I am tired of religion. It is so much more than boring, it is exhausting. It was a giant waste of my time and I want to crumple it up in a ball and toss it across the room into a waiting trash bin. It was an endeavor that I didn't know I had embarked upon. Years later, after well meaning summer camps and youth group events, I am waist-deep in it and the harder I try to get out of it, the more difficult it becomes. As cliche as that sounds, I was once entrenched waste deep in rancid jungle mud in central America, so I can speak from experience. It's frightening, and it smells awful. Fortunately, in that life-threatening situation my Youth Pastor pulled me and my shoes out of the muck. He also did his very best in those years to keep all of us clear of religious putrescence, and I think he did a pretty ok job. The problem at the time is that I wasn't being given the full picture. I was doing my best with the resources I was being given, but I need the shade of the jungle as well as the sunshine on the beach. Are you following me? My church was willing to accept the existence of God, and the greatness of God, as long as He didn't make a mess. Before I continue I want to say that I loved my church and I still do, but I am literally pained when I consider how GREAT God is, and how small we have allowed Him to become in our lives. How do we shrink such a huge force? Religion. I don't mean religion like what I choose to believe, but religion in the sense of the self-imposed set of A-Z that we must accomplish in order to call ourselves Christians. We don't do this and we do, do that. It is ludicrous. One of my favorite songs expresses this frustration best :
"When all that we eat brings us little relief, we don't know quite what else to do. We have all our beliefs, but we don't want our beliefs God of Peace, we want You." -Four Word Letter by mewithoutYou
We've sort of slowly begun to arrive at this point as a church, with those that don't really want Him as much as they want their beliefs rising up in dismay at what they're seeing. I can say, truly that everything is happening at what seems like a snails pace to me. I just want to get there. I just want to see us arrive at the point when we can triumphantly take our place in the body of Christ, letting hands be hands and feet be feet and...
let me get back to my own situation, that whole business is way to big to try to sort out right now.
I just grew up with a lot dos and don'ts in reference to Jesus. What I really want is relationship. Which is good, because I'm pretty sure that's what he wants also. That whole walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden thing, and then orchestrating the great reunion after the fall through His Son. It's always been about relationship. That's why the best men and women in the Bible aren't the ones that it says followed the law the best, but the one who were friends with God even when the Holy Spirit wasn't accessible to everyone. That is a key point for me actually. Cause, before He went to the cross, according to the book of John, Jesus talked with His disciples a lot about the Holy Spirit who would be coming after he was gone. Sure enough He showed up in the upper room after Jesus had ascended and his disciples were praying and fasting and waiting--no ministry happened between that time, they just waited. Since then we've been able to talk to God without a temple and a curtain, and a priest. God became so much closer. But consider those like David who knew God before the curtain was torn. And consider that God, Almighty was inclined to turn His ear to His servant who sought after that closeness. That's what He wants from me! That is what He is looking for. Closeness. So much of my life in church has been works. What can I do. I don't blame the church. I think it's just how we are as human beings. We need structure and and instruction. That's why it's so hard for me to break out of this stuff in the first place. I need to see that I'm getting somewhere better, becoming something better. But here's the thing. In my life, I think the only place where I don't give myself rules and goals to meet and structure is in my relationships. In my marriage, in my friendships and in my family I don't have a quota. I don't have to become someone great or achieve anything, and yet, I am so incredibly fulfilled with the people that I love. It is rest. It is freedom. That is what I want in my relationship to my God. I want the love that I have in a divine capacity. I am a spiritual being, and my life on earth is a dark reflection of my life with Christ. Jesus said he came that we may have life and have it to the full and I've got to have it. I am burning for it. There is more and it's not gonna be found in any trite push for excellence on my part. It's gonna come from resignation. I give up. I just want God.