What Does "Good Religion" Look Like?
I've had the following quote from Richard Rohr on my virtual bulletin board for about four months, which means that every single day for the past four months, my eyes have rested on it for at least a second or two.
Good religion keeps God free for people, and keeps people free for God.
It took me that long to start really internalizing what it meant to me, but I think I'm finally ready to share.
If I'd tried to write about this particular topic a few months ago, I probably would have written something different.
I would have talked about the ways that far too many Christians don't feel as though God is free for everyone, and how that runs antithetical to what Christianity is actually all about.
But as I sit here now, I'm realizing that who we aren't isn't very interesting or compelling.
Sure, I often have to qualify my responses to people when they ask me about what I do for a living. I find myself saying things like, "I'm a pastor, but I'm not one of those kinds of pastors..." or "Yeah, I'm a pastor, but my church is cool..."
It's a bummer to feel as though you have to bust out a long list of those kinds of qualifications, isn't it? "I'm a Christian... but I'm not a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, or a misogynist..."
What if there was a way to talk about your faith that was full of positivity, hope, and grace?
There is, of course, but it takes intentionality on our part to spend our energies focused on what we believe and what we are all about instead of what we don't believe, and what we oppose.
Fr. Richard declares that the kind of religion that keeps both God and people free is good religion. I couldn't agree more.
This way of living and believing transcends all the other ways that we try to divide and differentiate. It begs us to look beyond all of those negative descriptions and to capture a vision of a world made right through love.
Trust me on this---I struggle to make this kind of appreciative, positive mentality a habit in my life. I get it right about once out of every thirty chances, which isn't fantastic. But I'm stumbling forward, and it's reflections like this that help to keep me steadier.
Try this today: When you have chances to speak about your faith, your church, your ideas about God the universe, and everything...
Speak about what you believe and trust, the ways you feel joy because of God in your life... Speak about what it means to be welcoming, loving, accepting, and full of mercy like Christ... Talk incessantly about all of the beautiful things that your faith has given you.
And let that be enough.
May it be so for you today and every day from this day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.