I will put this as simply as I can: I am not religious. In fact, when I’m called “religious”, it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me, I stop immediately in my tracks as if I’ve just received the worst insult in the world, and I think “Is that really what you think of me??” Yes, I go to church. Yes, I’m active in ministry. Yes, I read my Bible. Yes, I pray. Yes, I’ve accepted salvation through Jesus Christ. Yes, I have stage 4 cancer and The Lord has helped us navigate this uncertain time.
But I am not religious.
Maybe not every Christian feels this way, but to me, the word “religion” has such a connotation of indoctrination, brainwashing, power hungry people, people who wish to control others, financial greed, legalism, dogma, human judgement and condemnation – so, uh, basically things that Jesus came to set us free from.
Being a follower of Christ is freedom!
Jesus came and set us free from these things. Paul explains all of this better than I ever could in Romans (specifically Romans 7). Romans 7:6 says, “But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.”
In the Spirit! Yes, you go, Paul!! Jesus came for the Jew and the gentile (read: everyone), so it was no longer about ethnicity and who you descended from, it was about your heart and your willingness to lay your burdens down at the cross and become a Child of God. Man, God is good!
I’m sure I’m not saying all of this the way I’d prefer it come out, so here’s a video that so accurately describes why I don’t like to be called “religious”. Our pastor showed this at our church the other week (cuz we’re cool like that) and I had to resist the urge to jump up and down clapping and cheering when it was over; it was that good. Although at this point I’m sure my church family wouldn’t be surprised if I did, they’re cool like that.
This guy is a poet (spoken word artist? rapper without music?) Ok, not sure what to call him, but his message is great. Please, please, please check it out.
Jesus > Religion
My favorite part? “Church is not a museum of good people, but a hospital for the broken.” Of course, I believe it’s important to be connected to church, to be connected to believers, to constantly be doing the “work” so that we can be effective disciples. This man is not saying that church is necessarily bad, but that we need to make sure that we realize that it’s not going to church that makes us good, it’s not doing the “good” thing, it’s us realizing what Christ really did for us and that we are all on equal footing before the cross and then recognizing that church is a place to be spiritually fed and bandaged before going back out into the world.
And, if you happen to be into rap, may I suggest this gem from Lecrae – I’m Free. Seriously, if you click it, at least listen all the way through, if you didn’t think you could worship to rap music, you are wrong! (Highly recommend the whole “Rebel” album, actually.)