I’ve met many people who have said about themselves, “I’m a very spiritual person but I’m not religious at all.” I suppose these people might believe me to be a very “religious” person; being that I am a minister who spends much of my free time ministering via the internet, constructing weekly ministry newsletters and attending twice-weekly Bible Study. But I truly do not consider myself to be a “religious” person at all, BUT, that is only because of the connotation it gives when I think of the word and how others perceive a religious person. When someone says the word “religious”, for me and for many others, what automatically pops to mind are visions of those extremes that exist in modern society. Like people who speak in tongues, make pilgrimages to shrines or the “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live.
Being newly single for the past nine months and living in a new city, I will often be asked by co-workers and acquaintances that I meet and become friendly with, “What church do you go to?” When I reply that I don’t belong to a church they immediately follow the question up with, “Oh, well you should come to my church. I bet you’d meet someone there!”
First of all, since when is church a pick-up joint?
Never mind, I digress.
I’ll be honest with you. The idea of attending any church makes me cringe inwardly and brings back childhood memories of dread because going to church once a week (and often times twice or more due to the fact I attended a parochial school) was not something I looked forward to. The thought of having to sit through an hour of the “Three R’s” - Repetition, Ritual and Routine - was my reasoning back then because my Schwinn bike with the blue flowered seat and warm clear day had more appeal. Not to mention that it was lacking in proper nutrition.
However, unlike when I was a child, my reasons are different know for not wanting to attend any church.
…Aside from the fact that the Light of Life Ministry is ordained by Yahweh and Christ and is not associated with any man-made organized religion, denomination (or non-denomination for that matter - in that isn’t a non-denomination still a denomination?) out there.
…Aside from the fact that the Light of Life Ministry is the ONLY ministry that shares the light of truth with mankind rather than the watered down versions of truth, mixed truths and falsehoods provided by other religions out there.
…Aside from these reasons I truly believe that the proper nutrition needed by each individual is provided directly by Yahweh to all who seek and who have learned how not to lean on their own understanding.
…And, aside from the fact that I really have no interest in dating right now as the life I lead is in devotion to the One to whom my life belongs.
I just simply believe that being a Christian means that Christ resides within you. And when he does, there’s no need.
I also believe that being a follower of Christ is not about Rituals, Repetition and Routine. It’s a learned lifestyle patterned after the life that Christ lead. It’s Obedience to Yahweh, Faith, Loyalty and Love. It’s cherishing The Way and Father Yahweh’s Commandments and Laws. It’s about your heart and a belief in Christ as Lord and Savior.
So…what am I then? Religious? Spiritual? A Christian?
Well, if you’re speaking of the word religious as defined by Webster’s as being scrupulously faithful and/or conscientious, then yes. I’m also religious. And, I’m also spiritual in that I am not of this world. I’m also a follower of Christ.
So I guess you could say that I’m all three.
And what does it mean? Well, it means that each day I do my very best to live a life patterned after Christ’s own life. In that aspect I am conscientious of my actions and how what I do, say or think may affect others or myself. I remain at all times, to the very best of my ability while living in this sinful world; faithful, loyal and obedient to Yahweh and Christ and do all that I can to do what would be pleasing in their eyes. I also recognize and fully admit that I am far from perfect. When I stumble, and I do daily, I pray to Father for forgiveness, who then picks me back up and dusts me off and lovingly allows me to continue on my way down the rocky, pit-filled narrow path back home to Her and Her son Christ Jesus.
What I have learned most is that it truly isn’t about whether you’re Spiritual, or Religious, what church you belong to or even whether you attend a church at all, but instead it’s a process of learning and growing closer to Father and Christ in how you lead your daily life.
In the meantime, I prefer to refer to myself as a servant of Yahweh, follower of Christ and fellow good-for-nothing slave to my brothers and sisters of Father’s Holy Family.