I'm not entirely sure why I forgot to post this on my blog in January when I made this video. But, nevertheless, here it is.
This is a response to the "Why I hate religion but love Jesus" video by Jefferson Bethke. There are many things I agree with him on, and I probably would have done a similar video (had I the skills and production abilities he does) 15 years ago. But I have been walking with Jesus for a while now, and this is where I am at on my journey now.
Here are the lyrics and some scriptures for further study.
Religious not Spiritual
Copyright 2012 © The Rev. Nathan L. Bostian
It is popular these days to say "I'm spiritual not religious"
And "We reject dogmas and rituals, but Jesus is fine with us"
And I can see what they're saying; They're serious and not playing:
Because religion has been the source of much delaying
Delaying equal rights for women, and minorities, and the oppressed
Delaying justice here and now, to wait for "eternal rest"
All while hyper-critical hypocrites look down their noses
Calling people sinners, while they strike pious poses
And they're right to say that Jesus stood opposed to all that junk.
So, listen, I'm not dissin', or saying anyone is a punk;
But I AM judgmental, because I judge the content of ideas;
And sloppy thinking doesn't glorify God, or that Son of his.
Now, you probably shouldn't listen to me 'cause I'm not young, hip, and cool.
Like the apostle Paul, I'm just an old cranky fool!
You won't see me in a clothing advertisement, or on a reality show;
But I think I got something that you really should know.
Religion is in need of reform, not in need of abolition.
Like when Jesus was religious, by fulfilling his traditions;
[See Matthew 5-6; 22:37-40]
Or when he read the Scriptures in his synagogue, or preached in the temple;
Or prayed the prayers of his fathers and mothers; It's not that simple.
[See Mark 15.34; Luke 2.46; 4.14--21; 19.47; 20.1; 20.17; 21.37; 20:42-43; 23.46]
You see, if religion is a community of people, with shared values and intentions;
With shared prayers and rituals, shared ideas and conventions;
Who share deeply in one another, and bear each other's load;
Then it is clear that Jesus WAS religious: You can't avoid that road.
Yet he cleared the Temple of filth, and preached against massive injustice
He called the leaders to task, and told hypocrites they were "busted".
[See Matthew 21.12; 23; John 2.15]
His religion liberated the oppressed, while still remaining religious.
That's because religion is a tool, that can build up, or cause distress.
Like a hammer can build a house, or put a hole in someone's head:
It all depends on how you use it, to make people alive, or keep them dead.
And while it is true that in Christ, God has sought out man:
Does that mean that what we seek, is not a part of God's plan?
Jesus says "ask, SEEK and knock", to fervently desire more of God.
And Paul says God wants all nations to SEEK the Divine. Now isn't that odd.
[See Matthew 6.33-34; 7.7--12; Luke 11.9--13; Acts 17.22--28]
Because God seeking us, does not mean we shouldn't seek him;
No, it's the other way around: His love gives us a place to begin.
To begin to construct a community of God seekers, who want more of his life;
A community that stands for justice, amidst destruction and strife;
A community strong enough to withstand the assaults of selfish consumption;
And call out corporations and governments, who operate on the presumption:
That humans are merely tools to be used, and abused, and thrown away.
We need a religion strong enough to stand up and say "Hey!"
Enough of this madness. Enough of the lies.
Enough of oppression. Enough of hearing the children cry.
If we try to stand alone, we will fall for anything;
But if we stand together as a religion, we can say "Let freedom ring".
We can be a community of hope, centered on the person of Christ;
Who use prayers, rituals and deeds, to show forth HIS light.
And there is another thing I think I really should mention;
I am passionately in Love with Jesus AND his religion.
Some say "religion is full of hypocrisy, it's just no use!"
Yes, we're all hypocrites growing in grace, so that means there's room for you.
So, if being spiritual is a narcissistic preoccupation with my self;
And religion is a commitment to each others health;
And if spiritual people just care about "Jesus and me";
And religious people live to serve Christ's community;
I guess the choice is clear, while I wax on lyrical:
I am completely confident: I am religious, not spiritual.