Not sure if you saw the video by Jefferson Bethke called "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus." What started as a small video project that he hoped would reach several thousand people, now has skyrocketed to more than 22 million views!
In his spoken word piece, Jefferson makes the points:
"The problem with religion, is it never gets to the core.
It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores.
Like lets dress up the outside, make it look nice and neat.
But it’s funny, that’s what they use to do to mummies.
While the corps rots underneath.
Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean.
It’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken.
Which means I don’t have to hide my failure, I don’t have to hide my sin.
Because it doesn’t depend on me it depends on him.
See because when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan.
He looked down and said I want ... that ... man.
See because religion says do, Jesus says done.
Religion says slave, Jesus says son.
Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own.
Not based on my merits but Jesus’s obedience alone."
This video obviously resonated with this generation. What's interesting is that Focus on the Family recently did a radio interview with several leaders from Fuller Institute. Fuller had recently done research on young people leaving the Church, and had discovered something significant:
In studying the next generation, they found that about 50% of young people had disconnected from the Church all together. The other 50% were deeply engaged in local churches. What was most surprising was the perspectives of these two groups. The common theme was that those who had disconnected from Church viewed God as a disciplinarian and their faith as an exhausting process of keeping a list of rules.
The one common theme for those who were still attending and engaged with local churches was that they viewed their faith as a RELATIONSHIP with a Personal God. It was a living, breathing walk of faith with a Person, rather than a relationship with a list of rules.
Our society in America today really doesn't understand how a set of rules or a certain way of living could squash other's lifestyles. But when one understands that Christianity is far beyond a set of rules or way of life - it is a relationship with a Person - the Living God, everything changes. When you have experienced His nearness and real Presence in your life, it changes everything. We don't strive to keep our culture in line for a set of rules, we are trying to please a Person who is most important in our life.
The Gospel is more than a call to a set of rules or a way of living. It is a call to follow Someone, and His Name is Jesus.
Let Jesus give the religion in your life a black eye. How can you redefine your faith as a relationship with the Living God?