Jesus Is Not Religious

I can’t believe it’s been over 30 years ago since I wrote “Jesus Is Not Religious”. I sang it in a few churches at the time and I guess it offended some Christians, but to tell you the truth, I’m offended as a Christian that after 30 years the song is still true and not much has changed at all in the Church in America. We’re still going through the motions just like we were then- the whole thing is as religious as it’s ever been.

Some might feel that what I’m about to say is a little harsh. It could be argued that God, after all, still uses the Church even with all it’s man made religion. I can’t argue with that- God is extremely merciful- He loves people so much He can use practically anything to draw us near to Him, such is his grace and kindness. But does that mean that we should be content with the way things are? Should we just shrug off the religiosity we see in the Church today and act like it’s no big deal? Has it ever occurred to us that what we might actually be doing is making it harder for people to see that what they really need is Jesus, and not just our religious substitute for a real relationship with Him?

I can’t really apologize that I’m not satisfied with the way things are. I never thought it was supposed to be this way and I still don’t. I can still remember when I was in Jr. High, when I was very far away from God and not yet even a believer. Church as I remember it was stuffy and religious and dead. It seemed to offer me nothing that was alive and vital. There was no pulse, no beating heart that drove me to Jesus, that caused me to see that He was actually alive. I’d hear “christian radio” and it was the same way. They’d appeal to teens like me by trying to make God seem cool and I would think, “If God is God He has no need to be cool… I mean, isn’t it enough that He’s GOD?” I could see right through the veiled attempt to make God into someone that I would find more palatable.

I found nothing that attracted my heart in the Church. Religion couldn’t fill what this 15 year old longed for. It was dull and routine and predictable and it wasn’t Jesus that I saw- it was a whole bunch of religious junk, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. I hate to have to say that, but it’s true.

Decades have gone by since I was in Jr. High and the Church looks much the same. We’re still trying so hard to be culturally relevant. We’re still begging for the world to like us and doing our best to look just like the culture around us, and we’re still all about religion.

Is this what being a Christian is supposed to be all about? If it is, I can’t blame people for not wanting to be a Christian or follow Jesus. I’m a Christian and I’m totally turned off by much of what I see in the Church, why would an unbeliever ever want what we’re offering? Do we even see what a caricature of ourselves we’ve become?

I guess after 30 years of this I’ve figured out that short of a miracle from God this whole religious carnival we’re putting on is going to keep right on- the Church will keep producing the show. Long after most of us are dead and gone the show will go on!

Aren’t you desperate for something real? I sure am! That’s the reason I became a Christian in the first place- I realized that Jesus was really alive and I could know Him. Sadly, He doesn’t seem to be enough-We love being religious.

Well, this is my protest song. Jesus is enough and He doesn’t need our religious substitutes.