August 13, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/13/09-Faith is a Relationship With God, Not a Religion

That's the takeaway from this essay written by straight ally Rev. Jerry S. Maneker, who was also one of the first people to give me encouragement when we started this blog, on the Whosoever online magazine. Here's an excerpt:

It must be emphasized that there is literally a world of difference between having a relationship with God and one's adherence to the construction of man-made religion! A relationship with God defines love and compassion as its essence, and when legalism and perfectionism enter the framework and dialogue of religiosity we can be sure that "religion" has trumped any "relationship with God" that that person may or may not have had.

Just because a person is a member of the clergy, or is a professing Christian lay person, doesn't necessarily mean that he or she has a relationship with God! We can safely say that he or she might be "religious," but that might well be far different from his/her having a relationship with God!

For example, many people have a relationship with God through one or more of the Church's sacraments, and that is authentic and meaningful for them; there is absolutely nothing wrong with having the sacraments be a vehicle or a vessel upon which to base and reinforce that relationship.

Others may have a relationship with God that is experiential apart from sacramental worship, and that, too, is authentic and meaningful for them; there is absolutely nothing wrong with having that experience or series of experiences be ones upon which to base and reinforce that relationship.

In other words, in Christianity, as in life, one size doesn't fit all!

However, regardless of the dynamics of one's relationship with Christ, Christianity is based solely on the Person of Christ!

I know many of you reading this have received condemnation from religious figures, but it is critical to understand that their authority is only within the four walls of their particular church and NOT in the kingdom of God. The Lord is the only one who has the right and power to condemn us, and as long as we have accepted him as our savior (if you don't know what that means, click on our "Who Needs a Savior" feature in the top right hand column of this blog) we are saved--he promised that in John 3:16 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

No exceptions, no qualifications, WHOSOEVER (that mens you) believes in him will have eternal life.

Click here to read more of Rev. Maneker's essay.

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