It Is Religion That Makes Us

Since I first became a part of Christendom back in ’97 I have heard over and over again how religion kills, religion is bad, and Christianity is about a relationship not a religion.

It’s rather unfortunate that in your typical Evangelical church the “R” word carries the same offensive slap that various four letter cuss words have.

Religion when viewed and participated in correctly is the manifestation of the unseen belief we call faith.

Faith is what saves us; but, it is religion that makes us.

Without an organized system of beliefs, rites, and celebrations we wouldn’t know what this life we are called to be part of would look like.

It is in the rites that we remember Christ atoning sacrifice for us.

It is in the rites that we make a public declaration of our faith to the unseen God as we emerge from the baptismal waters.

It is in our gathering together on a regular basis that we can celebrate the goodness of God and worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

When God spoke with Moses on Sinai and gave him the Torah the Father instituted a religious system for the Hebrew people.

It was in Jesus that we saw the realization of what a truly religious life looks like when the commandments of God are absorbed and then made manifest through action.

Jesus was a religious Jew plain and simple… He loved the Jewish religion… He lived, breathed and worked within the boundaries of religion.

All this religion hating that continues to thrive makes no sense; it takes religion to walk this walk.

Running from correct religion leads to a lack of understanding on how to approach God.

When we get hung-up on the whole “it’s about a relationship” bit we forget that God is King and we end up only treating him as a friend.

Religion reveals to us that while God is indeed a friend he is so much more.

It’s time to embrace the reality of the situation…

if you claim to follow Jesus and his teachings…

if you partake of the sacrifice that Messiah made on our behalf…

if you have died to self and rose out of the waters of baptism…

if you gather with your brothers and sisters to worship the King…

if you pray to the unseen in the stillness of night and the calamity of day…

You are Religious.

There was a time when I would have went on a rant about how I am anything but religious all the while eating my piece of communion bread and drinking from the cup… not realizing that I had become an oxymoron.

The very fact that I was denying my religiousness meant I was walking in hypocrisy… I said I wasn't religious but my actions demonstrated that I was.

Thankfully with my introduction to Jewish roots all those years ago I have accepted and appreciate the religious life. My decision to make profession to be a third order Franciscan friar with The Company of Jesus further reflects this truth.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that to truly be Christ-like I must immerse myself in religion, correct religion, but religion nonetheless.

As I said above:

Faith is what saves us; but, it is religion that makes us.

So may you evolve your thinking by realizing the futility of denying the very thing in which makes us more like Him.

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  1. Joe_Sewell said:

    I’m sorry, Jason, but I have to see words as they are currently understood, since that’s what people with whom I talk and, hopefully, share my relationship with Christ will understand. Some of them will understand relationship through religion. Most, though, will see only hurt and abuse, since too many churches and denominations would rather tell you you’re going to Hell for chewing gum or not babbling the right way at the right time, rather than show the grace Christ offers to all. *That’s* what “religion” is to many, many people nowadays. It’s useless for me to correct them on their definition. Instead, I’d rather show them how one can have a relationship in spite of the negative connotations the thought of “religion” brings.

    January 17, 2012
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