I’ve been musing on the thought of religion recently.
It began a couple of weeks ago when a psychiatrist asked my wife and me if we were “religious” people. She was trying to categorise us into her scintific classification I think. Rene’s answer was a simple yes to start with, but then the further questions came: which church are you in now, which church did you grow up in, what’s your background?
Eventually she tried to explain that Christianity is about relationship not religious dogma.
The doctor’s head spun round and exploded. She tried to classify the entirety of Christianity into her defined box, and it defies classification.
That’s not to say there’s no firm rules in Christianity. We are governed by an ordered God who has set out the Law of Faith, which hold all things together. That Law is immutable. We’re not going to get into His presence and be shown the original, then the first amedment, second amendment (the right to prayer arms) and so on. God’s Law is fixed, but it’s not religious. It has power, but where religion binds, God’s Law frees.
So no, I’m not religious.
I despise the term. As soon as I say I’m a Christian to someone they get this look that says “ok, got you pegged now”.
Then they come over for coffee. And I give them my mug for religious people.
My dad and I got these mugs about 20 years ago in a novelty shop in the Gower just outside Swansea. They are inscribed “JESUS SAVES (with the Bethlehem Bank)”
I love watching the reaction when I use them. The confusion and bewilderment is great. It shatters any pre-conceived concept of a “religious” box for me to fit in, and it usually opens the door to talk very freely about the relationship that is Christianity.
Now I do have to be mindful of Paul’s advice to not cause another to stumble by our actions. With that in mind, there are a few people I tend to put the mug WAY out of sight because of where they are. But I also have a mug I was given with the word “Aries” and my birthday on it that I hide away from them as well. It’s not that I place any power over my life by these things, but they may cause others to trip.
I don’t eat halal meat, not because of any religious reason, but because I generally like my steak rare and a little bloody – halal always tastes a bit dry to me, but I use the halal lamb chops to make a stew if they look better than the regular. I’ll buy a kosher chicken if it looks like a nicer bird than the others. Like I said, not religious. Like Jesus said, “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” (Matthew 15:17-18)
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45). Jesus sums it up here. He never said a religious word whilst He lived in Israel. His words were filled with Love and Power, not religion and dogma. He liberated, not imprisoned. He shattered the burdens of the people and replaced their yoke with His.
So I don’t want a religion. I’m not religious.
I follow Jesus.