As if to rebuff my previous post about getting out of the church habit, I found myself in church (albeit a different one) two Sundays ago and heard an interesting sermon about religion and relationships — one that I agreed on.
The point was that religion (or spirituality) is about relationship and not so much about rules and regulations. But people today have this whole idea backwards. That’s why people look at churches as a place where rules and norms are observed, instead of a place where one can relax and be oneself.
Come to think of it, that is a large part of what turns me off about church. Aside from mostly unenlightening sermons that make me tune out and doodle on the program sheet, it is the artificial nature of relationships. There is a large amount of trying to look good, of trying to live up to the ideals of what a Christian should be, a large amount of covering up one’s preferences and shortcomings instead of just being honest and open about them.
Followers of Jesus should remember that sinners flocked to him. They wanted to be with him. With him, they felt no judgement, no condemnation, only compassion and rest. This so irritated the Pharisees who did not want to have anything to do with “sinners”.
I would like to extend this idea to most religions — because there is indeed a tendency to have this “holier than thou” attitude when one is steeped in the protocols of one’s religion.
The true measure of one’s spirituality is not the amount of friends you have in your own religion, but perhaps, the amount of friends you have outside of it — who are aware of your beliefs and convictions, and yet enjoy and even yearn for your company nonetheless.