Last weekend, the social media sites lit on fire over one young man’s Youtube rap. Have you seen it yet?
My Facebook news feed had at least eight friends who posted and praised it. The video has over 15 million views since posting last week. But as it turns out, not everyone is so happy about the poem. Talking about religion tends to do that. Now you can find a bunch of video responses from people who disagree. I read one blog post that criticized the guy for saying Jesus fought religion when, really, Jesus was a good Jew who honored religious traditions.
Perhaps the controversial poet didn’t do enough to answer people’s questions, but it’s asking a lot to explain Jesus in four minutes. Yes, Jesus did follow the Jewish customs. What is important to note, though, is that when this controversial poet says, “I hate religion,” he refers to static religion that traps people in rules. He doesn’t say anything against religious practices like attending church or praying.
The main point this video tries to get across is the same thing the Bible shows us. God doesn’t care about religion so much as he wants a relationship with His creation. This theme appears again and again throughout the Old Testament, Jesus’ ministry, and the early church. Religion is just humanity’s way to connect to God, to reach up to Heaven. It’s a tool we use. But God has already reached down to us. He’s holding out his hand, not to shake on a business deal, but like a parent cups his child’s hand or a man intertwines his fingers with his bride’s. If we ignore his hand for relationship and rely on religion alone, we’re just banging our fists on the ceiling without seeing the stairs to the roof.
You can look forward to another post on this topic tomorrow. My sister gave me Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller (the same guy who wrote Blue Like Jazz) so we could read it together and discuss the issues that come up. Unfortunately, I’ve put off reading it because of school, friends, and other commonly used but still pathetic excuses. Now I’m well into the second chapter and… well, I’ll save that for later.
- Jesus vs. religion? (breathenetwork.org)