Thursday, April 10, 2008

being religious vs. everything that is really good

So something I have been thinking about is all the bashing of the word "religious". I know that it has become the end all be all to everything wrong with Christianity, however in it's purest form it means following and acting like Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I'm really not trying to make to big a deal about it, (why are you blogging about it then??)I guess I'm just commenting on how trendy it's been for Christ-followers to wear their "I hate religion as much as you, brother athiest" t-shirts and separate themselves from the phrase. All that to say, on my drive to work this morning I was pondering this and thinking that a better way for me to express what I don't like, or want to separate myself from is from "church-ianity". The idea that our true love is following the structure and nuances of being part of a social-organization and it traditions then following Pastor Jesus. Just a thought.

In conclusion, I was listening to Matt Chandler from Village church this morning and he said "what really makes religious people angry is when the virtue of their faith is questioned and they are told they need to grace of Jesus" (or something like that). That got me to thinking, firstly, about the term "religious", and secondly, how true that has been to me. I pray my heart is always soft enough to continue hear that.

To make this post longer and completely unbearable to read, he brought something out of scripture that I thought was fascinating. As he was teaching out of Luke 6 where Jesus is speaking of loving your enemies, and turning the other cheek, he mentioned that in the early church, to be slapped across the face was a high insult when being kicked out of the synagogue. Fast forward to Jesus trial in front of the pharisees and what do they do at the end of it? Have him slapped across the face. Then in Luke 6 he talks about giving up your shirt if they take your cloak, and we fast forward again to Stephen, demonstrating the teaching of Jesus in the book of Acts as they ripped off his garments as the stoned him and his response being "Father, don't hold this against them". Wow, the early church following Jesus teaching and here we sometimes try to make it into some allegorical philosophy... you know, "Jesus didn't really mean to say, give them your coat..."

I thought it was good at least!

2 comments:

David Younghusband said...

That is a challenging thought....
I was recently studying the garment passage in the Sermon on the mount and I was convicted but what it seemed to be saying...
Jewish males typically wore two garments inner and outer and many peasants only had one outer garment so the giving of it would literally leave them naked. Additionally, because the cloak doubled as the man’s bedding Old Testament law permitted no one to take it. Therefore, Jesus demands the surrendering of the one possession the law explicitly protects from legal seizure. Jesus is demonstrating in this passage that the disciples have legal rights but those who live in the kingdom of God do not make use of them....
Now I have to work test this with the rest of scripture but I thought it was interesting

Steve Oberg said...

Good word! There is definitely an emphasis in the church lately on being and acting "christian" particularly in a lot of the emerging church stuff. People get all excited about social and environmental issues and how "conservative" christians don't care enough about that stuff. (It really ticks me off, but that's beside the point.)
Jesus didn't come just to change our behavior, or make us "caring" people. He came to seek and save that which was lost, and to defeat the hold of sin on our lives. What does that look like? Well - our behavior and attitudes DO change - as a RESULT of this relationship, but that wasn't his only purpose - he wants a relationship with us!

BTW, let's talk about gouging our eye out or cutting off our hand sometime too...