August 5, 2009

Disorganized Religion?

Maybe it's just arguing semantics but I'm not really sure I understand what people mean when they say they don't like organized religion. Are they actually saying they don't like traditional styles of worship? Mainline denominations? Customs and rituals that can also be known as liturgy? Or the politics that are found within the church framework? Is organized religion seen as a religious or spiritual version of 'The Man' that is holding their spirits down?

It might just be the way my mind works but when someone tells me s/he doesn't like organized religion then I can't help but wonder if that means s/he would rather be involved with a sort of disorganized or unorganized religion, a sort of spiritual chaos where anything goes. This seems more like an attempt to justify doing or believing whatever one wants by freeing one's self from any sort of expectations or accountability. The organization of thoughts and beliefs is going to take place, it becomes an issue of who is going to do the organizing. Will it be at the sole discretion of the individual or a collaboration of church fathers that have gone before with those of us who find ourselves inside the church structure today?

Don't get me wrong, I know mainline organized religion is not perfect (I work for a church), however I do think there is freedom to explore what faith can look like to and for an individual inside this structured framework. Without any sort of framework it can become really easy to find ourselves missing the picture all together.


Bill A. said...

My impression is that people don't want to commit to anything. In an "organized" religion, you are expected to attend regularly and make donations. I think those are the two sticking points. That is, if they are telling the truth. I also think that the main point of religion is the organization part. You need the sense of community, you need other people to keep you centered, and you need a familiar community to support you in your times of need.

Anonymous said...

I just find it odd that certain humans feel like they have more insight to God enough to write rules on how to approach and serve him. Andy they actually have the ego to think that others should follow them.

Matt Lipan said...

Bill A.: thanks for the read and comment.

the point you make about attendance and giving is interesting. i wonder how many people really feel that way. too bad because i think organized religion has a lot more to offer, though it would be hard to experience them if one didn't attend.

i think you hit the community stuff right on. shows how important we are and can be for each other.

good stuff, thanks again for the thoughts.

Matt Lipan said...

Anonymous: thanks for the read and comment.

i would agree with you that egos have certainly caused pain and hurt in the name of organized religion. there is no doubt that some of these egos have even turned people away from organized religion and/or the church altogether but that is clearly not the design or intention that Jesus has for His Church.

what i find really cool about God is that despite human imperfection, egos, sin, etc. He has used organized religion(with the correct motives and focus on Christ) to spread the love, grace and forgiveness that is found in Jesus.

if at any point we start following a person, theologian or pastor and not Jesus, we've missed it all together. when we get involved with a particular denomination or church, we are saying we can relate and/or respond to the way it understands the person and message of Jesus. kind of like what Paul says when he tells the church in Corinth to follow him as he is following Christ and so ultimately we are following Jesus, not Paul, pastor or theologian.

thanks again for being willing to share your thoughts.