Monday, November 2, 2009
Religious No More
I have been reading Religious No More by Mark Baker as a guide through the study of Galatians on Wednesday Night. I just finished it the other night, and thought about how much it has to teach us, despite it focusing on religion in Honduras.
Mark Baker lived in Honduras for years, interacting with the local churches there and learning how legalistic many of them were. Some even went beyond what we would consider extreme, threatening damnation to those women who might cut their hair or wear makeup. Baker interviewed many who had found church communities where grace was the central focus and found they were far more excited about the church.
It got me to thinking about how we portray the Gospel. Do we truly focus on the grace first, and then deal with our need to respond to the grace? Or are we too focused on the little things that we feel like we need to do in order to display our love and devotion to God? Are we too caught up in trying to prove our love for God, or trying to earn God's love? Do we still feel like we can make God love us more?
I know that I often fall into the category of thinking 'grace plus_____'. The plus is usually something different, but I seem determined to earn the grace of God, despite my overwhelming inability to do so. To simply fall back and thank God for grace seems too....easy? I don't know the answer, but I thank God for grace and pray for the strength to stop trying to earn my way into heaven.