Of Religion, Ritual and Revelation
Why do I write?
I write for two primary reasons: Number 1 is to offer clarity and succour to those who come across my written thoughts, while Number 2 is for posterity sake - I want to have memoirs I can read as I get older.
Who knows, I might get a blog in the nearest future. (lol)
Why do I write about my Christain faith?
I started to get the impression to share from the various revelations I get from God’s word since 2018 and finally gave in October 2020. Therefore, I’m penning down my thoughts here to share with you as I continue to learn about God, His love, His plans and His thoughts.
Like I’ve always opined with my audience, my thoughts are not the sole expression of truth, and my life is not the standard for living for anyone. However, I know there is a tendency for authority bias to set in where people might recount my thoughts without necessarily weighing the different options that exist.
Since I hope you won’t fall for this trap, I encourage you to question the expression of my thoughts and engage with me in the comments, so we can come to a place of better understanding.
I’m starting this way because I want us to get on the right foot on our journey together. I may be wrong on some of my postulations as I continue to grow so please, have a flexible mind.
Nuff said already…
A very unique story in Acts 10:1-15 presents us with Peter’s vision about God’s provision of supplies to him and how he rejected it because the food did not conform to his theory of consumption, based on his history as a Jew.
From this scripture, I got an understanding and picked some cues from it, which brought a different light about religion, ritual and revelation.
Let’s understand the background of Peter a bit…
Peter grew under Jewish customs and traditions where certain animals are considered unfit for food, so they are avoided with contempt as a religious way of living. In this context, religion as a way of thinking becomes the order of the day, as passed down traditions controls the perspectives a lot of us have about life and a lot of scenarios.
Religion can be likened to an orbit of familiar traditions, expectations and behaviours.
If you are an African like me, especially a Nigerian, I am pretty sure you must have gotten caught up with the notion that those with dreadlocks or tattoos are doomed for hell and most of us can’t even imagine that fire-brand brother/sister with tattoo or dreadlocks, especially as a worker in the church.
But have you thought about how these religious ideas were passed down to us? How did we know and accept these ‘truths’ as our ‘truths’?
Exactly the way religion becomes ritual — an acceptance of ideologies without critical reasoning to question it deep enough if we understand them as we claim we do, which was why Peter labelled what God called clean as unclean.
Religion makes our Christian living mundane, our prayers familiar (house, car, stable finances, good family and at best, the leisure of travel - a lot of us really wanted to run out of Nigeria before this protest began, me inclusive - no pun intended) and our expectations moves around the same orbit.
Peter exemplified this through his religious understanding which gave no room for spontaneity, to consider going after the lost sheep of Isreal, of which Jesus originally commanded him and the rest of the disciples. God had to break through his (Peter’s) norm by introducing REVELATION.
The primary strength of religion is history - the way things have always been done, no questions asked. Religion then morphs into ritual because, after a while, everybody just starts doing it without necessarily knowing or asking WHY; we just go with the flow because that is the flow.
Yet, in our ritualistic manner, we still celebrate some outstanding folks whose results don’t conform to our ritualistic religion; that’s why we can allow Western gospel singers with the same tattoos and dreadlocks we condemn, to climb our altars and sing to the Lord.
Question: did we suddenly throw our religion away?
Religion doesn’t give room for critical analysis and innovative expression in our ever-changing world. It just understands one thing — SAMENESS in thoughts, words and actions. However, God as the creator of the heavens and the earth operates by dynamic principles, yet His methods are peculiar to the times and seasons because He controls them in the first instance.
While religion in a very subtle manner condemns those who don’t look; think or acts like them;
revelation, communicates the love of the Father that all may understand the unconditional nature of His love.
When you get access to the revelation of this love, you won’t get tied up to defining the scope of God’s love towards people by their strengths or weaknesses like Peter attempted in his religious cocoon; rather, you will in humility, communicate the never-ending love of Christ to them.
We need to learn more about the revealed love of Christ. We need more believers who will not allow themselves to be stereotyped about what the four walls of a church teach about God alone.
Religion at best is a fragment of what men think they know about God; however, revelation understands that the knowledge of God is an endless journey and is in constant awe of God’s unflinching love.
Love, therefore, is the encompassing truth of revelation.
Love, when revealed by the Spirit of God sets a new order of how things are done, a new approach to life and most importantly, a new wave of expression.
In all you do, set time aside to engage in a conversation with God to reveal His love for mankind to you.
Let revelation prevail!