Christianity is not important, but Christ is
The Christian movement today
has evolved from centuries of traditions, rites, creeds, and the
occasional reformation or revival. Throughout each small or large
change the Christian name takes on throughout history, only one aspect
of it remains constant: “Exercising Christianity, in the formal
institutional sense, is not important.” Well it is not important
according to Jesus anyway.
Consider what constitutes the Christian religion. We have church, which
is the foundation of any Christian life. Church includes singing and
other kinds of worship, public prayer, the last supper, preaching, the
offering of money to the church, and fellowship. Outside of that two
hour Sunday ritual the Christian is let loose on the world, the Church
requires nothing from him but only to encourage nice pious behaviour
and to remain safe (so that he can attend church the following Sunday
and give to the holy coffers).
All of this is nice, and if approached the right way can be useful for
a spiritual person (especially prayer). However, if you look at what
Christ taught throughout his life you see that his conception of the
“fundamentals of Christianity” is the polar opposite. He
told people that if they wanted to pray they should do it in private
and not let anybody know about it, he never commanded anybody to attend
church each week or to give money to some religious institutional body,
and he certainly never asked for worship. In fact, in Luke 11:27-28 you
see Jesus directing worship away from himself to people who have heard
his word and have kept it.
I am not saying that any of this worship is wrong, just that according
to Jesus it is all frivolous trivialities. It is nice to do but does
not make you a good Christian (or even a good person) by performing it.
What does make you a good Christian is what Christ essentially preached
to the multitudes: love, tolerance, forgiveness, and non-violence. That
is what marks a follower of Christ, not attending church or anything
else. Jesus told his disciples that people shall know that they follow
him by their love for one another; this is what is actually important.
Love is what actually matters for the Christian, not any kind of
religious hierarchy imposed upon them by supposedly
-- By Timothy Neal