Sometimes the blogosphere feels empty and void of reasonable thought but then I’m surprised by something that makes me think and inspires me to make a rebuttal. On Tuesday, my friend, Bret Alan of Anything But Theist (I can call him friend even though we haven’t met because 1. he makes me laugh, 2. we have conversations where each person is heard & respected, and 3. he knows the name of my Man) wrote a post called, Disorganized Religion.
It bothers me when I hear believers shoot and wound each other and the disdain enveloped in the comment, “I don’t like organized religion,” is exactly that. He writes,
The assumption is that most people who say “I oppose organized religion” in fashion are really saying, “My religion isn’t crazy like that one.” Sometimes there is a hint of, “I do my own thing,” or a general dislike for certain larger sects, even a blanket rejection of authority as a whole.
I don’t agree with everything Bret wrote (because he tells me I have earth-shattering naivety - not me personally but Christians who think like me) but some of what he says is cause for pause and confession for believers.
We are part of a covenant community; anyone who claims to be a Christian is involved in organized religion. If we disassociate ourselves with organized religion so as to be accepted by the “it crowd” of non-believers, all we accomplish is to admit we are confused because anyone can see the words and actions don’t match. If the statement comes from a deeper rebellion towards authority then we need to consider that the Lord sees rebellion as divination (witchcraft). This is serious and needs confession and repentance.
I think the greatest problem people have with organized religion is one that I haven’t heard be identified. Our spirit yearns for the supernatural because we’ve been born again by the Spirit; we’ve been born into the supernatural and into the kingdom of heaven. Too often the church functions the same as a business corporation. It can’t be done this way. Jesus explained and demonstrated the way to live in the kingdom of heaven, especially for leaders - it’s to be the servant of all.
When the church doesn’t understand that our role is to bring in the kingdom of heaven, people are frustrated because our spirits want more. It’s the dissatisfaction of unrealized desires that lead us to criticize what we don’t understand and for organized religion to operate in the same manner as a large corporation.
The answer is not disorganized religion, nor is it to disassociate from all religion but it comes back to understanding our identity (supernatural) and living and being the ‘church’ supernaturally.
Bret Alan and I have been having a conversation on Facebook chat for the past several weeks, even stretching into a couple of months by now. Mostly we talk about religion, but sometimes we talk about meat and he tells me jokes. Some of what we chat about make it into my blog as posts based on what we’ve talked about but Bret is posting our conversation in chunks (because we have pages and pages of written conversation). The first installment was posted several weeks ago, you can read it here. Stay tuned for more in coming weeks.