Coming off another Easter weekend where millions of individuals flooded the doors of churches has me thinking a lot about my relationship with Jesus. I know there are people this Easter weekend that made their way through church doors, experienced a very real God and is ready for a very real change in their life. Unfortunately for many, this weekend only represented a tradition or ideology of checking the box of Christianity. An old friend of mine referred to himself as a “church tourists.” Calling himself someone who’s spiritual but not a fan of organized religion. He posed a series of questions on why he opposes organized religion. He referenced things like gay marriage, abortion, refugees, war, philosophies on the connection with other religions and more. How do I respond? How would Jesus respond? If there was one thing I could say its that Jesus isn’t a big fan of organized religions as well. I believe if you approach faith with the ideology that it’s organized religion, full of rules, then you have missed the mark. Faith isn’t about religion it’s about relationship.
My friend is not the only one filling my feed with philosophical questions about his faith and how we approach such controversial subjects. Over the years, I’ve developed relationships with people from all walks of life and they know my viewpoints on various subjects including faith. Yet, they’re still my friends. Nearly 2000 years ago, a group of people persecuted Jesus, sent him to the cross, and three days later, he rose from the dead. That’s an amazing story. Something the eyewitnesses of that time couldn’t wait to share with others. Yet, even with the most significant moment in history documented time and time again, we not only decide to not share the story, we barely take the time to communicate and get to know him better.
I’m guilty. After a long day of work, I’m quick to turn on the last episode of Last Man Standing or grab the latest book from Patrick Lencioni before cracking open the book of truth, life, and love. God calls us to be in relationship, not religion. What does that look like? What do your relationships look like here on earth? Are they sometimes challenging, broken, full of ups and downs? Do you get in arguments but yet still share your deepest secrets with the very individual you were fighting with only days previously? A real relationship comes with doubts, questions, concerns, feelings, excitement, love, and so much more.
I encourage you to stop for a moment and consider why you’re attending church. Are you checking the box of Christianity or are you developing a real relationship with a real God? I too must ask the same question.