Religion vs. Relationships
From my mother - written by Dick Innes. Reminds me of a conversation in the previous post's comments. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
"He [Jesus] appointed twelve . that they might be with
him" (Mark 3:14, NIV).
It may surprise some to realize that God isn't into religion.
He's into relationships. He's not into morality either.
He's into reality. And his goal isn't to make us good for
goodness sake. God's goal is to make us whole--for
only to the degree that we are made whole will our
lifestyle, our actions, our behavior, and our relationships
Becoming whole begins with wholesome relationships
both with God through Jesus Christ and with other loving
Christians. As someone has said, "To be is to be in
relationships." We don't grow in isolation. This is one
reason we need to belong to a loving, accepting, non-
judgmental, and non-legalistic church and within a smaller
group in relationship with likeminded Christians. We only
grow and become the person God wants us to be as we
are in such relationships. We're not talking about "head to
head" but rather "heart to heart" relationships that are open,
authentic and real.
Selwyn Hughes pointed out that "the Christian movement
began in relationships." As today's Scripture stated, "He
[Jesus] appointed twelve.that they might be with him."
If Jesus needed to be in relationship with others, how
much more do we?
God's goal for the Christian is not for him/her to do good
or even to be good. It is to be in relationship with Christ
and become whole. It is out of being with him and being
made whole that our desire to be good and to do good
will come. This will be a natural expression of who we
have become. As Hughes put it, "Trying to be good
without that relationship [with Christ] is like trying to get
a stream without a spring, or sunlight without the sun."
A Blackjack Table and a Bible
Crazy awesome night.
Last night at Pierced Tom spoke about how God is present everywhere. He talked about how he has "God moments" most often in the woods - in nature, within God's creation. But about how he needs to learn to experience God everywhere, in the midst of our daily lives.
Tonight I experienced God first hand in the most unlikely of places.
After my shift ended tonight, I sat down at one of the empty blackjack tables where Wendy was standing over a dead-spread (an open game without any players). We got to talking about Minnesota, about why I'm going there and she's not coming here, etc, etc. She asked what Shay does, and I mentioned that she's a youth pastor. Suddenly we launched into a spiritual discussion. She asked a question about why God caused the flood, and I went to my truck to grab my Bible and find the answer. Thus we found ourselves huddled over a beat up old brown leather Bible sitting on the green felt of a casino blackjack table - that was open. Instead of chips and cards it was a Bible and conversation. Within half an hour instead of the two of us sitting there, it was five of us. Another dealer, the pit boss, and a cocktail waitress. One was Lutheran. Another pagan. Another "spiritual but not religious". Myself the Christian who hates religion. Another who sat back and listened. And conversation happened. There was no arguing. There was no debating. There was no apologetics. There was the sharing of life. Of experiences. Of beliefs.
Did my words change minds? I doubt it. But I believe that my words planted seeds that the Spirit can use. My words may be able to change minds, but they cannot change hearts - that is the work of God.
I was extremely encouraged and grateful to see fruits from the relationships that I have been developing over the past two months. It is awesome to see that even while I am not any longer employed to be in the ministry, my life is still a ministry. This message of the gospel we carry in clay pots that are our ordinary lives.