Monday, August 14, 2006

Human

"Religion to me is almost like when God leaves - and people devise a set of rules to fill the space."
- Bono (as quoted in "Walk On" p. 18)

Oh Christian sub-culture. I recently read a book entitled "The Christian Culture Survival Guide." It was quite humorous. However, it was also quite shameful. The sad part of the whole book was that 1) I got all the jokes and 2) they didn't always paint Christians in a positive light.

As someone who can easily be grouped in with the Christian sub-culture, I have long stated, along with many others, that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. I would argue vehemently with others that I am not religious.

Unfortunately, I must now say that I am guilty as charged. There is a definite relationship there, and the whole thing that God and I have going on goes way beyond a set of norms and rules. But... on top of that raw grace relationship, I have piled norms and rules. I have judged others based on how they fit the cookie-cutter mold that I always thought was Christianity. There are things that I have done or not done based on what Christianity, and not necessarily the Bible, says is appropriate.

I am not a Christian. I am a human, first and foremost, just like every other human. I have hope because of this profound thing called grace, which is available to every other human. The implications of accepting this grace has had vast consequences in my life (which I can blog about at another time). But, as the very essence of my being, I am simply a human, like everyone else.

One pet peeve that I have long had with "Christian" music is that it just doesn't seem real. Music should capture the struggle between reality and faith, and I often find that Christian music focusses way too much on the faith. There is nothing wrong with this... just for the record. But, if you read any of the Psalms, David balanced his real struggles with faith that God would take him out of them.

Many people have accused bands like Switchfoot and U2 of "selling out." I think it's the opposite... Switchfoot and U2 capture real life in their art. It is a balance of being human and experiencing grace. We can relate better to it because it's real.

These thoughts may seem random, but I'll sum them up here... Speaking to those who identify with the Christian sub-culture: Let's be relevant. We are not special or different; we are human. The only difference between us and those who don't identify with our sub-culture is a grace which is available to all. Speaking to those who don't identify with the sub-culture: Don't let something that smells an awful lot like religion prevent you from investigating a grace that could radically alter your life.

And just a final disclaimer... it may seem like I'm down on the church, but I'm not. I'm just in the process of investigating where the value and the damage lie in organized Christianity.

2 comments:

Anne said...

As a fellow human, who thinks about these things too, I relate a lot to your post. Grace, as Bono sings in one of his songs, is a great force that all people share. And unlike us, humans, who are 'sinful' (religiously charged word) or should I say have the possibility to make choices, Grace is a 'perfect', unhuman force, yet it is expressed through human life. Is that a direct form of the divine within us?
for each to interpret in his or her own way. And that is precisely what a human who thinks should do: question, and interpret without falling into the clutches of an organised and narrow mould of thought. Grace is free, and we are free to express it through our actions. We can also abide or not to an organised religion. No need to do both if we don't want to.

Wendy said...

Time to update JULIE!!!