I am a HUGE fan of the “Church,” the way that Jesus established it. However, I am not a fan of religion. There is a big difference. Religion has been established by man. Even with the best intentions, it is guided by man made expectations. Religion breeds judgment, intolerance, and exclusivity because others fail to meet these expectations.
I believe in the relationship possible with Jesus and the hope that comes with it, not the religion that teaches about Him. In the book Radical by Dr. Platt, he uses the best illustration that I have heard to explain this difference.
Today, many people believe that “God” exists at the top of this proverbial mountain and to reach him, you can follow many paths. Each of these paths represent a religion or “spiritual” way to “God.” The idea is that no path is better than another—most of the time—so long as you are on a path.
What if instead of going up the mountain, God came down to us, down to the base? This is what Jesus did. Mankind can meet Jesus right where we are, without having to climb a path. All we have to do is acknowledge our need for a relationship with Jesus and accept Him.
The concept of this “mountain” is man-made, full of religions that are also man-made. Every one of them has some aspect which is dependent on a person doing something, or a variety of things, to climb that mountain.
My question is, when are believers who have a relationship with Jesus, going to share their story? When are believers going to stop making what happens in a building on Sunday morning more important than the other 166 hours during the week that we are in contact with others? When are believers going to extend the love Jesus has for us to others? When are believers going to be the ones that out-love the rest of the world? When are believers going to allow the world to know Jesus through us?
PS: This is includes me. I am still a work in progress.
Executive Coordinator – God of Hope