Why Julie Neidlinger Walked out of Church


Julie R Neidlinger of Lone Prairie has written an exquisite and beautiful post that I’d like you to read: Why I Walked Out of Church. (I even set this link to open on the same page so that you won’t waste time reading my drivel before you get there.)

Imonk, a personal favorite blog of mine, has posted an interview he conducted with Julie (but he has to open in a new window).

I found that much of what Julie wrote (I hope it is OK for me to say Julie instead of something more formal like Ms Neidlinger since I do not personally know her) resonated with me but from a different perspective: I see things from the pulpit point of view. What I have found is that often it is tempting to be phony precisely because of the weariness of seeing people uninterested in the things of Jesus, or seeing empty pews, or seeing the fakery of those in the pews (what I call the ‘SpongeBob Squarepants approach to Christianity’; you know, there’s never anything wrong) who call on Christ for salvation but know nothing of discipleship or doubt or what to do when the two cross paths. Julie the parishioner; Jerry the pastor: the same struggle.

I only want to quote one line from Julie’s post:

I’m having difficulty putting this into words.

I have been in church all my life. Never known a day without it, but being a preacher makes it hard sometimes. I agree with Julie: the way I feel sometimes, it is hard to put into words. Love the church; hate the church. Strange. I appreciated her post, her honesty, and the courage it takes to say what she said in the midst of our church culture. I want to publicly say thank you to Julie for writing it. Now, if only we can get the right people to read what she wrote…

Semper Deo Gloria!

PS–Follow up comment thread here.


  1. Dan I too have seen things from the other side of the window. It was a great post by Julie. It confirms in me the track Jesus has worked in my life to understand the way Jesus wants His people to worship Him, serve Him, and love Him.
    Also I noticed your comments about our inability to change people. This too spoke to my heart as well. It is refreshing to witness Jesus preparation in another one of His servants.

    your brother in Jesus Christ,

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the reply. I think Jesus is doing something wonderful in people–and especially in people ‘my age.’ I am anxious to see the next movement.


  3. Jerry,

    I followed the link to her post and Wow! She is right on the money about so many things.

    I sympathize with your plight as a minister. I am sure that you see the best and worst of it, often in a single day.

  4. Odgie,

    Good to hear from you. Julie took a lot of flak for her essay, and the comments were varied when I made my original post at CRN.info. Many think she sounds angry, but I didn’t get anger from her as much as frustration. I agree with her in a lot of ways because she and I sense the same fakery from two different perspectives. Thanks for stopping by.


  5. I’ve struggled within my church (approaching 10 years, since we moved to this town) to figure out how to support my elders/pastors yet not merely “go along to get along” under the guise of “unity”. How refreshing to read Julie’s perspective AND Jerry’s from the other side of the pulpit. I’ve pondered the question of how to “make people understand” without turning into a Tony Robbins disciple. It’s a constant tension that I’ve experienced in men’s ministry and as a Bible class teacher. How much more the pressure must be for one whose family’s welfare “depend” on the willingness of the “audience” to give money. Paul’s simple declaration stands in contrast to complicated approach of many churches: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

  6. brog,

    thanks for stopping by. The response to Julie’s essay elsewhere has been mixed at best and downright hateful at worst. I too appreciated what she wrote, but I guess I can’t win everyone over, can I?

    Thanks again!

  1. 1 Why I walked out of church « Sola Dei Gloria

    […] posted this today at Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below, so to him for finding […]

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