It’s the first Wednesday since I decided on my new plan for themed posts here at In Truer Ink. Wednesday, if you recall, is set aside for words. Not my words, but other people’s words…enjoy!
I’ll start with something from Eugene H. Peterson’s introduction to the book of Galatians from his “contemporary rendering” of the Bible, aka The Message. He writes,
“When men and women get their hands on religion, one of the first things they often do is turn it into an instrument for controlling others, either putting or keeping them ‘in their place.’
…Through Jesus, Paul learned that God was not an impersonal force to be used to make people behave in certain prescribed ways, but a personal Savior who set us free to live a free life. God did not coerce us from without, but set us free from within.” p. 1602, Introduction to Galatians, MSG
Now think about your personal “religion,” whether it’s a denomination or an anti-denomination. Have you ever been guilty of using your religion to put or keep “others” in their place? Judging and condemning others, or worse, manipulating and coercing people to “walk this way” from outside, instead of letting Jesus work on them from the inside? I have.
Conversely, I’ve been a willing subject of that kind of external control, from the church AND from myself. It’s the way religion works, and it makes our flesh feel good because it looks like we’re accomplishing something. Unfortunately, all religion really does is put on a good show.
I need to think about the things I do, particularly the things I feel compelled to do, the things I feel guilty over, and the things I judge other people for doing, and figure out if those feelings are coming from within my new creation spirit, or from the Christian culture without. Interesting, no?
For guaranteed giggles, check out my daughter’s blog, Walker Whimsy. Yes, I’m probably biased, but if your own kid can make you laugh out loud, surely she can make other people laugh too, right?
Joanne Sher may be one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve had the good fortune to meet online. Her unflagging encouragement of others is inspiring, especially in light of the obstacles she has had the opportunity to rise above. She’s starting a Wednesday theme at her blog, An Open Book, to share stories about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Today’s post, in particular, was heartfelt and thought-provoking.