I believe religion has become more of a tradition, than it is a relationship with god. Denominational groups are only established so that one may become more powerful than the other. If you look at a church these days, usually the only way it is deemed successful is if it has a huge congregation. Its members spend more time recruiting than they do worshiping. Lately it has become a struggle to be the best in the area, and I believe most are losing sight of the things that really matter.
Now, this wasn’t always my image of established religion. When I was younger, my entire family was adamant members of the Assembly of God, and not one week went by where a tithe wasn’t paid. My Grandma was a member of the board and we always attended service every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. It wasn’t until my Mother started attending some outside prayer meetings that I noticed our routine had become more than a little robotic. In this group, there was no dress code and you were free to come and go as you pleased. The preacher was a working man, just like everyone else, and he even refused to accept a salary for his time. You could tell that he was truly there to share his love for God and it made me realize that this is what religion should be about. Ever since that day, I no longer feel pressured to be a part of the biggest church in town, but rather, I will only attend a congregation when it is truly something I’m interested and believe in.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.