When A Facebook Group Is Your Church




I joined a private Facebook group several months ago where members gather daily to learn about and discuss grace. The person leading the group is a former pastor, now grace teacher. Many of us are former church members of a variety of denominations, and quite a few of us are former fundamentalists. It’s become the place I can go where people can laugh and lament together about past religious experiences, as well as learn about grace and love.

Many of us in the group knew God as an angry judge, or as Jason Isbell sings, He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow. We lived in fear of doing the wrong thing, of being punished, of being the wrong person, of being eternally tortured by fire, of being left behind in a rapture. We didn’t know how to live other than living in fear. That, my friends, is a living hell. Now, we’re all learning how to live in freedom and love.

Grace is the exact opposite of my past religious experiences, so it’s attractive in every way. I admit, though, there are times when I feel like I take one step forward and ten steps back. Though I write and talk a lot about grace (and sometimes live it), my head and my heart often don’t seem to connect about how radical and revolutionary it is. My heart knows truth and craves it; however, my head has been trained to default to religious dogma. I’m seven years into the unlearning process (four of them of which I have been unchurched), and still, the default to early-childhood programming is instinct.

Yet, I am becoming more comfortable in living with questions which only have mystery as answers. My concept of God wavers, but more often than not, I know and experience him (or her) as love. Sometimes, I even still wonder if God exists, but I think there’s grace for that, too. I have a group of people I’ve never met in person to thank for these things.

Instead of finding a church where I can go for a couple hours every week and burn myself out while trying to prove my worth, I’ve found a group of people who gather daily and accept one another with all our questions, our wounds, and our doubts. I think that’s the church Jesus intended.


If you’d like to know more about the private Facebook group mentioned in this post, email or message me for information.


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