Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's a paradox of sorts...

I recently spent some time with a person who uses the term “my religion” anytime he/she talks about his/her spiritual beliefs. This person and I differ some on doctrine but our core beliefs are the same: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth through the virgin birth, who died on the cross and rose again to give us forgiveness of our sins and that believing in Him is the only way to Heaven.

But I find the use of the term “my religion” bothers me. It was said enough that I had to examine why it bothered me. In our society, “religion” is used to describe any spiritual belief system. To most, it means a tenet of beliefs that you follow- rigid rules on how to live a confined life. I find I am colored by society’s use of the term. The circles I move in don’t like the word “religion” any more than those outside the church. It represents something hollow, cold. When I describe my beliefs I want to express something that moves me to the core of my being, that represents the foundation of my life, my reason for living. Jesus is my Savior, my Lord, my all in all. It’s a relationship that defines my worldview.

The dictionary says religion is: A) Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator or governor of the universe. B) A person or institutionalized system grounded in such belief.

While the word itself has a definition that aptly describes a spiritual belief, it leaves a lot to be desired. “Institutionalized system” conjures up images of white walls, straight jackets and seeing the world in black & white. I want the words I use to describe my faith in Christ to in paint vivid strokes of color. It’s hard to define it in one little word, much less with a stigmatized word like “religion.”

As I grasp at how to aptly convey my relationship with Jesus, I’ll leave you with a bit of a quote by the late, great Rich Mullins: “If you’ve ever known the love of God, you know it’s nothing but reckless and it’s nothing but raging…”

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