When Religion becomes the Problem

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Welcome to Three-Peat Tuesday!

Each weekly blog will contain three P’s: Pillar, Principle and Practical, all geared towards nourishing you on your personal and spiritual growth journey.

Pillar: Pure Religion

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Principle: The End of Religion?

It should not surprise us that it was Jesus’ brother, James, who gave us religious folks, an indirect, gentle yet firm rebuke. He offered a true definition of religion: help those in need and preserve personal holiness.

There is nothing here about buildings or budgets, crowds or crusades.  His message is about love in action. We love God by pursuing purity of heart, conscience and conduct and we help those who cannot repay us and who often have no voice.  

Two books recently caused me to have a major paradigm shift when it comes to the practice of my faith. One is called Rethinking Church (2021) by Ron Highfield and the other is The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus (2007) by Bruxy Cavey. The consistency of the two authors’ message is amazing, although they wrote independently of each other.

I have chosen to be a Christ follower and so I ask my fellow Christians: Have we missed the mark? Are we now more loyal to our denominations, traditions and creeds than to the author and perfector of our faith? Jesus invited people to come to God, through him, a person, not through an institution or organization.

Hear me out on this: we need community, and the assembly plays an important function, especially small tight-knit groups. But have we possibly for centuries put rules over relationships, legalism over love and patterns over principles?

I believe that God wants a radically different post-pandemic ekklēsia. Are we listening to his voice? I claim no special revelation here, but I desire to be attentive.

Practical: True Religion

Reflect soberly on whether for you religion has, in some respects, become more of the problem than the solution. Perhaps we all need to have a rethink.

If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is now available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Nicole+Roopchand

    Tyrone you have me thinking. Thanks for the prompting.

  2. J. Tyrone Marcus

    No problem, Nicole. I have been doing a lot of thinking and re-thinking as well.

  3. Mushtaque

    Tyrone, this topic is deep. Lots of religious leaders wants us to believe that they are the instrument to God not by saying it but by using their charisma as a tool to entice us. Most people don’t want to dig deeper and seek their own experience. We are too lazy and we have become weekend believers.

    True religion is when you love for your self what you love for others. We are servants and if we can dig deeper in the meaning of the word we will find out that we do good because we love Almighty God and for his glory, only then we can understand the true meaning of service. Too often we believe that religion is about reading the good Books and doing selfish things rather than reaching out to the those who are in need. Religion is about service and it’s a daily or hourly or every minute of our lives spent on constant reflection on what can I do to help someone.

    It’s not charity when we give someone money and expect something return, a favor or a praise. Charity is beyond being “religious” or giving money. We need people to understand the idea of service must be done with a warm heart and a desire to improve someone. I hope we can understand the joy in doing good because we Love Almighty God.

  4. J. Tyrone Marcus

    This is so profoundly expressed, Mushtaque. Thank you for the reminder that love is at the centre of the spiritual journey. Everything else must flow from a heart of love.

  5. Michelle Marcus

    Thank you Tyrone. This is such a tall calling to be committed to the Creator than the created, which will guide how I manage my relationships and extension of myself to others.

  6. J.Tyrone Marcus

    Well said, Michelle.

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