"The church is a whore, but she's my mother." St. Augustine.
This is my new favorite quote. Why is the church a whore? Because she is full of imperfect people. If the church were perfect, it would be defiled the moment one of us imperfect people walked through it's doors. This is the beauty of the church being a whore: I, a whore and an idiot, can walk in and love God with every whore inside and be fully surrounded and embraced by the Creator of all things. The downfall of the church being a whore: It sleeps around, it isn't faithful. A room full of imperfect people will produce imperfect things and hurt a lot of people in the process. As a pastor at my church, I have heard way too many stories of people leaving hurt over something someone has said or done. Many have left the church over it, and many have stopped attending church altogether because of the Christians. But what we need to remember is that people will be imperfect anywhere you find them, whether in a church or in a bar or in a strip club. In the bar, people don't leave and vow to never return to a bar because the alcohol was too warm. They drink it, and hope for the best next time. In a church, if the sound is too loud, or the temperature too cold, or the illustrations too boring, we may leave forever. Why is it that we expect people to be perfect in a church and not anywhere else. It is true that God desires that His children work toward a different style of life, but it is also true, while trying to do the right things, we fail. So if you have left the church, come back and have realistic expectations. These people are your family and in every family, there are fights, but in the end there is love. We learn to put up with some crap to develop love. If you are thinking of leaving, don't. Try harder to love others and accept people for being people just like we are merely people. The Church is here for God and for us to worship together as one. A room full of created people, all unworthy to be there, throwing off prejudices and sin and loving God together as family. The church may be a whore, but she is our mother.