And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
"I'm spiritual but not religious, so I do not need to go to church." If you are a traditional Christian who grows weary of hearing this, then I really have a good, easy to read book that almost qualifies as, "guilty pleasure reading!"
United Church of Christ Minister Lillian Daniel has written a clever, funny and informative book entitled, "When 'Spiritual but not Religious' is not enough," New York, NY: Jericho Books, 2013. The premise of the book is that people who believe they can sort of make-up or feel out their personal religious views then call them, "Spirituality" are off the mark.
Their error is that this is merely one form of creating one's own god, and changing the rules of the religion as one's life passes them by. Finally, on their deathbed, will this self-made god be able to deliver on authentic hope and life after death? Will this self made god be able to answer the unforeseen and complex questions such as, "Why do young people get cancer? Is the god of the sunset or giggle in a young person's laugh able to help us cope with loss of a job, house or medical insurance plan?" There is one group who can provide a resounding, "Yes!"
That is the church of Jesus Christ that takes many forms of worship style, songs or hymns, with varied ideas on communion, the end times and whether we "dunk or sprinkle" at baptisms. This Christian church usually has faithful people who have poeple in need in their prayer chain, send cards, bring over food such as casseroles and may even stop by for a visit.
We are not alone if we are part of the community called the Christian Church. The Ada, Ohio area has plenty of such "spiritual" support groups. Where is God then? God is acting and living out in the form of those who have a cause to die for, therefore, they have a ministry to live for until death or the second coming. Death is the end of part of a mission. There is new life after the grave.
Lillian Daniel challenges Christians of all stripes to not take the "Martha" hard workers in our midst for granted. But she shares a parable about how for some farm animals, time is not anything if the animal is about to become somebody's dinner. They can waste all the time they want! So time is precious to all of us.
She reminds readers that being poor is not being "lucky." Anybody who lives in an impoverished third world country would switch places with the poorest person in our county in a millisecond. And wealthy people do not usually crave to live a life of poverty in order to be closer to God-unless they are extraordinary people like St. Francis.
These are the realities of the Christian life. With that all said, if any of us were sitting on an airplane about ready to crash, would we want to be praying with somebody who is part of a community of faith, or a person who sees God in the sunrise? This "guilty pleasure" book was my Easter gift I gave to myself this year. Jesus Christ our Lord has risen indeed! Amen