*originally posted march 10th, 2009*
There seems to be a wild movement stampeding through this generation that religion and doctrine are evil. Many claim the ever-so-famous line, ‘it’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship.’ (Before anyone gets too mad, I’ve said it too, and believe it!) And the crazy thing is, plenty a people hate religion and refuse to go to church for this very reason.
But I can’t help but wonder if the some of the people claiming these so-called truths are just looking for justifications for their lifestyle. Or perhaps some can’t come to grips with a God who would tell us not to do something that we might want to do. Heaven forbid a father try to protect his child from harm.
My personal take? There are reasons for rules, reasons for guidelines. Why is it that we don’t think twice about a parent that tells a child not to touch a hot stove? Or how about that double yellow line that runs down the middle of the road, protecting traffic from the danger of collision. Or what about the barbed wire gates around prisons, the ‘road closed ahead’ sign because a bridge is out, or even a concept as simple as password protection.
Why do we not even bat an eye at these rules or guidelines? Because their sole purpose is to protect us, keep us from danger and out of harm’s way, and we realize that. So then why do we cry and complain when God asks that we treat our bodies as temples, tithe 10% of our income, or control our tongue. The thing is, just because rules and regulations exist, doesn’t mean they stop us from touching the stove, swerving to the other side of the road, or proceeding through the closed road and falling off the bridge; it’s just that that’s when we get burned.
I guess my point in all of this is to say that doctrine–religious rules– aren’t completely horrible. I’ve been reading some Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, and he has got me thinking!! I love how he puts this idea: Doctrine is a wonderful servant but a horrible master. If we live solely on these rules, this what can I do, this is what can’t I do, we’re missing the whole point, and to have it master our life will eventually end in disaster. These how-to guides, aka religion/doctrine, are supposed to point us in the direction of Jesus. They’re supposed to better show us how to model our life after him. I mean, that’s kind of the point, right? To live in harmony with Jesus, walking with Him and living in His love.
Here’s to striving for that every day…