Friendship is like peeing your pants; it’s obvious to everybody but only you can feel the warmth. ~unknown
My online buddy, Bret Alan, a professing atheist of the blog, Anything But Theist is often a source for post ideas. His post yesterday (March 5) left me thinking about the truth of his comment.
"Those who hate a religion do not understand it very well.
Those who follow a religion do not understand it at all."
To those on the outside (of anything, not just religion) can only observe and judge – they do not receive any benefit. The benefits are reserved for those included.
Bret writes often about religion and many times I agree. Religion is stifling, boxy and rule-oriented. From outside observation, it would be easy to assess religion is unattractive as a lifestyle choice or philosophy. I’m not interested in religion and rules without relationship make me squirrelly and want to rebel.
Unfortunately, too many Christians are caught in the box of religion and don’t have a relationship with God. They work and serve God because they think by doing those things God will love them and will reward them. The truth is God already loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. He rewards us for our faith, not for our works and the kind of relationship he wants with us is more than Facebook friends, or work buddies.
Those who follow religion don’t understand the gospel at all but when we understand the gospel message as an invitation to a relationship, we will experience true freedom. I’m not bothered by outsiders who observe and pass judgement. Jesus wasn’t bothered either, in fact, he spent very little [documented] time with those outside the faith community. He went about his purpose, teaching the Good News and healing the sick, infirmed and destitute. Outsiders came to him and he welcomed them, loved them and invited them to experience the Good News, and feel the warmth.