Corruption and alternatives

People cannot rise far above their religious concepts.
When religion is corrupt, behavior will be corrupt.

(Source “Questions God Asks,” pg. 55)

These two sentences caught my attention. It got me thinking about religion in America. It got me thinking about how this plays out in 2018.

What are our religious concepts? What do we believe about God? Are we limited by our conception of God? Do we mirror what we believe about God?

If we believe that God is first and foremost wrathful, then do we follow suit? If we believe that God is first and foremost love, then do we follow that instead?

How is religion corrupt? Religious institutions have been corrupt many times in the past, and some continue to be corrupt. The Catholic church was corrupt for many years — more concerned with worldly power and riches than with the Gospel. Recently we have also learned that the corruption of the church bled down to abuse of children. And the Catholic Church isn’t alone in this matter — there have been Protestant pastors who have done terrible things to children too. Televangelists have been corrupt — some even going to jail. And there is the other type of corruption — telling people that Jesus wants the televangelist to get another private jet, so send in money.

When religion is corrupt, behavior will be corrupt. I think there is a lot of truth in that. When religion is no longer about making disciples and spreading the Gospel, then it exists for other reasons. It becomes just another human institution. And it often becomes corrupt — consumed by money and power.

But the good news is that religious concepts aren’t always established very low. The good news is that not all religion is corrupt.

The good news is that we don’t have to follow this path. There is another way — God’s way. God raises our concepts higher towards God. God cleanses us and our institutions.

When God shows up, things change. Lives change. And for the better.


Originally published at laceduplutheran.com on November 29, 2018.