The “Faith” and the “Religion” of Jesus

The recent interview in Rolling Stone of Marcus Mumford of the Grammy awarding winning music group “Mumford and Sons” gets at a developing distinction being made between the “faith” and the “religion” revolving around Jesus Christ.  Marcus was raised by parents who were instrumental in the development of the Vineyard Church in his native land, the U.K.

Increasingly, I’ve been making this distinction over the last couple of years.  This is not the same thing as “spiritual but not religious.”  The “faith” contra “religion” of the endeavor of following Jesus Christ tends to come from those who truly are engaged in their “faith” even if they don’t purport to engage in the “religion.”

Among the attitudes of younger people, generally, this isn’t necessary a negativity toward organized religion per se, though they will certainly point out the hypocrisy of and the negative things about those who call themselves Christians.  Can you blame them?

I found this comment made by a person reading the article interesting:

BRAVO for Marcus Mumford! Jesus’ person and life is the great equalizer and exemplar of FAITH. Not of Church-codified “Christianity” which, while theologically and liturgically may be the “body” of Christ, is NOT the essence of FAITH. An inability to distinguish between these two, and the ignorant over-indulgance in dogmatic, punitive and politicized theology has veritably severed the (Church) body of Christianity from Jesus, its head. Leaving it an amputated appendage bleeding out–useless and fruitless, for those whom Jesus most intended its spiritual, and Religious embrace.

This can be said of both the present-day liberal or conservative churches and para-church organizations.

I think this sums up the attitudes developing within emerging culture.  This doesn’t mean the institutional Church with its “cultic ritual practices” (technical term in theology) and doctrinal stuff involved are rejected out of hand. This does mean, however, that the hypocritical attitudes, words, and behaviors of people within those institutions who call themselves “Christian” are rejected – that which any outside observer knows does not particularly match up with how Jesus calls us to act and be.  That’s the “religion” that is rejected – that which comes from the people calling themselves Christians but doesn’t mirror Jesus.  The “faith” is the authentic engagement with Jesus Christ whether found inside or outside the institution.

Leave a Reply