You will, on occasion, here religious leaders make a plea to the disaffected in their congregations/churches to come back. They'll often include some words something like, "Even if you've been offended, please come back."
I think the plea to the "offended" is troubling. First, it places the blame on the people who left. They're the one with the problem, they chose to be offended. If they had simply let the offense roll off their back, there'd be no problem.
What this plea doesn't recognize is that the people no longer attending may be staying away simply because the cost of attending outweighs the benefit. This has nothing to do with being offended. It is simply a cost/benefit analysis.
A second problem with the plea to the offended is that it doesn't address the potential problem: a caustic environment caused by the people in positions of power (not necessarily authority). People who have stayed away who might listen to the appeal, will only return to find the same awful environment.
"Why this post?" you ask. I attend a congregation where members are doing some amazingly mean things to each other. Some, unfortunately, are directed at my family.
This post may be the first of several. I'm not ranting. Nor am I trying to extract some sort of anonymous revenge (pretty sure no one in my congregation cares anything about my blog anyway). I'm simply exploring some of the dynamics of church congregational bad behavior.