I just spent part of the week with an old friend. We’ve known each other since we both attended a Christian college over twenty years ago. Deep rivers of relationship run between us … one of those friends you can talk to about anything.
Or at least that’s the way it use to be. Since I’ve been “coming out” of organized religion, I find I have to be very careful who I talk to about what. It’s kind of like “reverse judgment.” For many years, I was judged on the “bad” things I did or said. Now, I’m judged on the “good” things I say or do, simply because it disagrees with the “established system.” Go figure.
Anyway, after a couple of days, this friend finally asked (very loving and not judgmental- just in an earnest way), “What has brought about this ‘hating’ of the church?”
She stopped me in my tracks because I guess I never viewed it as a hatred of the church. Quite the contrary, it’s my respect of this institution and the people I love there that has kept me from totally walking out…
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my spiritual journey. See, I’m one of the masses in this generation who have kind of “woken up” to the fact that organized religion, in many ways, has done God a great disservice. Still, because of my relational connections and the needs of my family, I cannot totally walk out of “church” (a.k.a. organized religion) and never look back.
So I live in flux. I stand on the edge of westernized religion, and “see” how it has often been perverted and used for personal gain. Like so many other movements, something that I believe started out pure quickly became a tool for control and influence. A friend of mine recently commented to me that “they took Jesus, raped him, and then used his broken body to their own ends.” Strong language, but pretty accurate.