Some thoughts from a person whose friends probably consider religious who bristles at the word, religion.
A friend of mine commented recently, “I don’t believe in religion.” I agreed with him, responding, “Religion is man-made.” But part of me flinched a little bit at my own comment.
Religion is what I left when I left the Catholic Church, but religion is what I studied in college. A World Religion class led me forward on a journey that ended in my commitment to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life, terminology I realize that smacks of religion.
That commitment made in a particular place and time began a life-long journey of faith, of attempting to know, understand and follow a living God. Not religion, but relationship with God, the creator of heaven and earth Who “knit me together” in my mother’s womb, Who can number the hairs on my head, Who knows the thoughts and intents of my heart.
I bristle at the word, religion, but I realize my friends probably consider me religious. Ironic isn’t it.
These thoughts are triggered by reading Colossians 2:8:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
I realize this may seem like so much religious mumbo jumbo. All the more reason to unpack it if I can.
Continue reading “To Those Who Don’t Believe in Religion”
God is not found in religion but in personal encounter.
Most people in American grew up with some connection to “the church” and to Christianity. Many, many people had just enough of a taste to reject it. I think that, when most people reject Christianity, they are rejecting the institution of the church.
People reject the principles they believe the church stands for and the hypocrisy they saw in the church. Indeed, I believe this because I was one of those people.
I have come to put that reality in perspective, however: the church, as most people perceive and know it, is a human institution. It is far from perfect. Every human frailty and weakness and shortcoming exists in the church – because people make up the church. That is the reality.
Further, the message that informs the church, the root and heart of it, the reason the church exists – the Gospel – is not always readily apparent in the church. Some churches are closer to the expression of it than others, but churches, generally fall short of the ideals of the Gospel.
I do not mean to point fingers at anyone or judge anyone. I think it is sufficient for purposes of what I am trying to say to assume that this is true to some degree or another in every church, even the best of them. I am going to say some things next that may make churchgoers upset, but bear with me.
Continue reading “The Kernal and the Seed”