Church, Music, and some other stuff

Why Religion and Tradition SUCK!

Religion and Tradition Suck

I realize that my title for this post isn’t the most professional of titles. However, after much debate with myself, it’s the best way to put what I want to say.  Read on.

Once when I was invited as a guest to play at a local church, I showed up early to set my gear up.  This church was very different than the church culture I was accustomed to.

In fact, when I walked in with my stuff, the lady and man standing at the door gave me a look over and said “Are you sure it’s THIS church that you’re supposed to be playing at?  I’m not kidding, I can’t make this stuff up.

Anyways, with no help from anyone, not even a point in the right direction or a sound guy to help, I started placing my stuff on the stage.  It was quite awkward, especially after the way I was so politely “greeted” when I walked in.

I was going through culture shock.  At my church, we treat our guests like royalty compared to this.  Well, not even compared to this; we just absolutely love and serve our guests.  Which is the way it should be.

After a minute of guessing where I should be setting my stuff, a man walked up to me and said, and I quote “I’m going to warn you because you probably don’t know, but NO ONE is allowed to walk behind the podium except the pastor! I’m going to be nice about it, but other people won’t be nice about it.”

And there you have it.  Welcome to Nazi Christian church everybody!  I mean, Geez!  Have you guys ever heard of such absurdity?  This was a first for me.  I really felt like a welcomed guest after that.  They might as well just put up barbwire and warning signs.  Not to mention that the stage was only about 10 feet across, so anywhere you go is pretty much behind the podium.  Don’t ask me how I always end up in these churches.

The question I want to ask is this. How do people feel when they come into your church?  Are they treated like family, or are they just getting in the way of your Sunday tradition?

As you can see from my story, it’s entirely possible for someone to be in a church 10 minutes down the road from their house, and feel alone and rejected.  It’s something that sadly happens all the time.  If this is how I (someone who’s been in church their entire life) felt, I can’t imagine a lost, broken, person seeking something more in life, coming into a place like this.

This is why people don’t go to church; because they don’t feel accepted!  They don’t know our “rules” of what to wear and what they can and can’t do.  My honest opinion is that (and please don’t offended) these rules are dumb.  They only get in the way and make it harder for people to receive the love that Jesus died for us to have.

Religion and tradition make a mockery of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  It says that what Jesus did for us isn’t enough.  We have to create man-made rules and regulations as well.  It can be hard for people who have grown up with religious tradition, but I want to encourage you to put that stuff behind you and share love with others, no matter what they wear, do, or say.

I spent the rest of the evening going down the stairs of the stage, walking across the floor, and then going back up the stairs on the other side to get across the stage.  It was absurd.  And like most people that visit churches like this, I never went back.  There is so much more I can say about this subject, but I’d rather let you guys talk about it.

How do you feel about religion and tradition?  You now know how I feel.  Leave your comment below.

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  1. Kathy Logan
    Kathy Logan09-06-2015

    I guess this is an old article but it made me feel better for what happened today. I have been church hopping for years, finally found one where I fit in, for four or five years, then started to feel suffocated and judged and left. This morning I went to a Catholic church because my friend said the sermons were so good. I was raised Catholic but left the church due to the ridiculous rules and regulations. Well, my son and I went and right away I remembered why I left. Kneel, stand up, kneel, murmur endless prayers, stony faces, going through the motions. and then the priest wouldn’t give my son, who was baptized in a Baptist church, communion. Which, I knew but was hoping we could just sneak on up and get it. Because I believe communion is for EVERYONE. Did Jesus ask his disciples who had first communion? har har. Nothing like a priest refusing your son the body of Christ. That’s their rules and beliefs they so strongly believe in but it bothered me so much and I’m still livid. ok, thanks for letting me get this out.

  2. Rafael

    Hey Shalon,

    I enjoyed your post, it gave me a good laugh.

    Even though I did find it funny, I also found that your issue was not necessarily with tradition, but instead poor hospitality.

    As a Church we are supposed to welcome those that are different than us into the community of believers as if they were our family. It was not the traditions that caused the people to be rude but instead their intolerance for anything that is not like “them”, anything that does not fit into their schema of what a “christian” looks like.

    I used to despise tradition until I took a Church History class or two and realized where the traditions come from and why they still exist. It isn’t until you make a tradition an idol that it becomes harmful or as you put it, “sucks”.

    • Shalon

      Hey Rafael,

      Thanks for the great feedback. I agree with you. I believe that a lot of it has to do with poor hospitality. I dropped out of seminary before taking any church history classes lol. I’d love to hear more about it!

  3. Michael Shuttlesworth
    Michael Shuttlesworth07-29-2014

    I loved the article and all the responses had a good point to consider! Really like the comments my Audrey and John-Rock 🙂 Traditions and Religion have their roles, but as the article points out, we should never let anything come between God and those who seek him. I would believe that any “church” ( we the people of faith )..would not last very long with attitudes like the one mentioned. I would have left that church very quickly! May God bless you all.

    • Shalon

      Thanks Michael. You definitely picked out my main point here. We should never let anything come between God and those who seek him…tradition or not!

  4. Marcy

    Love this post!!! So grateful that God has put me in a church that honors not only our guests, but each other. I have been a part of “that church” before and it wore down my heart to watch it happen. The people just didn’t know better. They genuinely thought that was the right and Christian way to be. Legalism and pious traditionalism make me want to run for the door… cause it’s such bondage. It keeps people from genuinely knowing their Creator who loves them so much.
    It’s totally a culture of honor that leadership has to create in their church… and that requires them to first cultivate it within their own lives. So glad you followed me on Twitter. Totally about to follow you back!!

    • Shalon

      You are completely correct. The leadership has to create a culture of honor. I believe that EVERYTHING comes back to leadership

  5. Pat

    AMEN! and again I say AMEN! A great post Shalon!

    The term ‘religion’ comes from Latin words meaning to tie and bind. Not a pretty picture when we use that term in connection with Jesus…

    Even though those traditions and religious rituals were put in place to build trust and authority, they often do just the opposite. Before throwing out traditions and religion, we have to look at the why of the practice. That why is often something we are seeking as well. We just have to figure out how to get there without that religious road block.

    I’m learning that in our attempt to get rid of traditions, we are creating new traditions – that our kids will have to undo. 🙂 Traditions do create some level of comfort for those who know the traditions, so how can we balance that comfort for those of us that are on the inside while still leaving the door wide open for “outsiders” (I hate to use that term because it’s not “us” against “them”, but I’ll leave that soapbox alone)

    • Shalon

      Thanks Pat! You’ve brought up some great points.

  6. John-Rock Bilodeau
    John-Rock Bilodeau01-28-2014

    I think that we really need to be careful when we over generalize all religion and traditions as being bad. If you look in the Bible there are certain traditions that are handed down to Israel from God… Traditions that Jesus himself followed. There are also other traditions that were but in place by people, but with a purpose to glorify God, like in Joshua 4 were they set up the memorial stone, so that when future generations ask about them, that they would serve as a reminder of God providing for his people, and his faithfulness.

    I also think that religion has it’s place, but should never over shadow a personal relationship with Jesus. I think that Religion helps give us healthy boundaries to avoid being mislead by false teaching and also to be able to take a deeper dive into our theological understanding of what God has done for us. Think of it as learning from those who came before us, but with our focus always on Jesus.

    I do agree though that we shouldn’t get caught up in the legalism of our rituals and man made rules. Sometimes people just need a wake up call, that they are acting like the religious leaders in the Bible, and that they are actually pushing people away from Christ.

    • Shalon

      These are great points John! Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Audrey

    I served on staff at a church similar to that. Although, I was never told I couldn’t walk behind the pulpit (If I wouldn’t been told that, I probably would’ve responded like I did when two of the elders turned down my requested to paint my office. I laughed and told them that was silly.. and silly was my way of saying stupid without making them even angrier at me for being alive and working in their church), generally speaking, most traditionally established churches all have their sacred cows.

    I’ll play devil’s advocate though.
    It really depends on your definition of religion. James 1:27 says that pure religion to God is to look after the orphans and widows and to keep from becoming like the world.

    I had to learn the different because my temptation was to blame religion for man’s defense of useless tradition within the realm if Christianity.

    As if how we worshipped somehow became more important that Who.

    • Shalon

      Hey Audrey, your first paragraph was hilarious. “without making them even angrier at me for being alive and working in their church” I can totally relate to this. I also love the point you made with James 1:27. Great stuff!

      • Millie

        BION I’m imsdspeer! Cool post!