Reason for My Aversion to Religion. Part 3
I am keenly aware that a phrase in post 2 on this topic, "I say with assurance, I believe that God’s will and purpose has nothing to do with religion in all its variances, and His purpose can never be accomplished through involvement in religion nor religious rituals or practices" sounds heretical to the religious denominated mind. I believed, as most people still do, that religious denominated buildings is where one goes to find, participate with and participate in the work of God. After all it is in the religious services where God is talked about? Aren't they the ones who claim to represent God. Isn't it their buildings that have God’s name over the door? Aren't they the ones who mention God’s name in every other sentence they speak (at least in their Sunday-go- services?) I was unaware I was living in deception and under-minding the plan of God for both His community of the redeemed and the community of humanity.
I am convinced God’s desire is to have a personal, individual, intimate relationship with you. He wants to reveal Himself to you personally through His Teacher...the Holy Spirit, not through some pastor, priest or clergyman that is appointed be some denominated hierarchy, but to just you. He wants to conform you to the image of Christ, not conform to the image that religion has of Christ.
Having a personal relationship with God is not a religious denominational exercise. It’s not a mind exercise. It is personal, individual and real. It’s not based on religious participation in Sunday-go-meetings, but a daily relationship with God as He works through you and empower you to show forth His glory in the daily living of life. Jesus never told the crowds to go back to their villages and join denominated affiliations and go to Sunday-go-meetings and get involved in the religious programs there. He talked about their individual responsibilities in relating and submitting to God in the community of humanity as the community of the redeemed living the Gospel of Grace, His good news. Nowhere, ever, will you find Him talking about the concept of a denominated denomination being responsible for them.
Is there a religious institution that understands what the real purpose of God is for the Community of the Redeemed? Is there a denominational church with leadership that talks of nothing but the will and purpose of God and then demonstrates a practical understanding of that purpose by being an example of it for the pew-warmers to follow? Is there a man in institutional religion that can honestly say what Paul said when he told others to imitate him and actually understand what he’s talking about? The purpose of religious institutions is to perpetuate the institution and further the careers of the leaders. It has little to do with the purpose and plan of God for the community of Humanity.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus makes the statement that man cannot serve both God and mammon. The meaning of mammon is commonly misunderstood to be money. However, "the Aramaic word mamonas has a wider range of meaning and is used here by Jesus to represent anything, either tangible (wealth) or intangible (religion) that men might rely on for safety either for this life or the next." Real safety is only found in God and in His purpose. Traditional religion is man-made. Without realizing it religion thwarts God’s purpose by redefining it and focusing on things instead of Christ. That is why I believe Jesus was opposed to religion and clashed with its leaders, and why the Community of the Redeemed should be free from religion today.
I believe that if Jesus came to earth today He wouldn’t get along with the leaders of religious Christianity any more than He got along with the leaders of Judaism in His day. Religion would reject the idea that He was the Son of God because He just wouldn’t fit the religious concept of what they think God is like, nor would He fit in with their religious agenda.
Let me conclude by reposting a poem I wrote some years ago.
If Jesus Came to our Town
If Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street.
And viewed the buildings we call churches so elegant and so neat.
Which church would He visit? The one who believes, our doctrine is so right?
As we sit in padded pews dressed in our Sunday best, so appealing to the sight?
Would He visit people who deem that our model of doing church is so true?
Wouldn't that include all religions, seeing through the denominational hue?
Would He visit the splendorous edifice with its high ceilings lined with gold?
Would He visit those with riches gained by the religious gimmicks they sold.
Would He visit ministries who sell His graces and promises through TV?
Healing, salvation, peace and joy, “just send your money to me.”
Would he be pleased with all the accolades we ascribe as worship unto Him?
While those who disagree with us, we so quickly and easily condemn.
Would He pass every church building, no matter the name tag over the door?
And mingle with the common folk, the lonely, the broken, the hurting and the poor.
He would administer kindness, love and healing, seldom found in the denominational pen.
And show people the grace of God by His kind deeds and by loving all men.
He would show people the Church that He heads is not about buildings, Sundays, or creeds.
But about giving, helping, living loved and gracing people with sincere and loving deeds.
Would He wonder why how far from His Church, religion really is as we sing our favourite hymn.
While absorbed in selfish agendas and programs that are attributed as coming directly from Him.
The Church that Jesus is building is a community of believers with only Him as head.
A people who throughout their daily living, by His love and Spirit are led.
Showing the love and compassion of God, to the people that they meet.
By being the Church daily instead of just attending it one day out of the week.
Yes, if Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street?
Would we walk with Him, allowing Him to make our life full and complete?
Would we trade seminary head knowledge and only knowing about Him that leaves us blind?
To knowing Him relationally by heart knowledge that extends much deeper than the mind.
I wonder, if Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street.
Would we leave our programmed meeting and follow Him, to see how people He would treat.
Or would we say: “that can't be Jesus, for surly He would want to spend time with us here”.
And as Jesus walked away from our church, from His eye we saw the falling of a tear.
Written by Glenn Regular, August 29, 2009