Jesus or religion

Beloved Friends,

We have another tempest in a tea pot over a video by a young man who entitles his rap video “I hate religion but I love Jesus”. It is on YouTube and I encourage you to see it and listen to what this person is saying. Regardless of whether you agree with what he is saying or not, and I happen to agree with almost everything he says, at the heart of his message is “be real”. He sees the obvious contradictions between the life and message of Jesus and the institution of religion that claims to represent Him. If we look around we do to. You simply cannot reconcile the words of the Gospel of feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, visiting and ministering to the sick, or the prisoner, or the outcasts, or the immigrant with the collective wealth of the institution of the church which is estimated to be collectively in the trillions of dollars in the U S alone! Neither can you reconcile the condemnation of gay people and the subjugation of women with the inherent inclusion of all God’s children as taught by the Book the so called evangelicals wave like a talisman!

In the recent sociopolitical phenomena called “Occupy” a number of pundits have remarked that the most compelling message of the participants is “we demand honesty”. People are sick of lies, sick of hype and spin, sick of market driven trends,and sick of cult messiahs created and controlled by the marketplace. In the realm of religion such slick campaigns seem to be the rule rather than the exception and the only difference between the secular world and the religious one is in style and presentation. Yet religion has been the cause of more wars and hatred than any other anthropological construct in human society.

So what kind of “church” does the world need and what kind did Jesus establish? That question could be the basis of a doctoral thesis but suffice to say that Jesus wants a fellowship born of water and the Spirit and a Meal that is the gathering place for his friends. A gathering place where all are welcomed and respected and from whence the offering of service to all and the sharing of witness comes.

The world does not need nor does Jesus an institution with all manner of little institutions competing with each other to be #1 nor does it need or want a holy advertising professional placement firm nor a corporate 401K country club with potentates and pontiffs!

So which one will it be? Whom will Jesus anoint to bring his message, a CEO in a stain glass office along with his office help, or an honest person who pulls no punches!

Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry


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