Wisdom for the Non-Religious by Glen Elliott

Wisdom for the Non-Religious

We started a series last week called Lose Your Religion. Our focus in this series is to lose our religion and replace it with a deep relationship with our loving God. If you missed it, you can watch it here. In this blog I want to bring you some of the best quotes that surfaced this week in connection with this subject:

Mike Foster leads People of the Second Chance. He says something that gets totally lost in religion:

Through my own deep struggles and rock bottom experiences, I’ve learned one powerful truth that has truly set me free…that the point of ABSOLUTELY everything in my life is God wanting to radically love me and be with me.

Everything about absolutely everything fits into that simple truth. It’s true about my life and it’s true about your life. I believe we come from God, we return to God, and everything in between is a lesson in love.”

I saw a Facebook post recently, quoting Cory Booker. It said,

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me how much you love all his children; Before you preach to me of the passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.”

This is an excerpt from Bob Goff’s new book, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People, releasing this month. Bob spoke at the Global Leadership Conference in 2013. He shows us another aspect of “religion”:

“A similar but different problem happens in our churches and schools and faith communities. We’re told by someone what God wants us to do and not do.

We’re told we shouldn’t drink or cuss or watch certain movies. We’re told we should want to have “quiet times” in the mornings and talk to strangers about “a relationship with God.” We’re told we should want to go on “mission trips” and “witness” to people, and sometimes we do it even if we don’t really know what the words mean—but often, just for a while.

After long enough, what looks like faith isn’t really faith anymore. It’s just compliance. The problem with mere compliance is it turns us into actors. Rather than making decisions ourselves, we read the lines off the script handed to us by someone we were told to respect, and we sacrifice our ability to decide for ourselves.

Instead of telling people what they want, we need to tell them who they are. This works every time. We’ll become in our lives whoever the people we love the most say we are.

If we want to love people the way God loved people, let God’s Spirit do the talking when it comes to telling people what they want. All the directions we’re giving to each other aren’t getting people to the feet of Jesus. More often, the unintended result is they lead these people back to us.

Here’s the problem: When we make ourselves the hall-monitor of other people’s behavior, we risk having approval become more important than Jesus’ love.

Telling people what they should want turns us into a bunch of sheriffs. People who are becoming love lose the badge and give away grace instead. Tell the people you meet who they’re becoming, and trust that God will help people find their way toward beautiful things in their lives without you.”

I hope these quotes cause you to think deeper and create some healthy discussions about religion and your relationship with God.

Glen Elliott

Glen Elliott is the lead pastor of Pantano Christian Church. He is a follower of Jesus who loves adventure and wants to make the world different.

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Copyright © 2018 Pantano Christian Church