April 20, 2008

Organizing God

Call me a nerd or a news junkie (and maybe they are the same thing) but I listen to NPR a lot, especially while driving in my car. Well this past week, the Pope paid a visit to the U.S. and so NPR decided to do a little segment on their noon program called Day To Day where they interviewed two high school students that were both Catholic. I just caught the end of the interview with these two students who, from what I could gather, were sharing their take on the Pope's visit and their faith. One of them made a comment along the lines of saying that "organized religion" was "not really their thing" and the other quickly added that "you don't have to go to church to be religious" pointing out that she spends time with God while praying on her bed alone in her room.

I have to admit that the whole "I'm not down with organized religion" thing is getting played out. Surely there is something better to come up with? One of the reasons I struggle with this is because I'm not exactly sure I know what it means when someone says this. Are they suggesting they would prefer religion that is chaotic, unorganized and undefined? I think there is some confusion between organized religion and traditional religion because you can be organized but not necessarily traditional. Besides, it seems a little vain to think that we could really organize or un-organize God anyways.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think you have to go to church to be a Christian but I do think that part of being a Christian is being a part of a community that strengthens and challenges your faith, which is often found through attending church. A religion that allows someone to completely internalize and individualize one's beliefs without any sort of impact on one's surroundings seems almost pointless to me...I hope I'm not being pointless.