Is that even a word?
It is, but I believe it’s more of an attitude than a word.
Let’s ask a question: What turns people away from faith in God? What is it that causes a person to discard organized religion?
You guessed it! Religiosity. We’ve all met people caught up in religiosity. The people who flaunt their religion like a status symbol; the people that feel they are better than others because they belong to XYZ church or denomination; the people who have to let you know how much they donated to the building fund last year; the people who prefer to point fingers and say tsk, tisk, rather than extend that self-righteous hand to help someone out of the trenches. And then there are those that discount the delivery of God’s promises; the ones that cling to man-made rituals as the be-all, end-all of faith.
Not that ceremony doesn’t have it’s place. I love the architecture of old, Gothic churches. Occasionally, I like to listen to pipe organs and choirs. There is something calming about candlelight during a Christmas Eve or Good Friday worship. But these things are not my religion.
Is authentic Christianity dependent on candles, altars, banners and crosses? Are specific prayers, chants and responses a prerequisite to doing church correctly? Is the quality of my faith dependent on how many bible studies I attend, committees I’m on, or number of times I go to church in a month? Does it make me less of a Christian if I don’t fast and can’t remember bible verses on demand? I hope not.
But don’t high-five me just yet. I’m not going to give you a free pass to punt organized religion and avoid making a commitment to a body of believers. I believe it’s vital for a person to find those that will come alongside and help strengthen faith. It’s essential for a person to surround themselves with others who can mentor and help understand God’s truths. All these things help deepen spiritual health and create a strong, resiliant, authentic faith.
We Christians are encouraged to seek out other believers. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25
The secret is to not get caught up in things that tend to twist our impression of what God wants from us. He probably couldn’t care less if we worship in front of an altar, or say a certain prayer X number of times in just the right words. And he certainly doesn’t keep a score card on how many committees, bible studies and gold attendance stars we have.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. ~Luke 18.9-14
All he wants is our hearts.
Linking up with ABC Wednesday