God did you just say we weren’t created for religion, we were created for reality? We were created to live a life out there with you in the world, not huddling together hiding from the world?
You want to talk about that?
How shall I start?
That was a good start.
Ok. Well what do you want to say?
This conversation seems a bit stilted God – almost as though you’re being purposely difficult??
No. You are. You are ALL so difficult to talk to.
Why? I thought you were prepared to talk to us whatever our behaviour?
I am. It’s not your bad behaviour that keeps me from talking to you – it’s your religious behaviour. You’re always trying to organise our relationship, you won’t just let me talk. The crazy thing is that you’re religious but I’m not. It makes it very difficult for us to talk back and forward. You even have a religious language. No one else talks like it, neither do I. you all think your religion will get you closer to me. And yet it builds walls between us.
But God everyone already says they hate religion. If everyone says they hate it, then how can it be a problem?
Mark it’s alive and well. So many are caught in its talons. Religion is festering and spreading. It’s a malingering disease and it consumes my people. I want it stopped. Even those of you who really do hate religion still have its claws caught in your flesh.
Sure there are plenty who say they hate it – and yet everyone can see they are so obviously boringly religious. The good news is that many of them will wake up in time. But even those of you who really do, seriously hate religion – so much of your relationship with me is still effected by it. You want to be free of it because you’ve seen the horrible crushing effects – the families destroyed by dedication to religious activities and spiritual leadership - the friendships ruined when the organisation is put before people - the promising futures dashed when religion becomes more important than what you were born for. And yet you are still dragged down by religion. It affects the way you think about everything. It mars the way you see yourself, others and me. It’s a scourge, a disease. Religion is Satan’s most fantastic plan. It has my people tied up in knots.
Mark you are not put on earth to separate yourself from real life and devote yourself to an organisation and its customs, beliefs and ways of talking. I did not create you with that in mind. You won’t discover a back and forward conversation with me within the walls of an organisation – it happens on your own, out there in the world.
Neither will you find the real me by slavishly following your religious customs – sitting somewhere at appointed times talking ‘at’ me with your eyes clenched closed. Or singing ‘at’ me, or feeling that you must read ‘about’ me for a certain period of time each day. I just want you to talk to me expecting me to answer back. Can you all imagine how those you love would feel if you organised your relationship with them like you do ours? They’d be bored to tears. So often I am too. I long for the excitement, the back and forward banter, the joint discovery that I created you all for. Not the religion he created for you.
Are you cross?
Not at all. I put up with all the religious ways and customs – but I long for a conversation. However I am cross with the one who invented religion.
So what can be done about it?
Listen. Forget the customs that you think bring my presence. Just listen and let me talk. Three songs and then the notices, another song and then a sermon? Someone should ask me if that’s what I want?? While Aaron and the Israelites were busy with their religious rites, Moses was away on his own talking back and forward with me like a friend. That’s what I want. While Martha was busy doing all the duties, Mary just sat and listened to me. That’s what I want. While the Pharisees met and tithed and buried their heads in the scriptures - I just talked all day with the Father.
‘You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime…’ MATT 23:23 MSSGE
‘You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.’ JOHN 5:39 MSSGE
You all want to specify the days and times and ways that we meet. You want to do all the talking and singing ‘at’ me. But I want to talk and sing to you. And I want to do it ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Will you please let me?
Mark I am not anti church. Everything I have said about church is true. But much of what you all THINK I have said about church is not true at all.
If you want to know what that means you’ll have to ask.
If you like what you read and want to know more about these conversations with God, you can purchase your own copy of Mark Holloway's book, 'The Freedom Diaries - God Speaks Back'.