Monday, January 23, 2012

Hate/Love



There's been much to-do about this video about 'Hating religion and loving Jesus.' It's been viewed over 15 million times since the beginning of January and I've seen it posted on almost every single one of my friends' Facebook profiles.
I'm from the Bible Belt. I was raised in a Pentecostal environment, something I don't regret at all. While I might not align myself with everything that was shouted at me from the pulpit when I was growing up, it formed a foundation for me. But, as we get older, it becomes important to be less of a sheep, being herded around and doing whatever the preacher tells you to do, and figure out what all this means to you personally. So many of our churches say their congregations are doing this, but it's really an internal puzzle you've got to put together for yourself.
I remember when I was going to this small Bible school, the people that would shout at us from the pulpit in chapel would talk so badly about other denominations and people who believed differently than they did. That always bugged me and my self-censor-less nature about things got me into some trouble on the topic. They were not a fan that I would defend a Baptist or a Methodist. That trouble became a sort of badge of honor both then and now because I said what other people were too afraid to say.
The face of Christianity has been slowly changing and I know that to a lot of conservatives, it's not changing in a good way. Actually, those are mostly the same people that think any change is bad. But people who believe in Jesus today don't look like they did 50 years ago or 150 years ago. The world is a big place and so many of the social stigmas that were, for lack of a better term, inflicted on society during the formative years of different cultures are dissipating.
When I was in the youth group, it was trendy to talk about "the old law" and the "new covenant" because as pseudo-angsty teens, that's what we used to support our claims that tattoos are awesome and that we had the ability to wear our hair in whatever style of Sun-In blond we wanted. The fact of the matter is, people are still clinging to some of those "old law" topics and stigmas because it's just what they've always known.
So why has this video caused such a storm? Why is CNN reporting on it? Why are imitators making videos to tell this guy he's right or he's wrong? Because he said something that's resonating among a large group of Christians and at the same time, he's lambasting the notion that you need to be in a church to be saved. So many people I know have been so burned by church-goers and church-runners. I'm certainly one of them. I don't hold a grudge, but I also don't want to place myself knowingly in the line of fire either.
Are churches bad? No. They're not. I've been to some great ones. But I think the point this video is making is that Christianity is changing and people are tired of the redundant and mundane mandates of having to play a certain role in a religion. Rather that having to outwardly prove to people (people that believe the same as you do by the way) that you, in fact, also believe what they believe, he's saying it's internal.
With all that Jesus himself said about the Pharisees and their appalling religiosity, this video should make sense to people. The concretized religion of Christianity isn't going anywhere, but there are more and more people who are having less faith in a pastor and more faith in things unseen. I kinda feel like that's the way it's supposed to be.

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