The twenty-fourth of July, 1975, was on a Thursday. It was a day just like any other summer day in South-western Kansas; probably hot and dry. But something happened on this particular day that would change my life forever.
How would you define religion? I suppose there are many ways it could be defined. Some might describe it as belief in a god or group of gods. To others it might be an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used in the worship of a god. There is nothing inherently wrong with these definitions. The one I like best, however, is provided by Bruxy Cavey in his book The End of Religion. Bruxy writes,
“Religion is exposed as our attempts to reach God.” 1
That sums it up nicely. But where did that start? I believe we can find the beginning of religion within the first few pages of God’s story.
At one point in my life I worked for a pharmaceutical company. The job I enjoyed more than all the others I did there was conducting investigations. Because we were manufacturing medicinal products for human consumption, each product had to be manufactured according to strict governmental guidelines. Any anomaly in the manufacturing process could jeopardize the saleability of the product and potentially cost the company millions of dollars. Therefore every time something went wrong in manufacturing, the incident had to be carefully investigated to determine its impact on the product. Some investigations were quite simple and easily resolved. There were some investigations, however, that were quite extensive and would involve several departments within the company.
When conducting an investigation, one thing we always had to look for was the root cause. In other words, what was the underlying factor(s) that caused this anomaly to occur in the manufacturing process? Once that was determined we could come up with a preventative action to keep the problem from reoccurring in the future. Determining the root cause and coming up with a preventative action sometimes required some very creative thinking!
With this investigative process as a basis, I have a question I would like to ask:
What is the root cause of all the pain, heartache, and woes of our modern society?
The answer might be easier to determine than what you think.
I’m sure I have written about this elsewhere, but I am continually frustrated over the church’s ability to make itself look foolish in the eyes of the world. I’m not talking about the foolishness that is perceived as a result of genuinely following the Lord Jesus. What I am talking about is some of the foolish ways the church has tried to engage today’s culture with its message. When are we ever going to stop the nonsense and get back to what Jesus told us to do?