We’re worshipping religion, not God. It’s hard, when we’ve been endowed with these amazing buildings, these historic legacies and these time-honored traditions, not to mistake them for the thing we’re supposed to really focus on. To paraphrase the recent TV show, ‘Halt and Catch Fire,’ religion isn’t the thing; it’s the thing that gets us to the thing.
Organized religion, and all that comes with it, is a means to an end. It’s intent is to facilitate community, spiritual growth, mutual accountability, worship of God and transformation of the world around us. But so much of our energy in recent decades has gone into propping up aging, hollowed out institutions and preserving empty rituals for the sake of themselves that we’ve turned them into the golden calf, taking precedent over God and the Gospel at the center of our hearts. We’ve fallen victim to mistaken assumption that we have to resurrect dying religious infrastructures in order to reveal God to ourselves and others. But in doing so, we’ve run the risk of losing connection with God’s call all together.
The words above echo my current thoughts on God and religion. Religion is a means to an end, not the end itself. I must admit that all the amazing buildings as the quote above says have an opposite effect on me. I was recently in a suburban church for a funeral and as I looked at the lavish building I wondered just how many people could have been helped if they had spent half what that did for the building and spent the rest on the community. It saddens me to think this way but that is just how I am wired I guess….
I love this quote. I will have to put it on the top of my list of favorites.