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    a crowd of people viewing a painting in a museum

    Avoid Being Religious

    Why is it so hard for people to imagine anyone coming to God without walking through church doors?

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    July 14, 2023
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    • David Spollett

      “God will always call individuals… That is why divine life can grow even from the seedbed of the church.” This is the humility - lived nondualism - at the heart of following Christ.

    • KEVIN

      Now this make perfect sense! Am so weary of this shallow feel good religion. Last year my wife was found to have colon cancer. All the church people came over and proclaimed all kinds of things. Casting out the devil commanding God to heal her in the name of Jesus. Then off we go to the "doctors". They practiced their craft for a year with great promises. At the end here she is , sure they burned and cut out the cancer along with some of her spine, took an abdomen muscle to patch up her anus( she no longer needs that as they equipped her with a bag that hangs off her belly to collect waste. Got another bag to collect the urine. And all the church people say praise the lord? Sorry man this is not a miraculous healing this is folks who study and big well funded hospitals who do this stuff. Sure it is amazing what they can do no doubt about that. So they sent her home . brought her home last saturday and tuesday she had a heart attack. The church is all talk and theory. Hearers but not doers. What you say here make way more sense than once a week go to a meeting feel good religion .

    • KIM A BROADIE

      I love this approach. I've spent a lifetime being put off by religious talk centering on sin management. Our example should be a magnet for the Spirit

    From Everyone Belongs to God.


    If only we would realize that we are at a stage in God’s history when, through hearts yearning for freedom, God will reveal his justice. It will spell the end of human laws and rights, and people will know in their hearts what is right and what is wrong. God wants to bring this about. We who bear his image must learn what is required of us as true men and women. Religion has never supplied this and never will.

    What, then, is the character of God’s church? Certainly it is not a matter of being bound in uniformity through religious rites (Gal. 3:1–5). The people of God’s spirit are joined together in much the same manner as scientists whose love of knowledge and shared interests draw them together. Each brings his own unique experience and perspective, and works and studies in his own characteristic way, while always keeping in mind the efforts of all. This is how we too should function. Our goal is a united fellowship whose members appreciate and love one another and place Jesus above all else.

    Many people never really consider why they are Christians. So much gets preached besides the true gospel, which is that God wants to remake humanity, so that the earth – not just heaven – might be filled with his glory. But too many Christians are content with a Christ of religion. Like pagans, they look for happiness after death. They relinquish the earth, and thereby themselves and other people. Their only interest is a blessed assurance in death, not the kingdom of God on earth.

    If Christians think that people have to be just like them in order to find consolation at the end of their lives, we must protest: No! There were plenty of people who died consoled before Christ came. That is not why he came into the world. He came to create new men and new women (2 Cor. 5:17). Right here, on this earth, God wants to see his truth, justice, and love glorified. Only when this happens will we prove ourselves to be fully human.

    a crowd of people viewing a painting in a museum

    The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese at Musée du Louvre, Paris. Photograph by Woonie Chong.

    God seeks to redeem humanity. But this redemption is a far cry from human achievement. As long as there are people, there will always be great works. Certainly in our day much is being achieved, but the driving force is little more than self-interest.

    Recently I heard about missionaries in Samoa. What they encountered is truly remarkable: the land and the trees belong to everyone. But now the mission wants to introduce private property. The Christians want to sell the land and teach the people how to compete and become ambitious for material gain, and thus wake them up so that Western culture can more easily be established there. Human achievements are introduced as if the only things that mattered were the works of our modern culture.

    Too many Christians are content with a Christ of religion. Like pagans, they look for happiness after death.

    I say leave the people alone! Let them flourish. They don’t have to become like us; they don’t have to be as untruthful as we are. For in spite of all the material splendor we are living in now, countless lies run through our society and weigh us down completely.

    Yes, people in material need should be helped – but God’s love in them is already far stronger than all our lies! Our task is to “put on the new self” (Col. 3:9–11). If we strive to do this, and if the boredom of our theology and our Christianity has not already killed us, we can become people truly enthusiastic for Jesus. If Christ alone is our light and life, then we can possibly be of some help to those who don’t believe. But religious talk is useless (Matt. 7:21). So is forming some kind of religious community where everyone sits together in a corner and prays and reads the Bible. No, make an effort to get rid of the lies that darken this world. Do this by endeavoring to live with an upright heart, in the power of God’s truth.

    God will always call individuals to him, regardless of how people in general think and organize themselves. He can cause life to flourish anywhere he chooses. That is why divine life can still blossom from the seedbed of the churches.

    Nevertheless, we still need to devote ourselves to something brand new, something that opens a door and shows a way forward for entire peoples and nations. Once people are on the right path, they can acquire further understanding of divine things. The conversion of individuals is only a temporary measure. Individual conversion by itself risks the sin of pharisaism. A single converted person can so easily flatter himself, thinking he is now a special person able to give others a spiritual kick now and then.

    We want to cast one net over all – over the good and evil, righteous and unrighteous, poor and rich, Christian and non-Christian – and then leave it to God’s unifying spirit to change, sift, and direct hearts (Matt. 13:47–52). Perhaps this is what Jesus meant by baptizing the people. They will come like captives into the kingdom of God, though most likely they will not even notice what is happening to them. And then they will find life.

    So guard against the insolence of Christians who have no consideration for the cultural context they find themselves in. These Christians should bow before what God has already done. For example, it was Confucius who saw that reverence is the beginning of true worship. Each of us should have this same reverence, even for our enemies. So don’t let the spirit of self-righteousness have the slightest chance of poisoning you, even from a distance.

     

    Contributed By ChristophFriedrichBlumhardt2 Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

    A German pastor and religious socialist, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt influenced theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Arnold, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman, and Karl Barth.

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