Redefining the Word Religion

The Latin we get religion from is religare, which literally means “repeated binding”. A religion is something a community of people do together, repeatedly. It is a covenant that is renewed, generation to generation.

We tend to think of religion as a set of practices or beliefs. This perception is so ingrained in our thinking, especially in the western world, that we cannot extricate ourselves from it.

What if we redefined religion as it was originally meant – a binding, a covenant? What if we think of the liturgies and creeds as secondary to the covenant? Secondary to our commitment to the Way that Jesus called us to?

Instead of using our creeds to decide who is “in” or “out” of “our religion”, perhaps we would see different creeds as varied expressions of the same covenant. Instead of trying to convert everyone, we would be more concerned with engaging them and inviting them into the relationship with God through Jesus. Instead of trying to fix the world, perhaps we would enter into Jesus’ work of restoring it to the intended glory.

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