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.