I'm not the only one.
Apparently, fewer and fewer men are attending Christian churches, especially in the UK today.
All manner of reasons are given... poor leadership, the 'feminisation' of services, lack of male definition or activities, even changes in millennial views have all been listed as pragmatic causes, and perhaps these all play some part, but for me it was something much deeper which finally ended my church attendance.
The loss of my wife.
It wasn't just the impact of facing her death head on. It was the way in which others (and by others, I'm sad to say I mean Christians) responded to that. It was as though I'd gained some stigma or become unclean... the responses (lack of them) has been all too palpable.
In the six years since Kay's death, virtually no 'saint' has crossed my door, called me, or sought to check on my well-being. It's almost as though we were both buried on that day.
I've not become an island - I've pursued all manner of connection and made sure I've kept in touch with what's what, in the church and the world, but why the cold shoulder?
I know I can be pretty difficult to love, but was I really meant to be left in such a void - one that would have been malignantly crippling for so many, and pretty staggering for me when I reflect upon the reality of not only having lost my wife, but, in practical terms, any 'normal' support structure (the community of Christians) during such a trial.
James tells us that true religion is marked by a care for the widow and the orphan, so what's really going on, when non-believing friends and family prove much, much closer to you than Christians? Why in these times of crisis do we find ourselves left so adrift?
It's not the first time by any means this has happened to me or my late wife, and it's pretty clear that many, many others find themselves in the same situation, especially when facing crises of this magnitude, so is it any wonder that the church finds itself diminished by the vital need not only to care for such people, but to learn from them in that work - how much richer a Christian community becomes when its faith and testimony includes the voices of those often broken by life, but remaining kept by God's faithfulness.
It's because of that mercy that I'm here, asking, and hopefully stirring someone to notice those in need in their own neighborhood.