I was at Gunther Toody’s, a famous Denver breakfast spot, the other week for breakfast. Every Thursday, a group of retired pastors and church leaders get together to talk about what was, what is, and what should be. For me, it is fun to be part of a group where I am the youngest person by 30 years.
Every once in awhile, they ask my opinion on a matter they are discussing, but for the most part I enjoy listening to their bantering back and forth. Every once in a while someone shares a real zinger.
During my last visit, one gentleman who had been quiet for most of the first hour jumps into the conversation, and with a funny grin on his face, makes the following statement, “Religion provides solace for the chaos it creates.”
At first I thought I was hearing the cynicism of a grumpy old man. Then I started to think.
A lot of crazy stuff has happened in the name of religion. I remember as a young person going to book and record burnings because someone had told us that Satan was in the books and records. Most wars are fought in the name of God or we ask God to bless our war.
Our world is divided as much by religion as it is by politics.
Is it possible for religion to be less chaotic and more unifying? Do we always have to use religion as a reason to divide, separate and fight? Is it possible to start every discussion by finding out what we have in common?
Maybe labels like liberal, conservative, pro-life, pro-choice, Republican, Democrat, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Methodist or Mennonite have no business being part of the church.
I had a friend who used to tell me that this world needs a little less religion (read chaos) and a whole lot more Jesus (read inclusion).