So, I've decided to no longer live a life of lies; I'm giving up my relationship with Jesus.
This revelation might disappoint some of you, while others might be happy about it. Hopefully, you all can appreciate and still love me after making this decision...
...oh, wait: you think I'm saying I'm no longer a Christian?! Well, how silly of you: of COURSE I'm a Christian still! I'm just getting rid of my former BAD relationship with Christ; that's all I was saying! Of course, EVERYONE has a relationship with God, whether it's a good or a bad one. Mine was bad. Like, I was periodically falling into the sins of lust and procrastination; because of that, my relationship with Jesus was bad, so I had to get rid of it and start having a GOOD relationship with Jesus. That's all I'm saying, guys!
Last night I went to a college group that meets once a week at a church near where I live. It's a non-denominational group; the people there are good-hearted and many of them genuinely love God. I'm a cranky Anglo-Catholic, so part of my reason for going to it (as well as other church places, periodically) is to remind myself that people can genuinely worship God with low-church (read: rock n' roll Jesus concert) worship services. I may disagree with the form of worship, but I don't think it's necessarily unbiblical.
However, when I got there last night I walked to one of the seats and remained standing for the song (I was a bit late). The song was one I'd never heard before, so I couldn't sing the words to it very well. Thankfully, like any good modern worship service, there was a screen with the words to the song on it. When we got to the chorus, I read these words:
"I'm laying down all my religion
I'm laying down
I want to know you, Lord
I'm laying down all my religion
I'm laying down
I want to know you, Lord
I want to know you, Lord"
When I saw those lyrics, I had to leave the service. Part of it was anger, because (besides the fact that rejection of the Christian religion is both incredibly stupid and wrong) one of my pet peeves is the whole "spiritual but not religious" foolishness. I was going to have to talk to people about that song if I remained there, so rather than remain and cause contention during and immediately after a worship service, I decided to quietly and peacefully remove myself from the situation.
Yay for self-control! ^_^ .
Now, for people who sing this song or songs like it, I'm sure many of you don't really mean, "I'm laying down my belief in God, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' death paying for my sins, the physical Resurrection of Jesus, our future physical Resurrection, the Church as the Bride of Christ, the authority of Scripture, belief that abortion is murder, understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman for life, etc.", when you say "I'm laying down my religion".
But guess what? When we tell people that we're "spiritual but not religious", or "laying down my religion", there's a really good chance that that's what they think we mean.
This is one of the many problems with my generation (myself included): we think that because we use a word in a certain way, everyone understands exactly what we mean by it. Perhaps it's a problem for every generation, but it seems much more pronounced today among my peers (once again, myself included).
|United Pursuit performs the song "Simple Gospel", the one that I have a major problem with. I'm sure they mean well, but good intentions don't mean anything when your words lead people to reject Christ's teachings in favor of a do-nothing feel-goodism. Songs like this can lead people to a false faith that collapses the moment tribulation comes, leading them to hate God Himself.|
(photo obtained from http://www.worshiptogether.com/worship-leaders/united-pursuit/ )
Words are important; when we use words like "religion" to talk about, well, "only bad, man-made, divisive religion", we run a terrible risk of coming across as meaning, "It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you have a good feeling when you sing songs about Jesus." to young Christians or to those interested in possibly becoming Christian.
It is especially bad if we simply make it a song and refuse to elaborate what we mean in the lyrics.
I'm sorry, but when we let go of Christian religion, "Simple Gospel" can very easily be confused with "watered-down gospel".
"Simple Faith" can turn into, "dumbed down blind and feel-good faith".
A watered-down "gospel" has no power.
A dumbed down poor excuse for "faith" that only works when things go well is worse than useless: it creates angry former Christians who've been let down by the lies a dumbed down blind faith promises. I know many people who fit that story, as I'm sure you do. Good Lord, I almost became that story a few years ago.
Our words are important.
Treat our words with the utmost care and respect.
Let's pick our worship songs carefully. Let's drop this one.
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Oh! And I also run a podcast with my atheist friend, Xrys! It's called The Religious Nut and Hellbound Sinner Podcast, and we have a fun time discussing all sorts of topics: religion, politics, science, philosophy, movies, etc. Check out our Facebook page on that, as well!