For years I have heard and repeated myself: “I am not in a religion! It’s a personal faith in Christ!”
Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much knew what I meant, but I suppose if I told that to a theologian, he or she would just say: “Yes you are in a religion.”
To which I may respond: “The heck I am. Religion is a set of rules. Guidelines. No different from many other religions or just a moral code to adhere to. I am spiritual.”
However, I took step back this weekend to really peer at what religion actually means and why others including me would rather not subscribe to that term. I also discovered why it could be an appropriate term after all.
According to Garry R. Morgan, Professor of Intercultural Studies at Northwestern College:
[Religion] is an organized system of belief and practice that answers ultimate questions and guides daily life.”(Morgan, 2012, p.21: Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day)
In the beginning of his book, Morgan also states that the definition of religion is too vague or too narrow so it is really hard to define what exactly is religion, but I think his above definition pretty much covers different belief systems which are too long to discuss in the here and now.
So, if you are believing in the bible, the Sabbath, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, paying tithes(which is a practice most have misconstrued but thats for another lesson), give to the poor, or even pray- then what you do actually fits Morgan’s description of what a religion is: Simply an organized system of belief.
Why am I on the fence with this?
Well, serving the Lord is not as organized as it may seem, well in the OT(Old Testament). But there are certain practices that are just embedded in my love for Him. Praying, meditation, fellowship, treating people kindly and sharing the Gospel could be seen as religious but even folks in Christianity would say that is not religion.
To those die-hard church goers, religion and adhering to it involves a place of worship, mandatory church duties, payments, praise services and teaching people about the bible. Some of these activities are good and well intentioned- some aren’t.
My husband and I founded Mission Possible because we wanted to come out of buildings with organizational “spirits” and reach all that God has for us and His Kingdom. That is all. No gimmick, no “fancy light shows and camera tricks” and certainly no telling half truths. This is why religion has a bad reputation, people just don’t want to be told how to do something based on tradition alone or just becauseone figurehead says so- and I completely understand.
I can safely say my religion is based on faith in Christ the Lord and that He was sent from God and that He is both fully divine and fully human.
What is your religion? Or should it matter?