, , ,

I have come to the conclusion that religion is all about safety.

I read a link, posted on my FB timeline, written by a church pastor, who claimed that some contemporary types of worship were more like pagan worship than Christian.

Even before I read the post, I was questioning just what ‘Christian worship’ was. The writer of the post went on to outline four detrimental consequences from expecting to connect with God through music.

For the record, I think you can connect with God in lots of ways – music, reading the Bible, talking to people, being outside, watching a sunset or a baby or animals, or through art or poetry, or through meditation.

What this writer was attempting to do was to assert that his way of looking at religious life was the right way, and ultimately the safe way, the way to stay on ‘the straight and narrow.’

And that’s what we like as human beings. We like to have boundaries, we like to know where we’re going, we like to know that others think the same as we do. And we like to tell others that they’re wrong and we’re right.

Now…I’m just not convinced that this is what Jesus offered when he called those first fishermen to follow him. He just said ‘follow me.’ He didn’t say, ‘follow this teaching’. He didn’t say, ‘come and I’ll give you a life that is secure and safe.’

He called those men to just follow him. And where he went was not safe, nor easy, nor secure.

He was a wandering rabbi, supported by friends and some wealthy women. He challenged the religious norms of his day, and made enemies of people who wanted the status quo maintained, because they had a vested interest in it. His challenge of what was ‘doctrinally right’ ended in his death.

So, when a pastor, no matter what ‘brand’, is critical of another ‘brand’ of Christianity, I have to question what it is that this person has to lose by acknowledging that there may be different ways of looking at faith, and what they have to gain by asserting that their way is ‘right.’

Religion is about staying safe – having the ‘right’ doctrine, saying the ‘right’ words, living the ‘right’ life.

The only problem is that Jesus did not have the ‘right’ doctrine by his contemporaries’ standards – in fact he challenged it every chance he got. Jesus didn’t say the ‘right’ words – much of what he spoke to the religious elite angered them. Jesus didn’t even live the ‘right’ life – he hung around with the socially outcast and didn’t follow all the religious cleanliness guidelines.

So I’m putting out there – I will not live a ‘right’ life, or have the ‘right’ doctrines, or say the ‘right’ words.

But I will follow Jesus to the best of my ability. I will be as true as I can to the person God has made me to be.

And I will live my life outside the safety of religion.

Because religion doesn’t really offer me anything of value.

But Jesus sure does!