Yesterday I met a guy name Jared and had an interesting interaction with him. We met at Fox and Hound, where I was joining some other guys to watch Barcelona whip up on Manchester United in soccer. The game ended around 4:30 and Jared was only there for the last thirty minutes of the game. We ended up sitting there with one other mutual friend until 7:15.
Jaredd knows a lot when it comes to faith and scripture and religious stuff in general. He is like all of us, he has a story, which I was able to go into parts of. He grew up Methodist, went to a Baptist college, and has traveled a lot doing missionary work. The first question I proceed to ask him was, "Are you involved with any churches in Wilmington?" A simple yes or no would have been suffice and if yes, then the name of the church. But instead he proceeded to tell me how he does not like organized religion and went on from one thing to the next for about 30 minutes.
He is very into the Judaic aspect of religion and definitely challenges you to think. At one point he said, "I hope I am not messing with you theology at all." To my response, no, not at all, but I easily see you messing with a lot of people's theology within the church. In the end he said, "I am a Christian in the sense that I am a follower of Christ, but not in the sense of what Christianity often means today." In other words he is a follower of Christ, which makes him a Christian, but not considered a Christian in the sense of all the extra stuff that is not biblical that man has added into Christianity.
In some cases I would agree 100% with Jared. Personally, that is why I encourage people to follow the God of the Bible and nothing else. As a person identifying themselves with Christ they should model Jesus Christ from their relationship with Him and His word, the Bible. Not what any man made denomination, church, or organization tells them. In some cases I would say Jared has this under wraps, where a lot of us do not. But with that said I think it is all about what you do with something.
In many ways, I resonate with my new friend Jared, but not entirely. I agree that the church is as screwed up as it has ever been because we are mere man and that will happen. But I do not think that gives us a license to disassociate. I am involved with the church because I see it as a biblical institution set up by God and if the local church can not reach people for Christ then there is a big problem.
Anyway, I suppose my challenge to everyone is read your Bible, prayer, and daily seek out God. Work out your salvation, Phil. 2:12, and count the cost of being a follower of Christ.