Religion is a controversial topic. It is something people try not to talk about with strangers. Religion is something that has become such a private matter. It used to not be this way. America was founded on God. What has changed?
The change is that we as people have a hard time accepting different ideas than our own. We do not want to accept the fact that someone might understand the Bible different than us. We also refuse to accept that there is not just one way to experience the God of the universe.
For just one moment, lets toss the whole religion concept out the window and think about only God. When I was on Summer Staff at Younglife Camp, I learned about the many ways people experience God and hear from him. This changed my whole perspective on other people’s relationships with God. I used to judge other people’s relationships based on my own, but that is not fair at all. I will admit that know that I see and understand I was wrong in my thoughts.
There are many ways to people experience God and scripture to back it up.
1. Activist: This means they experience God through good versus evil. An example of this in scripture is Moses versus Pharaoh.
2. Ascetic: These people experience and love God through solitude. They work on their deeper self. These people often go into the forest alone to experience God. An example, of this is when Jesus went to be alone with his father in the Bible.
3. Caregiver: These people experience God through serving HIM. An example, of this in the Bible is Ruth 1-2.
4. Contemplative: These people experience God through adoration and letting him soak in. Luke 10:38-42 is an example of this in the Bible.
5. Enthusiast: These people are people who experience and love God through enthusiasm. Worship is an example of enthusiasm. This is seen in the Bible with Kind David (2nd Samuel 6:21).
6. Intellectual: This person asks questions and is theological. He or she loves God with their mind. This is found in 1 Kings 4:29-34.
7. Naturalist: These people experience God through being in his creation. They look outside and see God's beauty in everything. Psalm 23, is an example of this in scripture.
8. Sensate: These people love God through their senses. These people experience God through his beauty and they are most likely detail oriented. An example of this in the bible is, Exodus 35:31-35.
9. Tradition: These people love God through tradition. They enjoy going to Mass. Abraham is an example of someone who experiences God through tradition.
My relationship with God is made up of a mix of these, but I think the main way I experience God is through nature. I show God my love through worship and prayer journaling (contemplative and enthusiast). Even though this is the what my relationship with God looks like, I know this is not what everyone’s relationship with God looks like.
I was talking to one of my friends and I realized he does not experience God like I do at all. Hearing him talk about how he interacts with God and understands HIM is completely different than me. This was crazy for me to think about.
I got to thinking about what some church people I know would say about his walk with God and it made me so upset. I know he fully loves God and he believes God is real. Honestly he may experience God in a totally different way than me, but hearing him talk about his faith shows me that he is so real about his relationship with God.
Hearing him talk about how Jesus died on the cross for my sins gives me goose bumps because he presents a whole new perspective of why he truly believes this. I am such a faith person and will believe anything I hear. It was not hard for me to believe Jesus loves me or that he died for me when I was at Vacation Bible School, but my friend looks at the facts. Just because God has shown himself to us in different ways does not mean God loves either of us any less or that one of us has greater faith than the other. We both just experience God in different ways and I think this is super cool because we both can learn so much from each other.
We both have struggled with the whole religion title. Being a Christian is so broad and it is a label for something that does not necessarily need a title. We both like to call ourselves a person of faith. Anytime someone asks if I am a Christian I respond with, "I am about adventurous faith and loving Jesus." A relationship with God is a relationship with God that is all it comes down to.
Let’s drop the religion titles and quit judging the way those around us interact and experience God.