I am still digesting Robert Farrar Capon’s Kingdom, Grace and Judgment. It is an interesting look at the parables of Jesus from an Episcopal priest and comes to some incredible conclusions that you wouldn’t expect. I’ll warn you it isn’t always easy reading, but the gems throughout are incredible. Here’s another:
“Christianity is not a religion’ it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshipping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God. About those things, Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (see the Epistle of Hebrews) and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever succeed (see the Epistle of Romans). The second is that everything religion tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, then, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up and forgotten. The church is not in the religion business. It never has been and it never will be, in spite of all the ecclesiastical turkeys through two thousand years who have acted as if religion was their stock in trade. The church, instead, is in the Gospel-proclaiming business. It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us only after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical, and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the world the Good News that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.’ It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace.”
Good stuff! I find it fascinating that the needs of institutions and the demands of religion fit together so well. It’s sad really. It so easily takes our passion for Jesus and wears us out in irrelevant activities. I can’t imagine people defending the religion that 21st Century Christianity has become. There is so much more life in simply living alongside other brothers and sisters sharing the life of Jesus.
On an unrelated note, I’ll be in New Mexico this Memorial Weekend hanging out with some brothers and sisters I’ve been corresponding with over the past few years, but haven’t had the chance to meet yet. I’ll be in Albuquerque on Thursday and Friday and in Capitan on Saturday and Sunday. I hope you have a blessed weekend wherever you are.