Do you Barf at "Being Religous"? I do.

My friend just became a follower of Jesus a few weeks ago. It was a process involving months of dialogue, questioning, reading the bible - answering difficult questions - some which had simple answers and some had answers he wasn't expecting.

And then, almost anti-climactically one day he simply said - "Well, I was expecting it to be an emotional moment but... I just believe." I asked him what he meant. He clarified - "Yep, God - Jesus dying and being raised for me... I believe."

He then prayed to acknowledge his need for Jesus Christ - for His forgiveness and his desire to make Him his life leader. It was so simple and genuine. It was awesome. (Here's a brief video that explains this - Watch here.)

We were talking a few weeks later, reviewing now what it meant to follow Christ daily. In that discussion he mentioned he thought of things differently "now that he was 'religous'."

I chuckled silently - knowing what he meant but proceeded to VOMIT on the inside against the term: "being religous." He genuinely was experiencing life changing perspectives - he didn't know how to articulate it so that is what he said. I got it - but...

I think many people still get "being religous" mixed up with following Christ.

As Brennan Manning put it in his book, The Signature of Jesus:

"Religiosity per se is not discipleship; in fact, it may be a safe refuge from the revolutionary lifestyle proposed by Jesus."

"Being religous", as used by people in culture, usually connotes... doing "religous things" like going to church, praying or wearing Jesus t-shirts. In other words, being religous focuses on outward signs or activities that display ones piety. And 99.9% of the time, if we are focused on the outward signs it isn't for God - but for others who are watching us.

Interestingly, Jesus' harshest words came to those who thought of themselves as pious or religous in this sense. Jesus made it clear that this understanding of "religion" would only impress some people but not God. God sees into our heart - bummer for us, if we care more about what others think than God himself. In contrast, when we acknowledge our heart's deceitfulness and impurity (sin) before God, His grace can activate us with resources of love we don't have on our own. So not "acts" of religion, but abundant love flows, founded on God's truth in Christ.

The truth is we all follow something or someone. The question is who or what (money, relationship, Buddha, 'religion', atheism, capitalism). One of my greatest fears is for people in my life to make the mistake of thinking of me as a "religous" guy. Please don't make me barf. My sole desire is to be known as "a guy who loves and follows Jesus".


dizzyizzy7 said...

dear nephew erin,

i am just a simple woman, no divinity classes, just a working grandma that is trying to live her life the way God would want me to.

i consider myself "religious," so please, try not to BARF !!!!!

i really think you need to expound on this subject of "being religious" because i am totally confused. i thought i was living my life according to the "Purpose Driven Life" and "40 Days of Community" and, of course, the Bible.

on behalf of all of us who read your blog, could you please explain how/what/where we should be living our lives ?!?!??

i thought my actions were a result of my relationship with God.

i am so confused.

HELP !!!

love and hugs,

p.s. some background for you - i was saved when i was a teenager. i was handed a Bible and told to go to church and pray......not much direction, and so many questions, but being a teenager, unable to ask for fear of embarassment. so, as soon as i flew the coop, i left the church. i came back only because of sandy's sister and her move back to the bay area. she wanted to find a church, and the church we found had just started "The Purpose Driven Life." i told sherry that we would go back if we thought this was where we should be. well, that was 4 years ago, and we are still attending the same church. i have missed years of Bible studies, lectures and sermons, so i consider myself a "baby Christian,", still learning. hence my confusion over your blog !

Eddie on Fox said...

I can relate to lulu. I'm just curious why you didn't bring up the "religious" thing at the time when your friend brought it up.

Erin said...

GREAT comments - for those of you who are wondering - I have responded to these individually.