Done with church, but not with God

Kyle Rice pretty much stopped going to church a few years ago.

But the marriage and family therapist in Torrington, Wyo., has hardly abandoned his Christian faith – or his deep longing to share it with others and experience God’s love within a community of believers. Mr. Rice, who is in his late 20s, has simply found that what he calls “the Sunday morning experience” – that is, the traditional institutions of Christianity – no longer works for him.

The reasons he feels this way are as complex as any individual’s earnest spiritual journey. But one reason he stopped attending church, he says, is that it came to hinder many of the meaningful relationships in his life – especially when sharing himself and his faith, and connecting with those who may not believe as he does.

“I didn’t want to invite the people that I was first exploring a conversation of spirituality with to church anymore,” says Rice, who was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home, then pursued a life in full-time ministry, and still maintains his mostly conservative, evangelical faith. “I didn’t want them to see walking with God as a relationship of jumping through hoops – that it was about behavioral management or sin management.”

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