At this moment, as I write these words, this video has been on YouTube for 6 days and has had almost 13 MILLION views! It has already sparked a lot of controversy from leading voices in the Church. You ought to take a look at it and then I'll make a few comments of my own.
I have made the statement many times that 'Jesus didn't like religious people'. I have believed that for a long time. In fact, the only people Jesus really, really got bent out of shape with were the super-religious.
Confused? Let me help you.
Taking my cue from Jesus, I am unwilling to subscribe to a system that awards people who look good on the outside but are corrupt on the inside, and are unwilling to admit it. Real church - the kind that Jesus had in mind - is church where people...and especially the leaders stand up and say, "I'm broken, too." And they ought to mean it, because it's true. We all have our stuff, our junk, baggage, past, our temptations and our sin. None of us is perfect, and we all fall down. The Apostle Paul said that he was chief among sinners, the worst of them all. And he believed that. We ought to know that about ourselves, too, and be willing to say it. I'm broken, very imperfect, and deeply sinful. I take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back...but that's still progress, slow as it may be.
One time, Jesus was speaking to religious leaders and he said, "For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition....You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition." (Mark 7:8-10, NLT, excerpts) If religion is a system of rules, judgement, exclusion, and empty rituals & traditions, then count me out. Jesus condemned such systems, and we follow His lead.
This does NOT mean that we do not speak truth. Some actions are clearly wrong. There is nothing judgmental about saying, 'this is not right' or 'this behavior is wrong' or pointing out the truths of the Bible to someone. If we really love people, we want God's best for them. I want my friends and the people who care about me to help illuminate my blind spots as they see them. We should not be in the business of ignoring destructive actions or lifestyles.
But we don't judge the heart. Only God can do that. Do you see the difference? It's the difference this guy is talking about in this video. So, when I hear this guy, I want to cheer him on!
At PCC, of all the things we've not done well (and I could name a bunch), I think we've gotten this one right. And it's important. And I'm really proud to be a part of a church that isn't religious. We're just passionate about Jesus and the people Jesus died for!