Thursday, March 18, 2010

Religion Versus Christianity

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” Acts 17:24

In keeping with the title of this blog. I feel it’s time to expound on the idea of religion being a “Snare and a racket”

Those words of J.F. Rutherford former president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, were aimed at the churches of “Christendom”, in an effort to distance his (Rutherford's) religion from the rest, and to stand out as the one and only “truth”. What he was neglecting to recognize at the time was that he was the leader of yet another religion. Not much had changed. Different rules and doctrines, but still a religion, none the less. And yes, it did become “a snare and a racket” just like the ones that preceded him. It was a noble plan I suppose, it just didn’t work. Not only that, it has never worked.

People are turned off at the sound of one thumbing their nose at religion, but when you think about it. Didn’t Jesus dislike religion himself? Had he not, I’m sure he would have succeeded in taking a prominent place in Religious history. Well, he did, not as the leader of a religion though, but as the Lord who started a whole new way of life called Christianity. It wasn’t a religion, it didn’t have a big building. But it shaped the way for Gods people to live in coming generations. People have been trying to complicate things ever since.

You see, religion is all about following rules and legalistic requirements. Do this, do that, do…, do…, do…, more…more..more. To quote the words of a minister I like to listen to once in a while online: “Religion is summed up by the word “Do” and real Christianity is summed up in the word “Done”. Meaning that the main work that needed doing was done on the cross.

It’s not that all Churches are bad. They're not. There are some who are simply a group that meet in a building or home for worship and Bible study. I myself hope to find such a group here in my community in the future. But religion, as far as following a certain set of man made rules and requirements. Those days are over for me.

As Christians there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. (Eph.:2:8-10) The works we do after placing faith in Christ, and his “doing” are the results that faith. And in the end a product of him. Let all honor and praise go to the “Lord of heaven and earth”

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Coldest Winter

It’s mid March, and spring is in sight. Clocks set forward, longer days, and moderating temperatures. But a certain chill lingers in the air. It’s a chill I haven't gotten use too, nor do I think I ever will.

While the month of March may mark the beginning of spring on the calendar, for me personally, it marked the beginning of the “Coldest Winter” that began in March of 2008 when I was disfellowshipped from Jehovah’s Witnesses.

This is, I suppose, a let it all out, venting, lashing out, imperfect man blog posting on my part. But then again, isn’t that what blogs are suppose to be? Maybe, Maybe not.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve experienced times of deep sadness, like when I see and old friend, who turns their head the other way when they see me. Or when I see mail in the mailbox that used to be addressed to D____ and R_____ now just addressed to R____. Or the lack of Anniversary cards that use to come in Late October, wishing us a happy anniversary. It’s as if I’d died and there was no funeral. And then there is those times when the phone rings at home and the question goes through my mind. “Do I answer it”? Sometimes I do, and I experience a long silence before hearing in a chilling tone “can I speak to R_____ or M____.” It used to be “Hi Dann, how are you doing? Been working hard?” or some other friendly greeting. But that was back in the summer when things were kept warm by Organizational loyalty.

More Perfect people and some better Christians than I would not see the need for this kind of blog posting. I wish I were them. I’m not there yet, and I may never get there in this life. I admit, I’m weak, I’m faulty, I’m guilty of feeling sorry for myself. Maybe that’s why I can relate so much to the account of Jonah in the Bible. He felt sorry for himself also when the vine that provided shade died. (Jonah Chapter 4)

One thing my experience has served to illustrate very well though, is How our Lord must have felt when he was rejected by the very people he came to save. If ever there was a rejection that must have felt extremely cold, that had to have been it. Mine pales in comparison.

Even though I’ve experienced a long and bitter “Winter”, at the same time I’ve felt a presence of God in my life that is difficult to describe here. It seems like when the coldness of my experience is too much to bear, God wraps me up in his warmth, long enough to recover, and then I’m sent back to carry the cross that’s been provided.

I seem to be getting the message that suffering is not a bad thing, but is a tool to build character, and also a chance to display faith in the one who will eventually bring about the real and permanent spring. Where flower will never fail and happiness will never part. So I pray:

LORD Jesus, help me in my weakness, show me the way, teach me to be humble, lead me in the path of faith and help me remember the words of your servant Paul who said:

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” (Phil. 3:10)