04. Your views on religion.
To my readers,
Normally I would apologize for not writing one blog entry per day. However, a wise friend told me recently that *even if* I don’t blog every day like I wanted to do for my New Year’s Resolutions, I still blogged more frequently than I would have otherwise. A small victory is still a victory!
And so now, I’m to discourse on my religious views. To begin, I’ve never so much understood why the phrase “religious views” was coined; I don’t actively view religion, I interact with it. “Viewing” something brings sitting on a park bench to mind: You are people watching, pigeon watching, children watching, etc. You’re not actively involved. A life with Jesus should not involve “viewing” but rather should be exciting (or at least busy). Jesus Himself says this: He came to bring abundant life. Life involves getting off the park bench and swinging from the monkey bars or sliding down the slide. Even, occasionally, pumping your legs on the swingset and competing with the person next to you (who cares if they realize it or not? All that matters is that you get higher. Let’s be honest here.).
Though the metaphor of a playground does not accurately describe a life with Jesus all the time, I certainly do think that people overlook the wonderful things about Jesus and His message and focus on the bad. Yes, there are things to give up. Yes, there are un-fun parts about Christianity. Yes, oftentimes it does seem like life hands you a shoddy hand of cards and God is far away, absent, disinterested, or otherwise occupied. Mother Teresa once expressed her frustration with God by saying that “If this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few.”
The whole of my religious experience can be summed up in those two words. What a world that can be found in them. Christianity attracts me because it has never failed to be honest. Yes, the world is bad. Yes, life is hard. Yes, I suck (you know a religion is honest when it isn’t afraid to be honest about you). But. God. Intervened.
I have heard others say that Christianity is the only religion that “gets it.” It doesn’t sugarcoat things. It doesn’t hide away the impurities of its heroes. It certainly doesn’t parade its heroes with garish, tawdry pomp and blare. It is brutally honest about the world, us, and the fact that we need help. Jesus Christ is that help and to pretend anything else is just sniffing at empty boxes.
My religious views are challenged every day by the Bible’s realities. Having been raised in a home where I was introduced to the Bible at or around the age of two, I certainly had plenty of time to form my own opinions of who Jesus is and more opportunity to see what other people thought of it. The Bible challenges my brain to either hold more tightly to what I’ve learned or let it go. I’m thankful for a God who won’t conform to what I think but rather gives me better glasses to see things and transforms my life to glorify Him.
For now, here’s a snapshot of my religious views:
- Jesus is alive
- the Bible is accurate (but sometimes its readers are wrong)
- humanity always needs help
- republicans are not always right
- neither are democrats
- joy is found at the Father’s hand
- there will be no peace until Jesus returns
- praise the Lord; He gives second chances (and thirds, and fourths, and fifths…)
- all things originated in God the Father and thus, humans have no sway in when they can be taken away
- all because of Jesus, the Lord’s mercy to me far exceeds His judgment
my God is larger than any religion. and for that I am devoutly thankful.