Unorganized Religion

It always amuses me how “spiritual” folk go on and on about how they hate “organized religion,” without bothering to consider that worship of God among the religious cannot but be organized in some way or another. (Link, by the way is from Remora Remora, a blog which happily picks the cliches from our linguistic fur.)

Let’s do away with this sophomoric idea that “organized religion” is something to be rebelled against in favor of some nebulous idea of self-determined personal faith. Yes, Jesus touches us in a deeply personal manner, but his love is something we share with in loving interaction with a community of believers. If we spiritually keep to ourselves without that sense of community, we will only stagnate.

As this Navy Chaplain puts it:

Unorganized religion doesn’t build hospitals or schools. Unorganized religion doesn’t create nursing homes and orphanages. Spiritual prima donnas with no accountability and no network may think that feeding the hungry is a great idea, but the hungry starve unless folks get organized to feed them.

Is there hypocrisy in the “organized” institution of the church? You betcha. But there is even more hypocrisy in maintaining that one is too “spiritual” to mingle with an imperfect church. To forsake the community of the faithful is to deprive oneself of wider horizons, and is disobedience to the God who ordains orderly worship.

So abandon whatever preconceptions you might have about “organized religion” and get with it. And if you think something’s wrong, then work to fix it — once you yourself are right with God. If one can work past disillusionment at hypocrisy and learn instead to fix eyes on Christ rather than the faults of imperfect people, then faith will grow and flourish.


  1. wayne says:

    And if OT worship (which, by the way, was established by God) wasn’t organized as well as institutional worship, then I don’t know what is.

    Oh, but waittaminute, that was the Old Testament…

  2. Dave Nat says:

    Amen! When I was 15, I bought the “I’m into spirituality, just not organized religion” thing. How foolish I was! The Lord established and commands orderly worship, and it’s clear that Christ himself was a subscriber during his ministry on earth.

  3. Joshua says:

    That’s good stuff! I’m linking to it!

  4. I agree that “if we spiritually keep to ourselves without that sense of community, we will only stagnate” — I’ve been compiling some thoughts christians have re: community, have added this in there :)

    I guess I have issues with “organized religion” because lately I haven’t found a sense of community in a particular church. I’ve felt like an outsider for two years… I’m now meeting with some other christians very informally and it’s so what I need. I certainly do not think it’s like this everywhere (and I know one cannot find a ‘perfect church’), but sometimes organization (programs/numbers/perfectly run ‘services’ etc) has squashed the organism nature of the church — it’s not something to always be ‘organized’, we’re sinful people and we make messes. My issue isn’t with hypocrisy either. I’ve been reading a book called “A Churchless Faith” about Christians who have left “organized religion” and are meeting less formally (not just the house-church movement).

    I think that what is far more important than “organized religion” is christians in *unity*. Imagine if it was the norm that churches pooled resources and worked together, rather than competing?

    Did I over-step my 2c? :)