Quaker Universalist Conversations

The Pastor’s Lament

The line between religion and faith

Rev. Timothy Bupp is pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in Columbia, SC. Reformation is a Reconciling in Christ congregation. The following is Pastor Tim’s column for the January 2016 issue of Reformation’s newsletter, The Reporter.

Tim & Kathy Bupp, Reformation Lutheran Church, Columbia, SC Vicious attacks on Planned Parenthood, and a Social Service Center, with each terrorist proclaiming their attacks in the name of their religion, both Christian and Muslim, and catch this, during this Christmas season, guns were some of the biggest purchases.

Yes, during the celebration of the Prince of Peace, we purchase guns, and I weep.

There have been various times when I have identified myself as one of the most irreligious pastors anyone may know. What I mean by that is I do not believe Jesus came into the world to create a new religion. God knows there are enough religions in the world.

I believe Jesus came to draw a distinct line between religion and faith.

Faith is a belief, an undistracted belief in something or someone who reveals truth for living rightly with others, so that all can experience goodness. Religion, and I don’t care which one you pick, seems to degrade into proving our god is stronger than your god.

So we are willing to call for crusades, jihads, blow up Planned Parenthood Centers, or fly planes into buildings, and I do not want to have any part of that. So I claim to be irreligious, and I weep where we have taken this wonderful faith in Jesus Christ, and how religion has taken us down a path of exclusion, hatred, and laws that were never meant for our faith that calls to be Christ-like, or Christian.

During this Christmas Season, may we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child by giving birth to the loving faith that child gave us. May we step away from the religiosity of judging, excluding, and hating. May we step into the light that overcame darkness, and follow the Word, the Logos that took on our flesh, and taught us how to selflessly love others. May we become the faith Christ intended us to be.

Shalom,
Pastor Tim


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Tim & Kathy Bupp, Reformation Lutheran Church, Columbia, SC