Thursday, July 3, 2008


A while back, Uni and I were sitting and chatting with some Christian friends. The conversation got around to religious stuff. You know, the latest seminar, the latest conference, some current media preachers (good ones, I guess), the current Christian musicians, some popular Christian books. I think my eyes were getting glazed over like they do when the conversation turns to golf. Most of the conversation was about matters about which I knew little and had no desire to learn. When my thoughts were asked, I blurted out rather rudely, “I’m not religious!” My friends were somewhat puzzled, but knowing that I’m a bit eccentric and a curmudgeon, they didn’t castigate me.

I’ve been a believer in Jesus for well over 50 years. I’ve gone to seminary, pastored churches, taught at a Bible college, etc. I suppose that would qualify me as religious in the thinking of many.

But I still get uncomfortable in the company of many when their talk gets religious. We have a religious, or “Christian” subculture in America. I’ve had at least one foot in that subculture all of my life. But I try to keep at least a few of my toes out of it.

Please understand. I’m not criticizing anyone in particular. It’s just that so much of our religion has little to do with Christianity as I read about it in the Bible. It seems to be more like a copy of the culture around us – and not always a good copy.

I believe we should engage the culture around us and not retreat into our little monasteries. Rather than reading only Christian authors and listening to Christian music all the time, we should read and listen to what the culture around us is saying. Rather than getting our news through “Christian” media, we should be reading our newspapers and newsmagazines.

I hear many complaints about the “liberal” slant of the secular news media by those who don’t realize that much of the religious media has a political slant as well, though it is often disguised as biblical.

Enough of that rant!

What should our religion be like? Well James tells us in 1:27: “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Bill Ball
July 2, 2008

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