“Organized religion often becomes problematic – not wrong, I’m just saying problematic – when you move into the second half of life because it tends, in most instances, not to answer the questions that the soul is asking. Many people have found various forms of para-church, like the Franciscans. But not everybody is called to be a priest or a nun…. You need to find some way to learn or study or to pray alongside your Sunday worship community, some form of para-church grouping ….’ The Sunday service alone seldom leads people on deeper or even real journeys; we must begin to be honest about this. All that organized religion can do is to hold you inside the boxing ring long enough so you can begin to ask good questions and expect bigger answers. But it seldom teaches you how to really box with the mystery itself. Organized religion does not tend to cook you! It just keeps you on a low, half-cold simmer. It doesn’t teach you how to expect the mystery to show itself at any profound level. It tends, and I don’t mean to be unkind, to make you codependent upon its own ministry, instead of leading you to know something for yourself, which is really the whole point.” Richard Rohr
“Seventeen years of ministerial efforts in a wide range of denominational settings had made it clear to me that what Christians were normally told to do … was not advancing them spiritually. …All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result.” Dallas Willard
“I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.” Paul in Acts 26:5
Moving From Head to Heart
- Pastor, are you guiding people in their own “deeper journeys” with God, or mediating between them and God?
- Are people “advancing … spiritually” in significant, measurable ways, in your church? Are they prepared for times of doubt, disillusionment, disappointment with God and each other? Do they understand the value of waiting, of suffering, of brokenness, or failure? Do they know how to keep trusting in the dark?
- Organized religion can be “problematic” or “disappointing.” Does it have to be? What exactly are you “organized” to accomplish in your church?
Abba, give great wisdom and deep courage to those who lead us in the faith.
For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”