A religion that takes me there
Jonas Ellison

It seems to me that what you are actually describing here is the difference between religion and spirituality.

As far as I can see, Jesus never intended to found a religion any more than Buddha intended to found a religion. Both operated in the context of a religious culture, but were in essence a call to return to a lifestyle of authentic encounter with transpersonal reality. In fact Jesus’s harshest words were for those who had packaged up the experience of God and spirituality within a religious straitjacket. The early followers of Jesus called it “The Way” presumably because it was a spiritual path that led to an encounter with God or whatever you want to call that ultimate, transpersonal reality.

The institutions and trappings of religion were a gradual accretion, that gained more traction when Constantine recognised in Christianity a movement that could stabilise his empire.

What astonishes me, given the prevalence of institutional and religious Christianity, is that despite all the liturgy, dogma, learned behaviour and cheesy music, some people still manage to have some sort of authentic, and even transformative encounter with God

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