when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention

Not so religious


It would seem I am not one of those “religious” people according to a friend of mine.

I didn’t know if it was a good thing or not that I am not seen as religious.

On the one hand, I don’t feel inhibited or shy about sharing what I believe, but apparently I don’t do so enough for others to realize it’s a big part of my life.

I have been trying to figure this out. There was a time that I had all the “Christianese” words, blessings and scripture verses to offer up. But honestly, back then, it was more for the sake of keeping with the Christian community and looking, talking, acting the part despite really having a naive understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ. Somewhere along the line, I realized that all my religion had really limited my view that faith belonged to “wholesome” individuals. Those who didn’t swear, didn’t struggle with addictions, spoke graciously (at least in public), wore modest clothing, etc. Albeit, these are all honourable and characteristics that can display what is in a person’s heart. But how many people have I known, have you known, who have said and done all the right things and lacked the most important thing of all? Genuine love.

This realization shifted my focus from trying to appear devout to simply accepting that nothing I do changes anything about what Christ has done for me.  I wanted to associate myself with being free in Christ, not bound by religion’s expectations. Religion was something that had earned some black stripes in the ugly history of the church. In the past, religious people have legitimized holy wars, slavery, witch burnings and so on. There are religious people who say they love Jesus and Jesus loves you and then ignore the hungry panhandler on the street. For all the good that has been done in the name of religion, there has been a substantial amount to devalue the true definition of the word.

We who follow Jesus call ourselves Christians. We come from all walks of life, not just the kind that grew-up in the church with a virtuous family life. There are those who have lived a harsh life on the streets, fighting, stealing, numbing their pain with a needle and those from broken, not so very virtuous families. Old habits die hard – it might be hard to tell that these people having a living faith because their faces show the harshness that the years have inflicted. Or on a tamer note, maybe they just aren’t virtuous people by nature and that is a constant battle with which they grapple. What does religion mean to these people? The societal view of religion seems to only stand as a barrier between the real Jesus and those who don’t know him.

Could I stand to be more of a evangelist? Sure. What I don’t want to do is put a wall up between me and those who don’t fit into my virtuous Christian bubble because I’m “religious.”

Those are some thoughts I have, but it’s a huge topic with a range of perspectives and determining life experiences. In any case, I am thankful to my friend for unintentionally challenging me to think about what how I might not be religious enough. 😉

contemplative, religion, faith, Jesus, society, bad rep


Author: whenwewereyoung...

A stay at home mom of two boys under two, love TED talks, swing dancing and of course, writing. When we were young is my sharing of motherhood, the beautiful, the ugly, the happy, the sad and the world my boys are growing up in.

8 thoughts on “Not so religious

  1. It’s refreshing to hear someone admit that religion is different from a belief. I have some issues with how religion makes people behave and you pointed out, makes them act like hypocrites. If Christ has helped you through your life, then celebrate that, but there’s nothing wrong with NOT shouting it out to every person you meet. I personally am drawn more to those who have a steady but strong commitment to their beliefs.

  2. I totally hear you. Just as things like drugs, sex, etc can cause someone to be distant from their relationship with God, so can silly traditions. There are definitely things we shouldn’t be actively participating in if we call ourselves Christ followers, but just think of who Jesus hung out with. It certainly wasn’t the so called perfect people 🙂

  3. As you know, I am not religious in the traditional sense. I do not follow a messiah or scriptures in a book. But I do follow my heart, and I am a very spiritual person. I have witnesses Christians ask “what would Jesus do” when faced with a moral dilemma. I, on the other hand, look no further than myself and what my heart tells me is the right thing to do. Most of the time I don’t even need to stop and think about it because when you listen to your heart, you just know. The point is, being religious (or not and to what degree) should not ever define who you are, what your status is or how righteous you are. At the end of the day it is your actions driven by your heart that reveal the most about you. You have a beautiful heart, Christian, Muslim, Atheist or Jew. Those are only more labels that are intended to divide us. Our hearts and spirits are what connect us.

    • The only thing I can say about following your heart is that my heart fails to make the right decision at the best of times as well as the worst. Love, within a human capacity, is tainted ultimately with our selfish motivations and thus is subject to failing. True love doesn’t fail because there is no room for anything less than pure in it. Believing in the Creator attributes a force as powerful as love to someone/something far bigger and greater than myself, the created. I agree that there are beautiful hearts, Christian, Muslim, Atheist or Jew but beauty itself is not enough because there is not one of us that isn’t fully capable of morphing into a darker version of ourselves. All that said, there is a distinction between religion and faith.

  4. Thank-you for so much for telling the beautiful truth. Christians don’t like to admit that they have an ugly history and today is all about acting “Christian” and not doing the right thing. i would rather sit with the sinners who show genuine love and are the most caring people I know, than sitting with Christians who won’t have my back when I need it. Despite saying all that, I have known some amazing Christians who are pure in heart. There is good and bad on both sides.
    Being an agnostic has opened my eyes to all the good that is out there and not to be scared of other religions.
    …..speaking of love, I love you, Virginia! (Novel almost complete 🙂

    • People say that they know Him, but does He know them? Therein lies the distinction of a true follower of Christ and one who is playing the role. I am interested in other religions – why should I fear them as a Christian? Jesus said not to fear how many times? For many years, I looked to other Christians as my guiding lights. How does that make sense? Jesus is the only example truly worth following.

      Looking forward to my novel! ❤

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