I love religion.
Rather, I love my faith. There is beauty in relationship and in the ways each of us approach God. I do not like Churchianity and the way Christians divide ourselves into packs. There is nothing wrong with being in a denomination and there is nothing wrong with being in a nondenominational setting. In the first, you have to be careful not to get lost in the rituals and routines that they become a substitute for a real relationship. In the latter, you have to be careful that you guard against pastor worship.
Getting lost in the rules can destroy your faith. Why limit God? The Pharisees were so wrapped up in rules that they didn’t even see God standing before them. Jesus wants to be a part of all of your life, not just for the hour you give him on Sunday where you raise your hands, kneel, show off the latest fashions, or carry around a book written in ancient English.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15
I had a good friend in college who was an atheist. Of course, we had the obligatory God discussions but, one day after we graduated, he made a comment that really hit home. Most people he met worked a question into conversations very early.
“Where do you go to church?”
When he mentioned his own beliefs, there was a disconnect. As believers, we have to do a better job of living our faith outside of a building. It’s important to be able to relate to people without focusing on a building you drive to now and then. Sure, you want to invite people to church but you also want to live life in such a way that they know, without asking or being asked, that there is something different about you. By different, I don’t mean arrogant, condescending, or clueless. People liked Jesus because they knew he loved them. BE THAT!
“By their fruit you will recognize them”
My friend moved away after a couple of years to start a new job in another city. I’ll always remember that observation about people though. I don’t know if his beliefs changed but I do hope the people he’s met since then have found better things to talk about.