Burned out on religion?

26 Mar

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I think these verses sum me up at the moment. I love them.

I am burned out on religion. The NIV version is where Jesus talks about his yoke.

What is a yoke? A yoke in Jesus’ day was effectively a list of rules and regulations. Boys spent years learning the Torah, so that they could become Rabbis disciples when they were older, and then Rabbis themselves. Along the way some were told they were not good enough, so they had to leave and go to work at the family business, whilst others made the grade. Then they had to find a Rabbi to disciple them. A man had to decide that a particular Rabbi’s interpretation of the bible was literally the same as how he thought God intended things in the scriptures. When they found a Rabbi they agreed with, they basically took on that Rabbi’s yoke – his set of rules and regulations – you had to live them out.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus is telling us that his yoke is light, that there is another way. Why is then, that a lot of the church can look incredibly pharisaic today? Is it an institution which is focusing too much on religion and has therefore become irrelevant to a lot of society. Now I’m not knocking all churches, there are some great ones out there, and there are some wonderful Chritians who do incredible things for God. My only question is, are we doing it Jesus’ way? I know my answer to that, but I’ll leave you to figure your own out.


9 Responses to “Burned out on religion?”

  1. Dave March 26, 2007 at 13:24 #

    I think this post and Jon’s (jesus withdrawal) are pretty astute…in respect of your point, I think much of Christianity today is simply a replacement of the OT temple system of worship and religion, (see hebrews and galatians about this) but bear in mind this, Jesus never changed the Temple system, neither did Paul or any other, we’ve gotta somehow work amongst these tare filled fields.
    As for the yoke I have always thought of it as the thing that keeps to oxen together as they plough, I for one am happy to plough yoked with jesus, difficult to plough with people who do not want to do it Jesus way though. Still like your point which is valid.


  2. Jon Hallewell March 26, 2007 at 15:19 #

    Hummmm, Dave. Maybe be Jesus did change the temple system in 3 days? He transitioned it, albeit very quickly. Love NT Wright on this stuff, but then again, he may be wrong. Of course NT Wright believes that Jesus transitioned the temple, but he sits in a cathedral! Question is: is the emerging church (community rather than candles (no offence to candles)) a major shift from the OT temple to the Jesus version? Too many of our temples, are temples to men because we’re not very good at withdrawing!

  3. Dave March 26, 2007 at 16:15 #

    Thanks John, experience tells me that we still have a High Priest (pastor etc), we still have a priestly order (normally theology educated men) we still view tithes and offerings as sacrifices (when we should be a living sacrifice), we still believe that going to a building has an effect upon our spirituality…
    Not sure about NT Wright, not read it, but the temple functioned perfectly after Jesus left, and the letter to the galatians and hebrews (and in part Romans) show a drawing back to organised religion.
    Like the point about NT Wright in his cathedral…nothing wrong with any of it you understand, just that a shadow is never as salvific as the real thing…Jesus

  4. Lyn Hallewell March 26, 2007 at 17:19 #

    Dave, I like your comment about people still believing that going into a building has an effect on spirituality – the effect I feel it has on mine right now is that it’s killing it (does that sound too strong?). I hate feeling like this.

  5. Dave March 26, 2007 at 18:12 #

    Not too strong at all, after all we can dislike a system without despising the people in it, those are just the things that sprung to mind…looking forward to meeting you both.

  6. Heidi March 27, 2007 at 00:18 #

    Wow, what a bonus. A great post, and then meaty comments as an extra! I haven’t read the comments yet, but I do get the feeling that what we deem as being “church” is in the process of being redefined somewhere deep in the hearts of those who are beginning to question the way we do things. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I hope not. We have to work with what we have, but my gosh sometimes it’s appropriate to consider that some deconstruction/reconstruction may be in order. Surely we’ve added things that need to be taken away, and neglected things that need to take their rightful place. Don’t ask me which things though, because I really don’t have a clue! 🙂

    Thanks for being one more person that gives me hope that it’s not just a small number of us that thinks there must be more to the church than this. (though I love my own church community!)

  7. Lyn March 27, 2007 at 09:44 #

    Thanks Heidi! There are some great church communities out there – I know that yours is one of them. At the end of the day we are not perfect, so we are never going to have the perfect church, but it does say in the bible that Christ is our example and we should try and imitate Him. Now, as he is perfect, this is not easy to do! In every situation I have to ask myself, what would jesus do here, and I’m not sure if some churches are really reflecting that at all. Maybe we are too focused on our own agendas and image. Like Dave wrote on Jonathan’s blog yesterday, it is doing it all for Jesus and recognising that it will go unseen on earth which is sometimes the harder road to take.

  8. Dave March 27, 2007 at 12:24 #

    Did you put the lid back on the can of worms?

  9. lynhallewell March 27, 2007 at 19:45 #

    Small technical hitch! Opened again now though!

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