Saturday, August 30, 2008

She Walked Out Of Church And I'm Adding To My Blogroll

Julie Neidlinger lives in North Dakota. A few weeks ago she went to church and was disgusted by the phoniness and trendiness of church. So she walked out. Relating her experience to a cover story by World magazine, she wrote about walking out of church that day on her blog. Take a minute to read it.

What happened next was something she couldn't very well predict. Her blog post made it around the internet and she was flooded with comments and personal email. She was misunderstood, taken out of context, rebuked, questioned. Numerous others linked to her blog. World magazine itself took up the issue and posted an article about it. People questioned her motives, her attitude, her ability to get a date on Friday night (She's single, 34, and wonders about the state of evangelical Christian men today). They took her complaints out of context and used them as a pretext for believing that she was on "their side" of arguments about the state of the church today, and whatever other petty issues were convenient. None of these people even know her.

I was fascinated by this and followed as many rabbit trails as possible trying to get an idea of how people think and react. What is most amazing about all this is that her post was very simple, and simple to understand. Yet many took even second hand comments on remote blogs and painted life pictures of her, like being bitter and dateless, maybe not even a Christian. It's amazing how sketchy misinformation can be used to create such wacky versions of the universe and dismiss people as meaningless.

I like the way Julie writes (her blog is called and has subsections of her blog that I'm interested in, such as blog and studies. I'm adding her to my blogroll. It's also a good time to add Stupid Church People as a link, because it's a blog by a former pastor, I believe, who writes about stupid things church people do in the name of Jesus. It's a good reality check.


  1. I'm a friend of Julie's...just wanted to let you know that I appreciate what you have to say in her defense. You seem to have a much better understanding of her than many of the others who have commented on her infamous post. Thank you!


  2. Thanks for the comment, Naomi.

  3. Thanks for the post, Steve.

    I'm amazed at how many times I had to re-explain what I thought was so clear in the post.

    So far, from my tally, I've been described as:

    Angry woman, bitter, old, ugly, non-Christian, backslidden, undateable, part of the problem, finger-pointer, fundamentalist, flip flop hater, judger of externals, in need of experiencing God's love (aren't we all?)...and so on. The descriptions tended to be all over the board, depending on whose toes whatever part of the essay stepped on, whether it be the clothes we wear to church, the maturity level of guys, age separation...


    It's been quite a ride.

    Usually you have to buy a ticket for that kind of trip.

  4. Julie,

    I'm glad it helped, even if just a bit. It seems that some people read only what they want to read. Sad that the most minor of details can lead to the grandest of offenses.

  5. I really loved Julie's post and was stunned by the rabid and ill-considered rants it seemed to provoke. So I was really glad to land up here (first visit!) and discover a friendly voice, plus more interesting blogs to discover - I can't resist checking out a blog called Stupid Church People...

  6. Thanks for dropping by, Catherine.