Yeah, I can feel that. For me, I do not think that the atonement would be the best tool to use in this case. I might get more mileage out of the business concept of "sunk costs." Sunk costs refer to costs that were already invested in a particular project. Those are spent and gone. They should not be unduly considered when determining your next course of action. For example, if you have already invested $10k on a project that is projected to return $20k after 6 months, it might still make sense to terminate the project and switch to a different project that is projected to return $50k in the same time period. There is an opportunity cost that will be incurred by staying
Applying that in a non-business project context tells me that I need to make my decisions based on the choices ahead of me at the given moment and not become stuck because of what has come before. It is perhaps another way of saying that there is no use crying over spilled milk. Perhaps there is no use crying but surely there is a need to reduce the likelihood of future spilled milk.
For me in this current time this means that I take the church relationship based upon the current inputs and outputs. How much should I give based on how much I expect in return? If I reduce what I am willing to give how will that affect the return. For me, I believe that I have arrived at a reasonable and sustainable cost/benefit status quo.
I do receive benefits from the church that include a community to support us in challenging times (I also know that I need to reach out in those times to let community members know what specific help I need). I also feel that the church has been a stabilizing influence for my children (now teenagers) and can provide a decent circle of peers/friends. The cost/benefit analysis can change based upon my season in life.
I feel that too. Part of making this work for me is keeping the church at arms length and not putting much stock in what church people might think of me. Most people are nice, but they can still be patronizing (thinking that they know best for me and my family). Dealing with the awkward experience is just part of the cost for me.
In order to not care too much what church people think of me, I have had to diversify my social group. The church is still in my orbit, but it is just one of many people and organizations that I participate in and derive value from. To me, that puts all church interactions in a more balanced and manageable perspective.