GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours
Religion drains me. I am tired of religion. I wish it would go away.
We humans tend to create religion. We build systems of belief and interpretation based on our own opinions or acceptance of views from a previous generation.
Before I know what has happened I codify my beliefs and assume they are precisely what Jesus thinks.
Then I begin to judge others relationship validity with the Holy based on whether or not they observe my belief system.
Religion tends to serve the movement rather than the Master. When I’m concerned with my religion I seek laws instead of Jesus’ heart. I can be committed to religion yet find myself far from the heart of Jesus. After a time, my religion can actually oppose Jesus’ values.
Pardon me for my momentary audacity, but may I say what I think Jesus would say should He address our churches?
“Come on people, please wake up and stop the time and effort spent to build and protect your religion.”
I suspect the furthest thought from Jesus mind as he set out on his mission was to start a religion. He came to restore relationship between God and humanity.
As I read my Bible I see Jesus ready to challenge the builders of religion. His confrontation was always provoked by their allegiance to self-imposed rules rather than alignment with the heart of God.
Far more times than I like to admit I find myself among the crowd of the religious builders.
One of the most obvious ways is when I find myself reading my Bible to find support for an idea that I have predetermined to be true or so want to be true.
Such behavior on my part lays another brick in the structure of religion.
To steer clear of participation as a religion builder I think of a few guidelines I want to follow:
1. I want to learn to read my Bible with one eye centered on the page and my other eye focused on Jesus. At the heart of my Bible is the story of what Creator God has done and is doing through Jesus. Jesus is my link to the Holy. Everything in my Bible is to be interpreted through Jesus who mirrored Father God.
2. To avoid transformation into a religion builder I want to remember that my Bible is written for my own transformation and growth. Its purpose is not to support political policies or religious darts hurled at others.
3. I draw myself into the practice of religion when I start to seek Biblical support for a valued tradition or for something that I would like to see changed. The way I read my Bible can transform my traditions into my gospel, rather than the gospel of good news brought by Jesus.
4. I want to take care not to read my Bible to take proof texts and change them from their given context to justify my tribal practice.
5. When I read my Bible with the sole intent to make my views right and your interpretations wrong I act as a contractor of Religion.
What if I attempt to consistently read my Bible with the humility of a listener and the anticipation of a learner? Wouldn’t that act alone keep me from religious construction? Wouldn’t that act alone take the focus from me and place it on the Master Builder where it belongs?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: My Bible Is Not About Religion