January 2012


Check out the two videos below!  The first, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”  has become really popular in Christian circles, and there’s been a ton of Youtube responses, ranging from the atheist “Why I Hate Religion, and Hate Jesus, Too”, to a bikini clad girl’s version of “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”.  The original, written by 22 year old Jefferson Bethke, has quickly become a theme for younger evangelicals.

I’ve seen a lot of responses, but the second video featured here, “Why I love Religion, and Love Jesus”, is a really well-thought out response from a Catholic perspective…by far the best response I’ve seen.

There’s an unrest, a sentiment among some Christians that calls for a dislike of  “organized religion”…the church.  Scripture teaches us, though, that “Christ loves the church, and gave himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).  In the words of Derek Webb, “If you love Him, you must love the church”.  There really is no scriptural context for Christianity outside of community.  Yes, throughout the centuries, there have been believers who were called to solitary living (see Desert Fathers), but if you really examine their lives, you see that these men were teachers, mentors, and spiritual guides for countless souls.  They may have lived solitary lives, but their faith was lived out in community.  And that community, with all its beauty and scars and pain and hope, is called the church.

I’ve heard lots of thoughts on the first video…Let me know what you think about the second!

 

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“I think that the Church is the only thing that is going to make the terrible world we are coming to endurable; the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it, but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.”

Flannery O’Connor

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“The word ‘community’ has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not “How can we make community?” but “How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?”

Henri Nouwen

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