Thankfully Jesus presented Himself as THE WAY. Yet we have successfully turned what was meant to the expression of JESUS AS US into religion.
Unfortunately the more religious we are the less of a person we become. This can be seen in good people who live out their lives as an adherent of the law. And in those who eke out a passive existence in a moderate version of the letter - and as a consequence as lesser form of themselves. It can be seen as well in people whose piety is irritating, vitiating to themselves and a bad advertisement for God. Here think of a scarecrow as compared to a human being. Not to put too fine a point on it, as intelligent as some of them may be, they have become silly people with a silly religion.
Across the panorama of religion is has become common wisdom to accord any silly idea legitimacy just because it is someone’s religious idea. It’s not. Cannibalism is not ok just because its someone’s culture. Neither is any form of Christianity that warps the Kingdom of God into something effete and ridiculous ok because its someone’s perspective.
There are people who live in wholeness and spiritual wellness. They are not perfect, understand their own flaws but on most occasions exhibit grace and truth. Spirituality of the Jesus kind will make anyone an attractive human being. A Jesus life enhances intelligence, expands wisdom and opens our lives to revelation and the authority of the sons of God. A religious life leaves us un-healed, captive in Adams values and narrow minded but not in the narrow way.
OUR GOD IS RIGIDITY
Richard Rohr observes that “A large percentage of religious people become and remain quite rigid thinkers because their religion taught them that to be faithful, obedient, and stalwart in the ways of God, they had to create order. They too are not bad people; they simply never learned much about wisdom, paradox, or mystery as the very nature of faith. When so many become professional church workers without going through spiritual transformation at any deep level, religious work becomes a career, and church becomes something one “attends.” Real transformation is not called for or even desired. This has been going on for centuries, and in all religions.” (1)
This is why the casual religionist can find himself offended when he hears a presentation of un-DILUTED LIFE from the pulpit. He is too often used to hearing nothing and has become so anaesthetised to the fact that what he lives in is not the life of Christ that he takes offence and goes to another church. What many call godliness is simply our life projected onto God. Poor God. We make Him wear all these ill-fitting, garish clothes and don’t let Him wear His own clothes which is Jesus His Son.
If we are born again we become a new kind of person. Not just a more moral person. We become a son/daughter of God rather than just an adherent or even just a Believer. There has been a change in the nature of our being. This happens because to receive Jesus as our life is to be received into His life – a life where we and Father are one and we are interwoven into the fabric of the trinity. It is both Christ in you and heaven manifesting through you on earth.
‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!’ Ezek 37.35 NLT. If you are a pastor or a teacher your role is not to build churches or pump up a denominations. Your role is to make dead bones live – to join all Believers to the Source of life that makes them a new creation.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (pp. 36-37). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.