12 April, 2006

God Isn't Religious

This was the title of a flyer that showed up in the mail recently advertising a new church in the area encouraging people to come out for Easter celebrations.

"God Isn't Religious. Are you?"

It's filled with fancy logos, a bunch of snazzy images and some motivating words. All in all, it's a pretty nice piece of religious advertising. In fact, if I was so inclined, encouraged by this friendly bit of mass marketing, I'd probably head over there on April 14th to hear "one of their two identical Good Friday services" (reassuring all those people who thought they'd be subjected to a 9:00 - 11:30 rambling speech on the importance of God. Who has time for that?). Unfortunately, I'm not welcome in their church. Because I'm religious. And they don't want religious people worshipping their non-religious God. Maybe they're afraid of what might come up during the Q&A period. Maybe bringing a Bible would send out the wrong message. Maybe getting up part way through a rousing holy electric guitar riff is bad for business.

It's only fitting I suppose that this flyer comes hard on the heels of the pomp and pageantry surrounding the Gospel of Judas and the revived interest in whether or not Christ died on the cross. I doubt very much Christianity has ever been so confused and subject to the ebb and flow of media opinion and platform preaching as it is today.

Somewhere along the line, someone really mixed things up. And it's snuck up on all of us. Christianity is now relegated to nothing more than a feel good emotion. Spirituality has replaced religion. Dynamic messages and foot-stomping holy music have quickly replaced tiring sermons given by tired men and boring hymns played on bored pianos. And it's easy to see why. This is, after all, the Spoon Fed Generation. Everything comes to us. Newspapers, hair products, cars, husbands, wives, friends, Jesus, God. All neatly packaged up and delivered right to our house. No work involved. Just sit there, close your eyes and give us your heart and mind. Don't worry, we'll do the rest. When we're done, you'll have found salvation. Or at worst, a coupon for one of our new books.

The flyer goes in for the kill.

"Maybe you grew up on religion but rejected it when you grew up. You want to know God, but you don't want the religious "stuff" that comes along with it. You're in great company. That's what Jesus was all about"

It's difficult to express an emotion that describes throwing ones hands up in the air and then being stunned into silence.

!!...

Justification by faith. The occasional spiritualist. It's the 21st century kick. Just believe in God and He'll do the rest. What a wonderful concept. No wonder billions of people around the world are happily following along (and in the process opening up their wallets). God is being spoon fed to entire generations of people by men who prey on the hearts and minds of the voluntarily uneducated.

Mat 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

"Close your eyes, grab onto my shoulders, and let me lead you to your God." Maybe someone's conscience got the better of them. Maybe it's written in hidden ink somewhere.

There is a level of personal responsibility God expects from us that is being sadly ignored by "Christians" all over the world.

Luke 18:8 "...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" If faith is all we need, than the answer, of course, is yes, he will find faith. However, is it the right kind of faith... Is our faith in God based on our understanding of Him through the diligent reading and searching of Scripture or is it having faith that the people teaching the new 21st century God are correct? Our salvation is too important to leave in the hands of others. It's something we should ALL be figuring out for ourselves. What's required? What do I need to do? What do I need to stop doing? What does God expect from me?

The suddenly suspicious flyer concludes with this: "It's church for people who aren't into church." But I'm thinking why be ambiguous. Just come out and say it: "It's God for people who aren't into God."

The ditch is filling up fast.

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