Some of you may read my blog and not realize the reason I started this thing to begin with. This started as an idea between Nate Duriga, Austin Surls, and myself as a way of dialoguing and sharing ideas about Theology and the Bible. Everyone else is MORE than welcome to join in on the dialogue. Austin invited several of his old Masters buddies to join in and there is always room for more. As this blogging community grows this will become more difficult, but for now I am going to react to each of their blogs once a week (on Sunday) and post my thoughts on their thoughts here. So without further chit chat, here are my responses to their latest blogs.
Nate's last few blogs have focused much on the persecution of Christians around the world and the effect our political decisions have upon world hunger. These reminders are good for us and much appreciated. Life is so easy for us here and apathy comes very naturally. If our friends and family were being killed or were starving to death (not to mention if WE were) it would matter much more to us. We would probably more readily make sacrifices for their well-being. But this is very bad theology. These are our brothers and sisters! This family called the church is more important than the physical family into which we were born. Those relationships are temporary. The relationship we have with each other through Jesus Christ is everlasting. We have do not have more obligation to our American brothers than we do to our African brothers. Ignorance and apathy are normal and easy but unacceptable.
Austin Surls' blog asks the question: "How should we use the word "religion"" This is a very good question and it kind of bothers me as well. (btw the following is basically the same as I posted under the comment section of his post, you dont have to read both!)My pastor uses the phrase all the time: "Christianity is not a religion, its a relationship." But is that really true? And what is religion? And what do people HEAR when you say religion? The second question is probably the most important and the most difficult. I think Christianity is actually a religion. James says "...pure and undefiled religion before God is this..." Paul on Mars Hill doesn't try and argue that Christianity is in a different category than their false gods but answers their unanswered questions and that the true God is completely different 'god' and with different expectations than they would have believed. But I think that the difficulty is understanding what people in your coffee shop think of when they think of religion. I think people think of religion as not having any correspondence to truth or reality. Its just an feel good thing. It doesn't demand or require anything of you. So if saying that Christianity is a religion communicates something different than what Christianity really is, should we use the term? Hmmm... But is Christianity only a relationship? And what do people hear when you say that? Unfortunately I think that we will run into the same issues. What does it mean to say you have a relationship with God (for your hearers)? I don't think this communicates what you want it to mean either. Does worldview do better? I'm not sure it's perfect because it doesn't communicate the obligations that a relationship with God requires. Ultimately I'm not sure I'm helping you a lot. Can you say that you have a relationship with God that changes the way you view the world? Or is that too long... and still incomplete? I'll just say that I don't think that defining Christianity as a relationship with God is any better (and maybe worse) than calling it a religion.
As more blogs join our blogging community I'll respond to their thoughts as well. I enjoy this dialogue! Thanks Nate for your response. I wish I knew how to exactly draw lines on applying these issues without spiraling into legalism. So hard!
Longing for a New Movement
5 years ago