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minikin

Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Housewife


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Religion Sucks
Church
minikin
"Noooo! You're making my brain implode! ... So, I'm not supposed to go to church?"

If you want to learn a lesson well, try to explain it to another.

Two weeks ago, our pastor stood there, and proclaimed "religion sucks." I was one of the people listening who cheered, but there were a lot of us looking around worrying about the impact on others. And then there comes sharing this with others to whom the meaning isn't obvious. And realizing that I hadn't pulled this apart and really examined it myself.

Christ came to hang out and invite us into community, into a relationship. To close this big spiritual gap that many people don't even recognize exists. He didn't come to start a religion. But wait - what about the Beatitudes, all those exhortations? Okay, then there was that bit about coming to free us from the law. But hold on, I did that licentious living and there wasn't a lot of hanging with Jesus involved. So yeah...

A little context here. Quest organizes services into teaching series. The subjects tend to be very relevant to what's actually going on our lives, addressing real needs like Life, Hope, Change, Forgiveness and Confidence. Not surprisingly, the lessons have to do with how Jesus is the true basis that we can build on for our needs. Each series ends with a week that kind of wraps all the previous weeks together, and really calls for those who haven't chosen to follow Christ to make that decision. The term "gospel clarification" gets tossed around to describe those weeks. "Religion Sucks" were the stirring words that rang out during Pete's gospel clarification two weeks ago. "Unleash your heart" was the title of the talk.

So not only does religion suck, but it's a point that's important in a talk specifically focused on leading people to Christ. In a church that emphasizes doing life together and being in community.

Religion sucks because religion is a superstructure that has built up around a vital concept and swamped it with rules, and takes us away from the loving relationship at the center. Religion is a distraction from God. It turns away the people who are the hungriest for love, for forgiveness, for grace. It was never supposed to be about performance, about following rules, about living up to some impossible standard. Jesus' coming was supposed to sweep all of that away.

And yet, I go to church more often now than I ever did. More than Flar thinks I "ought" to. I go because I thirst for the filling up I receive doing life together with other followers. I go because I get challenged to make it personal. I go because I learn about really accepting all the love and the power that comes with it.

Occasionally, someone will comment to me about how different I am than I was a mere three years ago. I hear things like "that church really has been good for you." And I get the opportunity to reflect on how none of this has been from striving harder or trying or following rules. The change has come from within, cause that's where Jesus is these days. He's in me.

And now it's time for me to scoot, cause I've gotta date with 12 other women to carve some pumpkins.

–––––

The preceding has been my entry for LJ Idol Season 5, Topic 4, Open Topic

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This is wonderful. Well said.

AMEN!

I've heard the sentiment expressed by quite a few people that they'd like to get to Jesus, if only they could get past the religion. I know exactly where they're coming from.

Excellent post.

Thank you. :)

And yeah, Jesus is one cool dude.

"Religion" always signifies structure, hierarchy and corruption. "spirituality" is something different. Whether it be Christian or another form, it is about inner fulfillment.
Nice entry!

Awesome.

If I may, I'd like to link to this.


That would be great!

If you like, you could also link to Quest:
questcommunity.com

The video archive of "Unleash Your Heart" isn't online yet, but here is a link to the audio archive.

I'm so glad popfiend linked and I was able to enjoy this ...
made me happy ... great thoughts, well said : )

First of all, believe me, I do understand the point being made here. But I disagree that the fault lies with religion, I think the fault lies with the defilement of religion. I define religion as humanity's reaction to God. When practised properly, and in its proper context, then the religion is of secondary importance. But what happens is we elevate the religion above the object of our religion, and that's where we go wrong. Again, I do understand the point here, and I agree with the sentiments being expressed, but I also think that religion, in is proper form and importance, is a beautiful thing. How about I go on a limb here and say that religion is to faith what sex is to marriage.

Yes, it's really a matter of taking what religion should provide, and twisting it into "an organized system of behavior" that distracts from the relationship with God, and sets up rules to follow and a sense that it's all about performance and appearances.

I forgot to mention that, even if I disagree to an extent, you've still got my vote because I like the sentiments and agree with them.

Very interesting! I like your view on it. :)

Great post.

Thank you. I'm glad to hear it. :)

This is very nicely articulated... I'm glad you found that place you can grow... great post!

Thank you. :)

I'm so grateful that God kept pursuing me, and led me to a place like Quest. :)

I adore this post! My philosophy on the way I carry out my Christianity is that it's a private relationship between me and God, so no use involving religion into it (so I don't go to church). However, it would be so nice if I could find like-minded Christians as well. I think that if someone shows moral character and things of that nature than they're every bit as Christian even if they have never read the Bible or don't claim Christianity.

I also believe strongly that everyone has a certain spiritual path and Catholocisim (the most religious of the Christian religions) is so very structured with their rules and such perhaps that's why some people find that being mega-religious resonates with them so much.

Anyway, sorry to ramble but again, loved this entry. : )

Thank you!

Yes, it's the rules and the ritual (as exemplified in some Catholic Churches) that distract us from the central truth. I say some, because I know a lot of Catholics who get the relationship part, and truly have Christ in their heart.

Just have to say... Awesome post!

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