killing the irreligious god

27 07 2010

I’m not religious, people say to me when they think I expect them to go to church. Good for you, I say. I am not religious. They look confused. You ought to be religious. Surely? Nope. Jesus was very religious. But unlike most religious leaders, he did not expect his followers to be as religious. Not religiously, anyway.

Instead of being all religious about religion Jesus was about taking the walls of religion and blowing them wide open. Religion so easily looks inwards and takes care of itself as religious people do their best to be religious, and do religious things in order that God notices and gives them religious points. So we inside who are apparently religious brush up nice and pick up heavenly brownie points by negotiating the Total Wipeout course of religious observance hoping that we don’t negotiate everything only to bounce off the huge balls at the end as God looks on and laughs. ”]

Jesus told a story about a religious father who according to his religion did lots of things wrong, when his irreligious son demanded his inheritance and ran off with the money. He should have said no; then he should have punished him; then he should have disowned him. He should never have welcomed him back. Religion says so. Innate human desire for fairness says so. The religious older brother certainly said so. By their religious standards the religious community should shun and disown the religious father for his reckless and irreligious behaviour. Unfortunately, the irreligious father represents their God. Unfortunately later on they really did shun and disown and kill the irreligious god.

Thankfully God is not a religion and God is not fair. He is wonderfully and beautifully not fair. Or religious. God says love me with all your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbour, love me enough to turn around from your old life and turn to me and I will welcome you whether or not you tick the boxes and do the stuff and look all religious because that is peripheral to being real in fact to be honest I can’t stand all that stuff it’s all just fluff and bubble and pointless when what I want is your heart. Love me, don’t label me. Come to me, don’t categorise me. Feel me, don’t fillet me. Dance with me, don’t dissect me.

At least, I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t really listening. Not religiously, anyway.

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
I cannot stand your assemblies.

22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.

23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

(Amos 5)



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5 responses

27 07 2010
carrie

Brilliant words – thank you 🙂

27 07 2010
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27 07 2010
C2DRL

Great, why don’t we get more excited about it?

The trouble is we are programmed to find rules and then follow them and bitch about them. I had a visitor the other day who was really worried on her journey to me that her satnav would take her a way she didn’t really want to go, and of course she would have to go that way! Doh! Turn the thing off and go where you want.

Relationship is about trust and trust is about having less rules. As our children and grandchildren grow up we gradually let them take more decisions and we remove some of the rules. It confuses them to start with but in the end it is what makes them adults, able to think for themselves. And that’s what God wants – mature friends and workers who can think for themselves and enjoy all he has created as they steward it. Did you hear that bit – enjoy it.

There is a trend these days amongst some Christians to ask – what would Jesus do? I can see where they are coming from but I think they are asking the wrong question, firstly because we don’t know, todays world is different from the one where we have stories of how he lived and secondly because if we were to ask him I think he might say “why are you asking me, I gave you a conscience and responsibility and I want to see you mature by making decisions and sometimes mistakes, and I will still love you”. And when we try to answer the question what would Jesus do, have yuou notice how many times the word don’t comes in the first sentence. God doesn’t say don’t he says enjoy, responsibly.

29 07 2010
Kevin

Exactly – we are called to enjoy, the trouble is where 2 or 3 are gathered in his name there will need to be a organisation, a plan, a set of rules and acceptable behaviour. That isn’t just a Christian thing, it’s a human thing. We have to find the right balance between the enjoying and the purifying, the freedom and the framework.

13 08 2010
fearday the thirteenth « the blog of kevin

[…] to keep him onside, acts that I might get wrong and muck it all up and have to start again. He is remarkably irreligious. I am not afraid because Jesus asks for our whole lives and when we give him everything it would be […]

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