Faith for The Non-Religious

faith for the non religious eyes looking up

I’m not an atheist. I’m not even a good agnostic. I guess that makes me a believer.

I’m not religious. I don’t attend a church.

I did. In fact, I pastored churches for over three decades.

I tried to make them non-religious.

It was like trying to make Congress not political.

The nature of institutions is as strong as the DNA that makes a mouse a mouse and not a lion.

I’m on the outside now.

I believe in people. I’m easily mentored by greatness and goodness. When I see it in people, I want to be like them.

Jesus does that to me. The stories about him stop me in my tracks and make me cry or pump my fist or yell “yes” or reflect deeply about how I’m living.

Many others do that to me as well, but none quite as completely as he. So, I realize that he has become my baseline comparison standard.

I can’t prove the stories to be completely accurate portrayals of every detail of his life. That’s unimportant to me. The biographers for Martin Luther King may differ on some details.

I think it gives new meaning to the phrase “the devil’s in the details’. I have no interest in re-hashing details that someone with an agenda wants to emphasize when there is so much good I can model my life after.

Religion wants to control the details. I don’t do well with that.

But I believe in Jesus and I love to read what is often called Scripture. Not because I think it inerrant or authoritative, but because it gives me a human nature view of history that doesn’t try to be too rational. It is not the “cleansed” version that I get in books of history that are often controlled by whoever won the battle for supremacy.

Now, mind you, religious sorts have tried to make it that by insisting that God is the actual author and everything in it is precisely and authoritatively right. It excuses them when their interpretations of that precision and authority form another of those forty thousand plus denominations.

That completely messes with my faith, but it sure does make me religious. Sometimes I think the devil’s real name is ‘RELIGION” and that’s why the details are so important when I’m part of one.

But I digress.

There’s a definition of faith in the letter to the Hebrews in what we call the New Testament that catches me every time. 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

That describes how I want to live. Doing my best to act on what I hope for in this world. Jesus and a bunch of others that lived like him in this are my models and mentors.

So I’m a believer that’s trying to act on this faith that the world could be a better place if we would follow in the footsteps of people like Jesus.

Religion seems to mess with that.


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  1. I listened to a sermon recently in which the pastor described attending a conference with other area ministers. A presenter asked several of them how many churches there are in the metro area and those picked replied with guesses like 800 or 1000. Then the presenter said, “if you asked Jesus about the number of churches, what would he say”? Of course, he would say that there is one church.

    We get so wound around differences in the institutional church that we truly don’t see what we all share. That’s the faith that you describe above.

    • You are so right Paul. One of the major irrelevancies for today’s culture is this insider concern that our particular brand of Christianity has it right. We often differ over what is meaningless and those on the outside see that. Along the way we lost that most important of all elements: “They’ll know we are His disciples by our love for each other”.

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