One of my most immense pet peeves is the inane question, “What religion are you?” Argh!
I understand people outside of the Church, and some of the lukewarm fish inside of it, don’t know – or don’t care – to understand the difference between denominations and religion. But, there is a huge difference.
And then add to the mix, “What faith are you?” Oy! I’m liable to go back to seminary and fasten a seat belt because my head is spinning like a drunk in the middle of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.
So says HiScrivener: Faith is an ardent belief in a deity. Religion is a codified doctrine to follow a deity. Denominations are defined by the methodology people choose to celebrate their deity.
According to this story in the New York Times, people are truly searching for a relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than fancying a stroll into some religious house of worship, apothegm and dunderheads.
For at least a generation, scholars have noted that more Americans are moving among faiths, as denominational loyalty erodes. But the survey, based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans, offers one of the clearest views yet of that trend, scholars said. The United States Census does not track religious affiliation.
So, being a Zionist, can I wake up and decide to become an Orthodox Jew just to feel a little closer to God? Come to think of it, my pastor just doesn’t bring me into the Holy of Holies anymore. Perhaps, I watch my Gandhi DVD, get a little flummoxed at his stance for non-violence and throw away my crucifix to become Hindu. How about that? Besides that, I love hamburger and I get to worship cows. Nice.
Isn’t that what religion, faith and denominations are all about? Bowling for Jesus? A slot machine to insert your dimes and pray for all cherries, and DING DING, salvation is yours? Seriously! This world doesn’t seem to have a clue, and you know what Church? It’s possibly all our fault!
Question: If we are the salt of the earth, does the way you live for Christ make folk thirsty for your faith, religion or denomination? Evidently, we still need water out there.
In the Pew survey 7.3 percent of the adult population said they were unaffiliated with a faith as children. That segment increases to 16.1 percent of the population in adulthood, the survey found. The unaffiliated are largely under 50 and male. “Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13 percent of women,” the survey said.
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Here. Here. Those “orphans” and “widows” are not the homeless, the destitute and the maligned. They are not “Baptists,” “Catholics,” “Episcopalians,” and what not. They are people all of them – each with real issues who happen to warm a pew in a Baptist church, a Catholic church, an Episcopalian church or whatever megachurch they attend, or at least brag about attending.
Do you see the difference? The world doesn’t. Jesus did.
My prayer? I hope we all can begin to see this stark difference as well, and start to witness people throwing away their “church membership” cards and just appreciate being part of the Church as a whole.