who had left. So, I understand completely where these feelings come from. But, now, being on the receiving end of the behaviors and comments from those who are still “in church” my heartbeat is to educate on how this common reaction is scarring to those who are trying to build a new life for themselves.
I fully realize your position as “the church” to say those whom have left for any reason are bound for hell. I also realize it is taught profusely by your church to tell those people how you feel.
I describe this situation in my book like this:
“Imagine if you were to watch your best friend cliff dive off the side of the Grand Canyon without any ropes. That would be the feeling our friends would have toward us.”
Truth is, we already know. Those who have left, chances are, have already been indoctrinated with the church’s beliefs and have weighed out both the pros and cons of leaving. We already know you disapprove. Most people know before leaving how they will be viewed by their peers and made the move despite knowing what was going to happen to them.
Here is the bottom line, we don’t need your judgement. We don’t need your criticism, your passive aggressive Facebook posts, your straight up rude comments. We need your love and support and recognition that we are still your friend.
We already know your religious beliefs and have come to the conclusion those are not ours. And I recognize that is scary for those who remain, to think someone you loved at one point is going to hell for eternity, but do you not respect us enough to realize we have already weighed the balances and considered our options with much thought and prayer?
What about the condemning comments and terms thrown around such as “backslider” or “lost” make you feel like those are going to encourage any one to come back to your church? All words like that do is make the divide even greater.
Of course, the opposing side to my book has already made arguments saying I am bashing the church, or whatever they want to think I am doing, but the hardcore truth of the matter is, this is my story, and the story of so many others. When does it end?
As I have already said, it is never my intention to bash a church, and I don’t feel like that is ever portrayed in the book. (If one were to actually read it).
My purpose is to educate and encourage both sides. That’s it.
Love is a commonly misunderstood concept.
Many times people feel that if someone doesn’t agree with everything they do, especially when it comes to things such as politics or religion it is their duty as someone who loves you to set you straight. They feel, if they are still kind and supportive of you as a person, that will make it appear to you they agree with your stance on whatever subject they disagree with.
That is not the case at all. Like I already said, those on the other side already know how you feel. They don’t need you to constantly remind them of your differences. We already know you don’t support our decision. We aren’t asking for you to agree with it or even change your beliefs. We simply want respect and love.
I hope and pray those on both “sides” will read this book and come to the realization there are no sides! Everyone in the human race desires love and respect, and we should be able to deliver these attributes despite our differences.
I hope this clears up any confusion as to what this book’s purpose is. I would love to hear your feedback.
Happy reading friends!
Free: From Legalism to Grace Breaking Out of the United Pentecostal Church https://www.amazon.com/dp/1087259134/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_0sxzDbB998CR7