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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus - - - a comment



There's much truth which needs to be spoken and this brother in Christ has spoken it. There is no objection to or denial of the problem which he hates. I value and accept heartily what he says. Clearly, he has understood and responded to the fundamental call of Jesus to follow him. I commend him for it. If Americans prefer to watch a video than read a post it holds doubly true of their love for catchy slogans and phrases such as, "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus." This brother, to his credit, has offered much explanation behind his phrase.

I'll take up a cue from his opening words, "What if I say to you?" What follows in the video are his strong convictions. There are a couple of points I would like to address because although this written message holds little appeal for a video audience others may prefer reflecting on the written print. My brother uses the terms "religion" and "Christianity." These are terms which can easily be misunderstood by nonbelievers as well as believers of the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Those who are familiar with video cassettes remember the expectation: rewind before returning it to the rental store. You were expected to RE wind it. That is, to wind it AGAIN. Note the appearance of the prefix RE in these two sentence. It means AGAIN. It is from the Latin RE just like LIGION. Although the term is widely associated, even as this brother does, it has nothing to do with religion. The implication inherent in the term is of one who was at one time bound, but severed that bond. The application of religion to the term is neither wrong nor inappropriate. When applied to God it says, in the strictest sence, the one who is religous towards God is one who after living a life being severed from God CHOSE to be bound (ligion) again (re) to God. So, in this respect my brother is absoutely, if not unwittingly, correct when he states "religion puts you in bondage." (timestamp 2:54)

The other term used by my brother is "Christianity." It, like the term "religion" is widely used and as widely misunderstood. The term was coined by the world to refer to "the faith that is in Christ Jesus." I do not have a problem with the use of the term, but it does suggest to me something about how a disciple has been influenced by the world and probably does not know it.

These words spoken by Jesus bring an imagery to mind of the yoke placed on the neck of oxen.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

However, it is more than an imagery. It is a reality. It is a binding on us when we take on the teachings of Jesus. It is religion. I understand there's an aversion to "commandments" by many saints who equate that with rule-keeping as mistakenly as they equate faithful attendance to the assembly as their fulfillment of the righteousness of God. I take another cue on aversion from my brother. Speaking claims of one's aversion to religion does not equate to understanding those teachings to which we are bound anymore than claiming to love Jesus equates for understanding his teachings.
There is one word noticeably absent from my brother's message of hate and abhorence: hipocrisy. No, this is neither an allegation or charge of hipocrisy on my brother. Rather it is the biblical, and to take another cue from my brother, I can say to you is found in the teachings of Jesus by which those called out of sin to walk in the newness of life are bound. The reality is that there is a related or flip side to his message of hate of religion. It is another familiar slogan: "I'm not religious, just spiritual." Many there are who will craft their own idea about what it means to be bound to Jesus so as to free themselves and dissassociate themselves, in a manner in which Paul never did, from our brothers and sister in Corinth or the fellowship of the saints in Christ today.

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