After I handed over my registration fee for the Church Army National Conference, they gave me a book. My first thought was: "What?!?! Homework?!?" Turns out that it was a book that Bruce was given, he really liked it and thought we should have it too.
"The End of Religion" by Bruxy Cavey was an easy read (I read it on the plane between Toronto and Saskatoon on my way back). I really enjoyed reading it because Cavey outlines that the purpose of Christianity is not be a dull/boring religious institution. He reminds and calls us back to a personal relationship with Jesus.
Jesus called us into a rule-free spirituality, which is very difficult for religious people to fathom. Certainly, rule-less spirituality is only a constructive way to live if love is the guiding dynamic of our lives, and that is key to Jesus’ message. Simply remove rules and you are left with anarchy (see 1 John 3:4). Transcend rules with love, and you are beginning to live like Jesus. (Cavey, pg 48)
I love that last line. I know that I’ve mentioned this before, that I often struggle with the church’s appearance to the outside world. I am convinced that we often get so caught up in rules, regulations and legalities that we forget our true purpose and calling; and this has caused many people to reject and turn away from the church and most importantly, Jesus. To those who don’t think the Christian faith has become an irrelevant system, and want to join a Christian community, many don’t because they believe that they must meet a certain criteria before they can. They need to have their lives in order; a successful career to give money to the church; and be of a prominent stature in the community. This simply isn’t not true. And none of those things make us Christian either.
We’re screwed up! We have faults! We have issues and problems in our lives that we are struggling through all the time. "The Church is the only organization that exists for those who are not yet its members." (Archbishop William Temple)
A Christ-follower acknowledges that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking in the woods makes you a tree. And once that is understood and embraced, a church community can become more of a "come-as-you-are party" than a religious obligation; a celebration of the life we’re given, not a religious attempt to attain that life. (Cavey, pg 111)