Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jesus' subversive spirituality

I'm reading The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey, the pastor of The Meeting House, "a church for people who aren't into church." I've been reading quite a few books about Jesus' radical nature and find them exciting.

The Christian church has gotten hung up on so many rules and traditions, most of them having nothing much to do with what Jesus was all about. Established religion was exactly what Jesus was so against when he lived amongst us. Remember what he thought about the Pharisees and the Saducees? Jesus challenged the status quo of the day. I believe he would challenge how some of our religions have turned out as well.

So many Christians have forgotten what Jesus stood for. They've forgotten who they're supposed to be following. Too many think of their churches as holy ground where we should dress up and follow established ways of worshipping. Yet Jesus came to replace the Temple with only himself as the place where we encounter God.

Says Cavey:
"Jesus taught his followers to expect his own continuing presence to dwell, not within special buildings called churches, but within their relationships. He said that wherever two or three people gather together in his name he would be there with them. (Matthew 18:20) If you want to get close to me, says Jesus, get close to the people I love (see Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus seems to be saying that God's presence is best experienced in the sacred space that exists between people when love is offered and received rather than in special buildings or pious places."

I'm not so much against religion, per se, or different styles of worshipping. It's just that people too often forget to act out the meat of Christ's message: To love our neighbour and to love God. It's all about love, isn't it? Let us not forget to love each other.

6 comments:

Julie H. Ferguson said...

I've always believed that churches should have no walls...

themadandwild said...

After watching Jesus Camp, I have to agree. The evangelists seem to want to create a militant faction in a similar way to the Muslim extremists, which quite frankly is scary.

marja said...

Absolutely, Julie. That's the motto for the church I go to.

marja said...

Thanks for visiting madandwild. And when you look back on the history of the Christian church we have a lot we should be ashamed of. Cavey talks in his book about the religion of the heart - the religion of love. And that means love of enemies as well - love of people who may not believe as we do. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus - not on the religion.

Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
What a nice sentiment! I often feel that religion tends to separate people rather than bond them together. That's true for people within a religion as well as from different religions.

When my husband and I married--so many years ago--it was easy to be part of an interfaith marriage because he and I had more in common--in terms of morals and values--than anyone I knew in my religion, and he felt the same way about me.

If it's just a question of people rather than buildings, it makes all the difference. At least, in my mind, anyway!

Susan

marja said...

Hi Susan,
Yup. Religion can separate people big time. Look at how many wars have taken place because of religious differences.
My husband does not believe as I believe either, yet we are the best of friends.
- marja