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Love Jesus, Hate Church
2502 Crowders Creek Road
Gastonia, NC  28052

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Love Jesus, Hate Church



ISBN 13:



Steve McCranie









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  Love Jesus, Hate Church
How to Survive in Church or Die Trying!

Something About Us

I am keenly aware of the fact that you may be wondering about a guy who would write a book entitled, Love Jesus, Hate Church.  You probably have some questions, maybe many questions, about the origins of a book that makes people as uncomfortable as Love Jesus, Hate Church has proven to do.  You may be asking yourself, "How can you be a Christian and use the words Love and Hate and Jesus and Church all in the same sentence?  It just seems so wrong."
And, you're right.  It does seem wrong. 
True.  But wrong.

Yep, I would probably be wondering the same thing if the tables were turned and I found myself in your shoes.

So, let me see if I can shed some light on who I am and why I do what I do by telling you a bit about myself and how I came to write Love Jesus, Hate Church.  Let me share with you, oh, how shall I put it the joy of believing the lie.  I believe this will give you a better grasp of who I am and why I wrote Love Jesus, Hate Church.

Why Did You Write, Love Jesus, Hate Church?

When I was a kid, church seemed to be a picture of the kind of family I always wanted.  The kind of family I didn’t have at home.  I remember Sunday school and youth outings and pot-luck fellowship dinners that were served by large, overweight women with large, inviting smiles.  I remember Vacation Bible School and the Church Softball League and the addictive feeling of oneness I experienced when I was with my other co-patriots in the youth department.  It was like I finally belonged to something— like I had finally found a home.  A purpose.  Something I could believe in and somebody I could trust.
Oh yeah, I remember all the good stuff.  All the Christ-like stuff.
The kind of stuff that leads a young boy like me to dream of becoming a pastor someday— of devoting his life to the Lord.
Ah, such sweet, childlike innocence.
Such blessed ignorance.
The joy of believing the lie.
Yeah, right.
It’s like living in a Norman Rockwell painting...uh, until the day your balloon bursts and you lose your church virginity and your whole world comes crashing down around you.
Oh, I remember all the good stuff.  But I also remember all the not-so-good stuff.  The stuff nightmares are made of.
I’m not sure when my blinders came off and I began to see, for the first time, the church for what it actually is.  Try as I may, I simply can’t pinpoint the specific situation or the event or maybe even the conversation that began my long descent from idyllic bliss into the cold, dark, painful reality of church.  I can’t put my finger on the exact day when I lost my spiritual virginity and began to Love Jesus and Hate Church.
But it happened.
Slowly at first, like a tiny trickle from a leaky faucet.  Small. Insignificant.  Hardly worth mentioning.
Drip after drip after horrid drip— until it pounded in my brain like the incessant beating of the old man’s heart in Poe’s, Tell-Tale Heart.
And before I could turn around, by default, I had joined the ever-swelling ranks of those who Love Jesus and Hate Church.  I had become one of them.  I was now joined at the hip, like a Siamese twin, to a group of people I didn’t even know existed.
But I know now.  Boy, do I know now!

Think about it.
For most of us the idea of church conjures up the image of stately red brick buildings with tall, white, majestic steeples.  Church gives us the warm, cozy feelings of nostalgia, the pleasant memories of good-times long past.  Church was portrayed as a place of safety and security— a place of worship, a place of love, of acceptance and mutual ministry.  The Church was the one place on earth where you never feared being hurt, persecuted, slandered, wronged or berated.
“Because church is just like one big ol’ happy family. Right?”
Well, not always.  Not really.
Interwoven into the membership fabric of our congregations is an ever-growing army of disgruntled and disillusioned Believers that carry with them the battle scars they received on the frontlines of Church.  They are the walking wounded— clutching tightly to their Love Jesus, Hate Church Purple Hearts.  They are detached.  Wary.  Reluctant to allow the pain they have experienced in Church to be inflicted upon them, and their families, again.
“Don’t come any closer.  Stay back.  I don’t want to be hurt again.”

Church-splits, moral failures, deacon’s meetings, gossip, financial budgets, “the pastor didn’t call me when I was sick”, arguments, hymns versus choruses, young versus old, family church dynasty versus the “new kids on the church block”, building programs, tithing, pride, the Annual Church Business Meetings, “look, those people sat in my seat”, and King James going one-on-one with everybody else… ah, you name it.  They all take their toll.
And every day, the ranks of the Love Jesus, Hate Church army swells.

As a pastor and a minister for the past twenty years, I have seen and experienced firsthand the spiritual trauma and emotional havoc situations like the ones described above can wreak on the hearts and minds of those who attend church. 
I have seen countless people bounce into church with exuberance, contagious excitement, literally wide-eyed with awe and expectation of what the Lord was going to do in their lives and in the life of their church.  And sadly, like spooked cattle, I have also seen these same people leave the church in droves, vowing never to return.  Those same wide eyes now vacant and blackened by a church fight and the inevitable loss of their child-like innocence.  I have heard their cries and have seen their tears— and I’ve seen this cycle repeated year after year.
But it gets worse.  Many will then pass their hurt and disillusionment down to their own children creating something like a generational curse that keeps growing with no end in sight.  This curse, like a Love Jesus, Hate Church virus, infects and attacks the very roots of the Believer’s view of the Christian community.  It destroys the Believer’s sense of acceptance and mutual respect. It turns a loving, trusting church family into a team of spoiled, self-seeking free agents.
And it most certainly grieves the Lord.

Love Jesus and Hate Church?  Sound impossible?  Contradictory?
Well, it’s not.
My life stands as irrefutable proof of these two realities— Love and Hate and Jesus and Church all in the same sentence.

Confession: I Love Jesus with a burning, all-consuming passion.  He is the source of my life and the best thing that has ever happened to me.  In a word, I am literally obsessed with Him.

But make no mistake, I Hate Church and what it stands for today. I Hate Church with a raw, loathing vengeance, with unleashed rage, with every fiber in my being.  It’s like church pushes me right to the edge, right to the point of no return— and then sadistically pushes even harder, mocking, sneering, and demanding I respond.
Sometimes it scares me.  My rage.  I didn’t know I had the capacity to hate as much as I do.
But I do.
And the focus of that hate is what so-called Christians have done to the Church in the name of Christ!

Come on, you know it’s true.
You’ve heard the rumors, the countless tales of woe, the never-ending classic late-night horror stories about good people hurting good people in church.  Maybe you’ve got a couple of stories of your own to tell.  Maybe you’ve got your own church scars.  Maybe you’ve got your own reasons for those countless sleepless nights.  Maybe you’ve been the victim of a vicious, well-organized, rape, pillage, and burn campaign that often takes place behind so-called sanctified church walls.
Maybe you’ve got your own reasons— darn good reasons, to Love Jesus and Hate Church.
Maybe.  Just maybe.

On the other hand, maybe you’re the reason someone else has a story to tell.  Maybe you’re the one who held the knife that cut and scarred the tender spirit of another with your gossip, pride, or unmasked hypocrisy.  Maybe you’re the one, drunk behind the wheel of self-righteousness, that plowed his car headlong into the crowd of bystanders one Sunday morning, wounding and maiming the innocent with your misplaced anger.
“I don’t care what the pastor says, we’ve been here longer than he has.  He’d better start listening to us if he knows what’s good for him.”
“Did you see the dress Martha was wearing?  Who’s she trying to impress?”
“Frank always gets to sing lead in the Easter Cantata.  What makes him think he’s that good?”
“Where did all these new people come from?  Who invited them to our church anyway?”

Maybe you’ve got blood on your own hands.
Maybe you’re the Pilate in your own church.
Maybe you’re one of the ones that shouted, “Give us Barabbas!”
Then again, maybe not.

So, with all that as a backdrop, what would you have done?  Exactly!
You would have done everything in your power to stop the needless hurt and bloodshed that often takes place behind stained glass windows every Sunday.  You, like Colonel Travis and the brave men at the Alamo, would have made a stand.  You would have done something.
For me, I wrote Love Jesus, Hate Church.
And you...

Steve McCranie - Brief Bio

Steve McCranie has a M.A. in Biblical Studies and has been a pastor for the better part of twenty years.  He has pastored churches in Tennessee, Georgia, Washington, and North Carolina. 

He is the founding pastor of The Church Without Walls in Gastonia, North Carolina ( which is a cell-based church that primarily ministers to those who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional church— and have been seriously hurt by that fall. 

More importantly, he has personally experienced the Love Jesus, Hate Church phenomena and is still alive to tell about it.  Scarred— but alive.  Which, by the way, is a major feat and makes him more than qualified to write Love Jesus, Hate Church.

The McCranie Clan... Whew!

Steve McCranie lives in Gastonia, North Carolina with his wife Karen
and their many, many... did I say many... kids.

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2502 Crowders Creek Road - Gastonia, NC  28052 - 704.634.9452 -