A very common piece of advice, or warning, I have received is that my closest friends should not be in our church. I have been told it’s impossible to have close friendships with church members, warned I will get burned, and told to find another outlet for community in order to protect myself and my family from negative experiences.
I went to Bible school and seminary, and I have never been a member of a church. Never.
I always considered myself a member of my childhood church by default of my parents’ membership, but, like my faith at the time, it was never my own.
When I was growing up I often felt that my dad’s profession shaped my life a lot more than I wanted it to. Whenever people asked what my dad’s job was I would mutter with much embarrassment, “he’s a pastor.”