“So what religion are you?”
If you are asking if I am a Christian, the answer is yes.
If you are asking me what I am religious about, well that is a completely different topic.
And tonight, it is one that is close to my heart, especially when one of my cubs is feeling attacked from those on the outside. About “religion.”
I’m not a good one to answer the question…”what religion are you?”
I grew up near a baptist church. Raised my hand and asked Jesus in my heart there. Was baptized, took communion, and went to my first youth group class there.
And spent every other weekend at an evangelical free church with my dad and step-mom.
After a few years, my mom and step-dad felt like the little baptist church in stockton lacked a certain appeal for high school youth when it was obvious that WE were the high school youth. So every other Sunday, they packed us in to the Chrysler Labaron and we drove 30 minutes to my Aunt Bitsy’s church. Can’t remember what it was called. But it was a Pentecostal church and had a pretty good reputation for their youth program.
At 15 years of age, I missed my Stockton Baptist (Boring). It was home. At least every other weekend it was.
So as a young adult, if you asked me what religion I was, I would say “draw a card.” I was a baptist, an e-free, a pentecostal, and I married in to a catholic family. If you asked me where my church home was, it was at Calvary, a church that has baptist roots, but I would compare them more with non-denominational.
But religion is more than just church. I know people who are very religious and have never set foot in a church building. You can be just as or even more religious about your job or your favorite sport than you ever are about Christ. Can I get an amen? You know what I mean.
And if I were to actually follow the example of Jesus himself, He didn’t really even hang out with the “religious” types. He associated with tax collectors, lepers, thieves, those of ill-repute, and, well…you get it. I don’t know how else to say this, but he didn't preach to the choir. Plus, he was Jewish. So, bam.
I’d like to say this about “religion”: I’m pretty sure when the day of our judgement comes and we are standing at the gates of heaven, God isn’t going to say, “What was the name on the outside of the building that you went to church to.”
In other words, He isn’t going to say, “What religion are you?”
Obviously I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing that at the gates of heaven, God is going to be a little more concerned with this: “Who is my Son, Jesus, to you?”
He is going to look on the inside of every minute of our hearts, not the outside of the buildings we spent one hour a week in.
I am 41 years old. I have been a christian for much of my life. But if you ask me what religion I am, if you are looking for a denominational answer, I am not sure I can answer that.
And I don’t even know if Jesus would want me to.
(and I am almost 42. I feel I should say that should lighting strike)
So to my dear, sweet child who is feeling attacked about religion: I can see your heart. But more importantly, God can see your heart. And that matters more than the name of the church you went to today.
Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”