Friday, January 13, 2012

spoken word > religion?

Yesterday I posted the status "seems everyone and their mother has discovered the Jesus>Religion video today. I understand what he's saying, and agree with some of what he says...but something doesn't feel right..."

If you haven't seen the video, check it out here.

But what followed was quite a few comments, and I think there are some good words here. I'm posting them straight up, and have removed the names to keep their privacy:

"#1 - I totally agree with the video.

#2 - I think that it is missing the fact that God came to us while we were yet sinners......so that we wouldn't stay that way

#3 - I think it is right, but it words things in a way that could be misleading at times. For instance, when it says "Religion says Do...Jesus says Done." yes, Jesus did accomplish/conquer sin and death - he has done all we need for salvation. But Jesus ALSO says DO. Go out and make disciples of all nations - spread my word...my name....So for this particular piece in the video, it is misleading. It should say "Religion says Do....Jesus said it's Done, but still DO!" I'm glad at least more people will hear His name!

#4 - how can I like this status a few more times?!?!?! (He's "throwing the baby [AKA The Church] out with the bathwater)

#3 - Actually, I think he is trying to wake the church up with this video. The church is one of his intended audiences, if I'm guessing right. He does say that he loves the church. But I get some of that same vibe as you do for sure. I think he is a little disgruntled with the church.

#2 - It seems to be trendy to put down the church... We have to remember that the church is the vehicle God chose to bring the news of Jesus into the world. Also, I disagree when he says that religion causes wars... The fact is, sin bring about conflict and fighting...we are Christs bride after all

#3 - When Christ chose the "church" to spread His word, he was referring to his followers - not a building with walls, so I think this guy is unhappy with what we humans have done with the "organization" part of the church. I may be wrong though.

#5 - It doesn't feel right, I think, because it's chock full of generalizations, and yes, tosses the baby out with the bathwater.

"If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?"

--We're talking about the same God who gave governments and nations the responsibility to wield the sword, right? Serving the same God who prepared and sent his own people to war, which annihilated entire people groups? War, while never pleasant and often unjustified, isn't always so.

"Why does it build huge churches, but fail to feed the poor?"

So, the millions of dollars raised by organizations like WorldVision and denominational mission programs like we have in the Church of the Nazarene are a failure, then, because hunger and poverty aren't eliminated? "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me." --Matthew 26:13

"Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce..."

I don't know what churches this fellow's been in, but around here, our churches are chock full of single moms who have found God's grace, His love, and an awesome support system within the church. Again, generalization.

Ultimately, he seems to be focusing on the church as an institution in need of reform. In that respect, he's correct, and there are people who take on the name of "Christianity" while either living the opposite of Christlike or attempting to be so through behavior modification rather than Christ's saving grace. However, the church as the true gathering of Christ's body is another story.

He's right on about some things and just off about others, which is why it doesn't feel right to me. It follows the trend of using "religion" as a buzzword and assuming that God hates it, and that it's the opposite of Christianity in all aspects--which, by the way, is another generalization. If we take scripture seriously, then everything the video talks about being the opposite of religion--feeding the poor and loving the widow--is exactly what religion is.

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." --James 1:27
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1

#2 - I'll say one more thing and I am done. I think when many say that God did not intend for the church to become institutionalized...they don't always know what they are saying. Perhaps they read it in some book or heard someone say it and they agree in principle.

An institution is merely a group in relationship to further a purpose or cause. As humans we naturally begin to organize these groups because this is our nature to do so. Granted... It's the political aspect that is the sin here but if we are throwing out the concept of an institution then we are also throwing out marriage and the gifts and talents that God gave humans to reason and implement.

If we are called to further the Gospel then we as humans, taking Him seriously, would then find the most efficient way to do so...

Of course the church needs reform...but let's not just reform to a trendy version of current societies definition.

#6 - Thank You Wick! I appreciate you calling attention this.

#7 - Wick, I too appreciate your status here. Totally agree with previous comments that it has become trendy to point out faults of the church and overgeneralize them. Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her, so I should as well. Also, why have so many pitted Jesus against religion? Jesus didn't come to destroy religion, he came to destroy sin, evil and death. Another thought, Jesus accepts us as the broken sinners we are, but he does fix things...he wants to renew and restore us. I'm becoming less and less comfortable with the whole, "oh we're all just a bunch of jacked up sinners" stuff.

#8 - This is a great conversation and I'm just butting in (i haven't seen the video but will look it up)... Jesus died a Jew- there was no Church!

#9 - love this conversation. After all, I believe we all have been frustrated at one time or another at "church", but you still have to love her. That's why I love the quote from St. Augustine, "the church is a whore, but she's my mother."

#10 - Wick- I'm anxiously awaiting your thoughts...just sayin'....


Wick Anderson - Wow...just got on and read through this. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. Good stuff. This is me high-fiving many of your statements. I think along the lines of receiving the gift and style of "spoken word" he's given, it's an intimate portrait of his experience. As such, even though it rubs me the wrong way, I think it's an honest expression of where he is in his journey - and glad he shared it.

It's obviously connecting with many...it's being shared all over the place...which should break our hearts. What this man speaks of, should not be anyone's experience of the bride of Christ. There are many places she is beautiful...may we seek to celebrate, and be ready for... our bridegroom.

#11 - Agreed. This is where he is and how he feels. It would be wrong to hear his beautiful rhyming and say "yea, down with religion." Yes we are the body..the church, but we also meet in a building that people refer to the church...where different religions are housed. Through those houses, many people have come to Christ. If you view religion as different sects, yes it can get ugly and uncomfortable, but when viewed as a way of telling others about Christ, it works. By the way, great quote #9. I never heard that before.