Are You Religious?

This Sunday marks our first preview service and we couldn't be more excited! We are building a church where relationships are our highest priority and it all starts with our relationship with Jesus. Today, we're hearing from our leader, Pastor Dihan, regarding his take on religion verses relationship. The other day, while waiting for over priced lattes in a hotel lobby, I struck up a little chat with a fellow customer. Once she asked the requisite “what do you do for a living” question , it wasn’t long before we were talking about God. I asked her whether she believed in God, and her response was telling. She said “I’m spiritual, but I don’t believe in organized religion.” 

What I read in that response is that a connection to God is appealing (i.e. “being spiritual) but the systematized rigor of religion, with all the do’s and don’ts, the standing and sitting, and the pomp and circumstance of Sunday mornings are not.

Truth be told, I agree with a certain degree. I, of course, am a huge believer in church, and churches that  are effective tend to be organized. So the slant against “organization” is misguided. Disorganized religion is not any better. But the antipathy towards “religion" I totally get. Who wants to relate to a God of rules; a divine referee who scores you on a long list of do’s and don’ts. Why would I spend my life worshipping someone who is constantly looking over my shoulder to see if I’m screwing up?

Unfortunately that’s how a lot of people here view Christianity.

It’s a religion, a system of codified rules about behavior God accepts or rejects. And based on how well you keep the rules, you go to heaven or hell. And so a lot of people opt out of “religion” to find a more organic, holistic, self-affirming approach to God that is loosely expressed as being “spiritual.”

The gripes about religion continued as we waited for our lattes, but at one point, I leaned in and confided “Look, I’m clergy, but I don’t like religion much either. Let me tell you about something else entirely—relationship. What I have with God is a relationship, and that goes way beyond religion.”  

And with that, our conversation got really interesting.

If you're interested in hearing more about the difference between Religion and Relationship, or if you want to learn more about our church, I'd love to meet you this week at our Preview Service!

Hope to see you there!