Reader's Question: "Why should anyone bother with Christianity? Official, progressive Christianity is a dreadful thing. it told me growing I was a bad person and would never measure up. Most people like me have no use for it, because it has no use for them. It's quite by accident I bother with it at all."
My Response: Because it is true. At root that is the only reason to be a Christian; and if you do not believe it is true then you are not a Christian (and probably should not be a Christian if or until you believe it is true - because why should anyone structure their lives around untruth?).
Then the question moves onto what does it mean to believe something is true?
My belief is that we are not talking about being overwhelmed by evidence - because evidence *never is* overwhelming in any situation or in relation to any subject.
With Christianity there is evidence in favour, and against - so a personal decision is necessary, inevitable, and intended.
With belief, I am talking about an inner confidence, which is experienced as a personal revelation from God. That is the proper basis of Christianity (but only the basis).
Of course there are innumerable advantages to being a Christian; but its being true is the one essential.
Then we move onto what may be the very difficult task of joining a church, a denomination. As you say, official, mainstream, progressive Christianity is a dreadful thing; so I would say the new Christian is likely to find either a relatively small, relatively weak, relatively obscure church (or else join a beleaguered minority within one of the official, mainstream churches). Or no church at all - which is my current situation.
Note added: Perhaps the most difficult aspect is: what is the Christianity which is supposed to be evaluated as true or not-true?
There are so many answers to this, so many ways of giving an answer, that the outsider is bewildered. Some people give the answer as a list of propositions, other as a philosophical doctrine, others as a story - so part of knowing if it is true is deciding the kind of truth that Christianity is.
My understanding is that Christianity is (more or less, and at root) a (true) story about relationships - but that itself is making a choice between rival ways of expressing the truth.