The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Happy Easter

I was chatting with a non-Christian friend earlier today and he was moaning about having to accompany his family to church.

When I encouraged him to try to see beyond everything else to the message of Easter, he said;

“Organized religion bears subliminal messages of subjugation. They are tools of oppression by men, of women, children and the weak. No one should submit to those teachings…”

I had to agree with him. Except for his spelling of ‘organized’, he’s American, they can’t spell properly! On a more serious note, I had to concede that he was right about organised religion.

Organised religion is an institution to express one’s belief in a higher power. It is an outward and often social articulation of belief in higher powers, often practised in community settings and may include participation in rituals. These are definitions from a couple of dictionaries.

However, I do not subscribe to organised religion. I believe in and have a relationship with God, three in One. I believe The Father made me in His image and likeness and endowed me with all of that He is and represents – love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness etc.

jesus-relationship-not-religion

I believe that Jesus, the Son, was crucified not for any wrongdoing on His part but because it was the only way to ensure my salvation. An exchange needed to be made; a life for a life, and He gave His for mine, willingly.

I believe in the Holy Spirit. He is there to comfort, guide and teach me.

Increasingly and unfortunately, Christianity has become a set of rules and regulations, dos and don’ts, rituals and traditions instead of a lifestyle of faith. A lot of Christians are now more concerned with what people can see on the outside as opposed to what is actually on the inside. It has become less about the state of our hearts and more about putting on a good show, less about pleasing God and more about conforming to other people’s expectations.

I’m so thankful that “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. He is the only One I need to please

It saddens me to agree with my friend but he has a very valid point. Manipulation has become the order of the day in the church; toe the line or fall out of favour.

Jesus does not manipulate. He doesn’t play games or hold his cards close to His chest keeping us guessing about what He wants. He is very clear when He says He loves us unconditionally and accepts us just the way we are. He doesn’t put undue pressure on us to be good. He doesn’t have unrealistic expectations for us. He invites us to come and reason with Him Isaiah 1:18. He offers rest for our weary and burdened souls Matthew 11:29.

He says He loves us with an everlasting love Jeremiah 31:3 and nothing can separate us from that love Romans 8:38 and I believe every word.

It will probably take my friend a whole lot more than this post to be persuaded that true Christianity isn’t organised religion and that’s ok. If someone as erudite and eloquent as Paul was only able to ‘almost’ persuade Agrippa to be a Christian, I have my work cut out for me Acts 26:28 – 29.

However like Paul responded to Agrippa, (and I paraphrase) it is my prayer that whether now or sometime in the future, you too, will become a Christian just as I am.

Happy Easter, everyone.

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18 thoughts on “Happy Easter

  1. Joxy on said:

    Amen to that.

  2. indeed, serving the lord is a way of life not some empty ritual.

  3. Reblogged this on who is the God of heaven and commented:
    Good post, well writen.

  4. Hello there. I discovered this as a reblog on ‘Trudom22’ ‘s blog. Thanks Trudom22!
    The thing that caught my attention was the message in the picture ‘Relationship, not religion’.

    First and foremost, I am not Christian. Neither would I lable myself as a follower of any particular religious system (although, that said, I find I am very Taoist in nature), but I try so very hard to see the truth in all things that have it.

    I regularly have conversations with a Christian pastor friend of mine on the nature of life, and truth, and just about everything else that matters.
    Now, his very biggest thing is his belief that ‘relationships’ are the most important facet of any lesson he can give… and he’s obviously having an influence on my way of thinking!

    I am in the middle of formulating a large part of my personal philosophy based upon the importance of relationships (something I will blog on soon).
    The way I see it, a relationship can be thought of as almost a living, breathing thing that exists between two things – yes, things, as it doesn’t have to be only a pair of humans!
    The ‘creature’ of relationship has two mouths, the responsibility of which falls only to it’s respective owner. Neither party can feed the other end.
    To maintain the health of the relationship, both ends must feed positivity into the ‘creature’. If only one end is fed, then the strength and vitality of the ‘creature’ fades. If it continues in this way, then eventually it dies.
    The relationship is no more.
    More to follow… when I know what the heck it will be!

    Anyway, I would agree with your observation on the way that religious systems are going, but I would also ask ‘Is this a result of our modern fixation on material goods, thereby vanity…?’

    Thanks for the post.

    Danny

  5. Wordsmythe, many people today are turned off ‘religion’ for different reasons. Most of all they don’t wish to be told what to do.

    A man governs himself for the sake of becoming a world class footballer; he diets, stays off the booze; no smoking, no profligacy etc but for growing in Christ what will he forsake?

    Whether it is termed religion or faith the result is the same because faith can be dead if it does no good works and so with religion, it is futile if it does no good works in humility. (forgive my condescending tone…I acknowledge your concern for pure faith and works) Bear with me a little.

    When John baptised in Jordan and the people came out to him, they asked what they should do. Soldiers and tax collectors who asked were told do so and so, don’t do so and so (Lk 3:10-14). Christ gave instructions in His sermon on the mount of how to live the life of God. When Peter preached to Israel on the day of Pentecost they asked him the same thing again, “what should we do?” and he gave them instructions. Subsequently, all the apostles instructed the people in what to do and believe and warned them against wrong actions and false beliefs/doctrines.

    Christ established a visible community of believers with codes of practice spelled out eventually in the writings of the NT. Bishops, presbyters and deacons were appointed (I & II Tim) to carry out specific functions in service of this new nation of believers (which consisted of all nations) which is the new Israel of God.

    How is it then that I may be a Christian unto myself without being a member of this community except I be isolated on some distant mountain and not able to travel or to be reached, whereas even there I would have the angels and the spirits of just men made perfect and Jesus my Lord to commune with me eh? (Heb 12:22-24)

    As you may rightly gather, I don’t subscribe to churchless Christianity. I accept and live rather the adage “No Christian is one unto himself”…and…”we are saved together but damned alone”

    A happy Easter to you too.

    • Don, I don’t subscribe to ‘churchless Christianity’ either. I think you may have misunderstood what I was trying to say. My grouse is with ‘organised religion’, a set of rules and regulations rather than a vibrant relationship with a living being.

      I belong to a and attend church regularly. I’m a strong believer in Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

      Thanks for stopping by

  6. I enjoyed reading your blog very much. I had a conversation yesterday with a nonbeliever where I explained the cross and how he gave us the opportunity to ask to be forgiven of our sins. If we do not establish the relationship with God and ask we will never receive what is rightfully ours.

  7. Amazing read. I’m so thankful we are living in the period of grace . As for your friend, I am sure the Holy Spirit will convict him. Happy Easter too!

  8. So happy to see this! I feel the same way. Or I should say “know” the same thing. I am so tired of all the churchiness, the game playing, the utter nonsense of it. I always say no I am not religous. I have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What is so hard for people to grasp about that. This relationship has nothing in the world to do with any ritual or place. I no longer go to “church” yet I have a much better understanding and relationship with God.

    • Hi Booksphotographsandartwork, (phew, what a long name :D),
      Like I said to Don, I do go to church. I love worshipping with people who share my faith. I believe we need to encourage and spur one another on to good works.

      Church doesn’t have to be all about rituals only but a place/body of people with whom we identify and share a common faith.

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