Spoken Word on Jesus & Religion

My friend Adam showed me this video the other day (and has a great post about it here). The spirit of this video is one that I can get behind. The idea of expressing faith in new ways is something that the church needs desperately. That being said, there are certainly things that I’m not sure about in this video.

The problem with something like this is that the term “religion” is so broad. For a lot of people, religion gives some sort of structure to understanding how we can join the ministry of God in the world. Religion provides an avenue to understand God’s action throughout history to help us interpret how God is acting and moving in our lives and in the lives of our communities. Religious traditions express the deep doubts of our communities but stands united against the emptiness that threatens to overtake us.

That being said, religion can also be incredibly damaging, which is what I think this guy focuses on and hits right on the head. When “religious” people are much more concerned with what candle is lit at what certain time throughout the service than with helping people in the community, we have a problem.

I think of great speaker Tony Campolo’s opening line when speaking at a church one night. He said,

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.

False religion is the religion that cares more about the small misbehaviors of one rather than the great amount of suffering endured by entire nations. This is the religion that he is speaking against. And I think that’s the type of religion we should all speak against.

That being said, I enjoyed the video. I think the line “it’s not a museum for good people, but a hospital for the broken” is a great line.

And if the church is going to have anything to say to the generations coming after us, we better adopt that attitude and quickly.

What did you think of the video? What stuck out as positive? What wasn’t so positive?

Cheers,
Eric

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Comments

  1. “It’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken” is exactly what I feel about religion & faith. I share his views but I do also think that he is taken for granted that all of practicing believers act like him. All in all, I do agree with him.

    • Thanks for joining the conversation! I completely agree with the idea of what he’s trying to do. But what catches me is saying that Jesus is like this and ALL religion is opposite of that. Grouping all expressions of religion together is too broad of an expression for me. Saying Jesus is against the corrupt and broken forms that religion can inhabit is spot on… but maybe the rhyme scheme just didn’t allow for that 🙂

  2. I get the direction he’s trying to go… but, I just can’t get on the boat. I think one key thing “religion” [but not the way he uses the word] does is what you talk about above but don’t explicitly name: it brings us into community. We are not the body of Christ alone, we are a part of the body. But yes, I’m totally against that toxic strain of religion that turns people to statues [stuck, in the past, dead, who creates insiders, who destroys outsiders]… but that isn’t religion in it’s entirety, that’d be like saying everyone in Jesus’ time was a Pharisee.

    • I think you’re dead on, Cassie. Faith by itself is a solo venture. Religion, at its best, gives us an opportunity to express our selves — words separated on purpose — in community.

  3. I was thinking the same thing when I had a random conversation on holiday a few weeks ago. I was sitting watching SNL on New Years Eve right after the ball dropped, and here we see a typical skit that included some folks vying for the GOP nomination.. and referencing their faith I hear an immediate retort from my left from a bloke a hardly know saying “That’s complete bull shit, organized religion is a complete scam! All they want is your money!!” What does one do in this moment? I try and stand up for the faith? Sure. Well? I think so? So there we embark on a very serious “dialogue” where we try to quantify how it is that “religious” folks and institutions have hurt people we know, how we have witnessed and seen the judgement and pain that comes from much that claims to be sharing the “love” of God. This is quite the conundrum for me. I totally agreed with him and I tried to grasp patience and care within this moment (like I do every time this comes up). I indeed have a love/hate relationship with Christianity and yet I know we can do better. What can you say when this guy comes at me with “what about all of the abuse in the RC Church and that they tried to cover it all up just to protect themselves?” indeed I struggle with this. We can find far too many reasons to where we as humanity bring our brokenness into the church and forget that it is in the love of God for humanity that we find perfection. So I told this guy that the church has indeed hurt me as well, but that I belong to a church that is seeking to right some of these wrongs, to step away from the judgement, and to seek reconciliation where we have gone wrong. By no means are Lutherans perfect, perhaps we are less than such. But, I hope that in our patience and respect for each other that he has reevaluated his thoughts on all of us sinners, after all we need to provide a hospital for the broken.

    • Great thoughts as always, Tyler. One thing that stuck out to me in your response when you said that you have a love/hate relationship with Christianity and yet you know we can do better. I was thinking that I have a love/hate relationship with Christianity BECAUSE I know we can do better. There’s a sense of striving, as the people of God, toward a more accurate representation of the body of Christ. That’s the mission of [true] religion.

Please keep your comments positive. I reserve the right to delete rude or insulting comments. If your comment is critical, please make sure it is also constructive. Thank you.

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