April 2, 2008 by

What We Were Never Meant to Be


Categories: changing mindsets, Meanderings (look it up), religion

So I’m working out in the gym this morning, and the song “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. comes up on my ipod. As I listened and pondered the lyrics, I thought about maybe covering that song someday with a band.

And then I remembered a day years ago when that thought would have totally offended me. I used to turn the radio off when that song played, because I assumed it was anti-Christian. Now I have it on my ipod, and the title inspired my blog name.

There was a day when I thought “Losing My Religion” was incompatible with my faith, not even valuing the honesty in the song. Now, I realize that the worst thing ever to happen to Christianity was for men to make it into another religion.

It is often said nowadays that religion is the main cause for wars and atrocities on the earth. I have to say that I recognize the truth in that statement. I understand why people who say this categorize Christianity along with other world religions and hold Christians in a bad light. The Christian religion has been responsible for a lot of atrocities through the centuries, including the Crusades and the Inquisition, and even some modern-day bigotry and abuse, both in and out of churches.

The problem is, this was never what Jesus intended.

When I see the example of Jesus, I have a hard time believing that He intended that mankind form a new religion and call it “Christianity.” His intent and His mission were much more grassroots, authentic, and organic. He just wanted men to be reconciled with God. He came and lived among us to show us what that kind of life looks like; and He died for us to give us the opportunity to live it.

Jesus clashed with the religious leaders of His day in a big way. He came to fulfill the law of God; but he broke the rules of religion regularly, because He saw no value in them. If Jesus was not religious, how did His followers get to be so? The early believers were considered to be the most un-religious people of their day; how did things get so different?

Adam and Eve had no religion. They just walked with God. I think that’s the thing God was trying to get back to when He sent Jesus. Not religion. Just the chance for man to walk with God again. In essence, that’s the picture that’s painted when the early disciples walked with Jesus; and that’s the picture I have now in my own relationship with Him. I want to be a disciple; I want to follow Jesus; I want to walk with God.

Compare that simplicity with the complex structures, governmental hierarchies, and doctrinal infighting of institutional Christianity today. Is it any wonder we are blamed, along with other religions, for the atrocities in the world? As believers in Jesus, shouldn’t we all be doing everything we can to “lose our religion?”

So…I no longer think that song is incompatible with my faith. I wish more Christians would sing it.

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

4 Responses to What We Were Never Meant to Be

  1. Jeff McQ

    The beautiful thing about an artistic lyric is that it can carry different meanings for different people. No disputes to the Wiki explanation, but while the writer may have meant one thing while writing it, I don’t think he would begrudge someone reading something differently in it. The video interpretation of the song actually confirms some sense of the meaning I alluded to in the blog entry.

    Having lived in 5 states, including 2 in the south, “losing my religion” for me has always had the connotation of “losing faith.” “End of one’s rope” mentioned in Wiki is a definition I can live with. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment.

  2. Heather

    *sings along badly*

    Sorry, badly is the best I can do. Like Erin, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Which doesn’t stop me trying. Loudly. Especially in my car. 🙂

  3. Doorman-Priest

    A very thought provoking post and one which resonates with what I am struggling with just now. Come and comment at my place, I’d be intersted in your opinion.

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