Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Searching For True Religion?

I am in the middle of reading two pretty good books right now. Currently I am rereading "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller and "True Religion" by Palmer Chinchen.

Chinchen does a good job of reminding us that "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) He points out the ways that the "American church" has failed in this regard and challenges us to align our agendas with God's. He reminds us of the global horrors of pain and suffering that exist in our world today and challenges us to do something about it. It's a great book that I highly recommend.

As for Donald Miller, he is funny and does a great job of getting his point across in such a way that most anyone can understand and enjoy. Although I love his humor, I find a lot of depth in what he writes. In Searching For God Knows What, Miller talks about how our lives are a story and how God has written a story to help us understand the meaning of why we exist and what it is that we are all searching for.

What has stood out to me recently is how we have taken this beautiful love story found in the Bible, dissected it, and reduced it to a formula. Although we all like routines and formulas with predictable outcomes, relationships don't always work that way. God invites us into a relationship, not some formulaic religion. Although relationships can be messy, they are also exciting and exhilarating. This has helped to remind me of the relational side of our faith. It has also caused the Scripture come to life as I read it through a relational lens as opposed to a more academic approach. I understand that there is a need for both but I am convinced that although our theology must be good, it is worthless outside of a relationship with the creator.

All of that said, if you are looking for a good read check out either of these books. I think you will be both challenged and refreshed in the process.