A discussion thread titled Religion vs. Spirituality over at social networking site BlogCatalog prompted me to search the Bible...and that's always a good thing!
The author of the thread added this under his subject head: Some folks cleave to Religion. Some to Spirituality. Some say it's either/or. Some embrace both. How 'bout you?
Here's how I responded:
I'd like to answer this question with some scripture. But, first let me say "religion" has caused a lot of damage. However, "faith" or one's spirituality based on seeking truth can do more good than we can even understand sometimes. It's also important to recognize that the pursuit of truth, doesn't mean pursuing relative truth, or the truth as you know it now, but real truth.
What does the Bible say about "religion"?
Here is Jesus talking to his disciples and a crowd that gathered around Him:
"Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven." (Matthew 23:9)
And a moment later He says:
"I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either. You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned." (Matthew 23:13-15)
These verses are from "The Message" Bible version. I think it pretty much sums up the "importance" of religion. I'm sure that if I did some more searching, or if any of you who already know some of Jesus' own words would point out to me, there are other references to how Jesus felt about religion.
So, what do I embrace? More accurately who do I embrace? In my case, and I know many others, I "cleave" as best as I can to Jesus, not religion.
How 'bout you?