A friend of old wisely counseled, "Beware the theological midgets."
Exhibit A: "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"
Despite much sympathy for what this guy has to say, I think he's missing the fact that Jesus chose to create a human and divine reality that necessarily has, well, institutional aspects (i.e., religion). As Winston Churchill once quipped about democracy: "[it is] the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
One might well say of Catholicism that it too is the worst form of Christianity except everything else. Want Jesus without religion? Welcome to the Ultimate Solipsism!
Teaching Shakespeare this semester has prompted me to ask, "What Would William Shakespeare Rap" in reply to The Religion Hater? Here goes my feeble attempt in roughly sonnet from.
A RELIGION OF ONE
Wherefore upon thy lips
O rhymee boy,
Doth poison drips
Devoid of Joy?
Thou speakest rage
And tempest toss'd.
Religion declaim'd, nay, defamed.
Christ torn as if mere Page
From yon book
Crane thy heart, brook to look:
Christ amidst the living, not the Dead.
And thee? What are thou?
A Religion of One. And How.
Or the Alternative Rap Version...
CHRIST OR NOTHING
There is one thing you forgot the mention:
Life is filled with intractable tension.
You may wish to sever Church from Christ
And in this you are not the first.
We've seen Arius and a New Age band;
We've even seen the Klu Klux Klan.
Nut-rolls all -- demanding Perfection
Yet from Humanity runs this Defection
He's the God-Man -- take it or leave it.
He did what He did -- not how we conceive it.
A Church without Christ is a terrible thing,
But Christ in His mission a Church did bring.
You may not like it -- it may get in your way.
Like it or not, She's here to stay.
Suffering at Her hands we're sometimes called
To bear it manly but that's not all.
To pray for those not as enlightened as we.
To find Him in Her, Happily.
With you I agree on this thesis:
If the choice were Church or Jesus,
Him I would readily choose.
That's not an option, merely a ruse.