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Flawless Friday!

The Religion edition.

You’ve probably seen this video by now. It’s pretty viral.

I know there are plenty of people who disagree with it.

Like this person.

And this guy.

But I rather like this guy’s defensive video.

“Religion” has a lot of connotations.

What the poet in the original video is trying to say, I think, is that “religion” in the ritualistic sense is not what God wants. If your heart isn’t in it, He doesn’t want it.

Remember this post?

And this is my contribution to the debate:

On Jesus “establishing religion” or whatever:

Jesus was not a Christian.

He never asked anyone to become a Christian, never built a steepled building, never drew up a theological treatise, never took an offering, never wore religious garments, never incorporated for tax purposes…

He simply called people to follow him.

That’s it.
That, despite its simplicity, is it.

He called people to follow him.

The first two were brothers:
Simon and Andrew.

Regular guys.
Simple fishermen.
The first two Christians ever.

Those brothers didn’t think at all about “becoming Christians” or taking on a new religion.

…in faith, these two brothers gave their lives to him (literally)…

Jesus said “Follow me,” and we did.

What we would call “Christianity” was nothing more and nothing less than some simple people responding to Jesus’ call by attaching themselves to him.

So folks started calling them “People of the Way.”

And since the Greeks translated the word Messiah as Christ, folks started calling the Jesus Followers “Christ-ones” or “Christians” as it ended up getting put.

Plain old Christianity: not a set of dogmatic principles, not a life philosophy, not an outdated old religious institution, but a peculiar band of people—-that group of followers that’s been on the move for the past two thousand years, busy doggedly following this Jesus.

(Excerpts from chapter one of Jesus With Dirty Feet)

Jesus isn’t the proud founding father of Christianity. He isn’t even the patron saint of Christianity.

If Jesus had created an institution, we could ask about it, look at it, examine it.
But he didn’t.
He simply called people to follow him.

He was like nothing anyone had ever seen.

Jesus stopped, looked beggars in the eyes, touched lepers, and brought dignity to the helpless and alone.

In a day of religion-for-profit and jockeying for religious merit and prestige, Jesus condemned the injustices of the powerful and affirmed the simple, true faith of the poor.

In the midst of a cloudy landscape of moral compromise, Jesus brightly declared the reality of sin.

Jesus walked as a human among humans, brushed elbows with politicians and outcasts, went to parties with sinners and criminals, and embraced as his own family those he met on the street.

In fact, Jesus demonstrated a distinct disinterest in politics, wasting no time trying to impress the establishment or pander to the powerful.

Jesus, a simple carpenter?

Yahweh Enfleshed!
Long-Awaited Anointed One!
Daily Sustaining Bread.
Friend of the Outcast.
The Intimate Word of God.
The Eternal Healer of Sickness.
Embracer of Lepers.
Sin Destroyer.
Death Conqueror.

Not a man who started a religion.

The “I Am.”
The Messiah.

God came to earth to be seen in detail, to get his feet dirty working in the grit of life, to change the world forever.

(from chapter 2 of Jesus With Dirty Feet)

The “religion” that this video discusses, I think, is partly referring to the religion of the Pharisess.

(He says in his video description that he highlights the difference between Jesus and FALSE religion.)

The Pharisees were all about following rules and keeping up their appearance. They were hypocrites and Jesus resented them. (See Luke 11:39-54)

They hated Jesus.

And Jesus called them out/insulted them multiple times—one I can think of right now is calling them “sons of vipers.”

Jesus came to fulfill the law of the Old Testament, the sacrifice stuff. He was the ultimate sacrifice. We no longer have to sacrifice animals and all of that, because His death tore down the separation between people and God (Mark 15:38).

  17   “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.   18   For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5)

In John 19:30, Jesus says, “It is finished,” also translated “It is accomplished.” (I believe that’s the Hebrew/Aramaic used in The Passion of the Christ?)

Coincidence? I think not.

“Religion says ‘do’; Jesus says ‘done.’” The religion of the Pharisees, the religion of focusing on laws and not heart, THAT is the religion to which this video refers, I feel.

As far as “Yes, my church would allow Jesus in”—would you know it was Him if He showed up?

What if you didn’t know it was Jesus? What if He came as someone you were reluctant to sit by?

Yes, we’re to allow all people in. But what if, what if, you were incredibly reluctant to allow someone into your church and it turned out that person was Jesus?

What if your actions toward that person meant they felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave?

What we do or (don’t do) to others, we do (or don’t) to Jesus.

So now, would you still say you’d let Jesus in?

Just wonderin’.

~*~

All righty, off to get ready for class.

I ended up having to write TWO papers, which I didn’t realize until this morning when I checked my planner.

I managed it.

Now I have to go make sure I have enough time to print them off.

Happy Friday!

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