Dis-organized Religion


There are those who flat out “hate religious people,” but there are far more who are simply down on “organized” religion. Religion itself is fine, just don’t go getting organized about it.

Of course, “organized religion” is a big, easy target for critics, well, because it’s organized. It’s an organization – not just some individual. And as is the case with every organization made up of imperfect human beings, it’s not perfect. So we (along with a sensational media) like to use those often very significant imperfections as a way to justify throwing the baby out with the bathwater or to endlessly teeter on the edge of commitment with positions like “Oh, I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

“Spiritual, not religious” might be a comfortable way to dismiss religion, but it is precisely the organizational aspects of a church that enable outreach, community service, and the fostering of human ties. […]

I like organized religion. I’m a Catholic. And the Catholic church is so organized that we advocate for, educate, clothe, house, rescue, and heal more people worldwide than any other single organization on earth. You have to be organized to do that.” – Lisa Mladinich

If we insist on disassociating ourselves with every organization that isn’t perfect, then we’ll inevitably end up all alone. For all the flaws of an organized religion, it is certainly more effective than a dis-organized one. And for all the inevitable additional complexities, drama and challenges “organization” brings, it’s ultimately more fulfilling and meaningful than a seemingly more simple devolution of it.

Religion helps us to reach out and actually touch our spirituality. And the “organized” aspects of it help others do the same.

4 comments Add comment

Amanda Rose June 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

If people applied this disassociation from imprerfection to other areas of life, there would be no public school system, no government, no groups at all. We are so surprised when human beings are less than perfect, yet within the Catholic Church, we do recognize our human limitations and in many ways it is “set up” to help mitigate the damage, to ourselves and others. Isn’t it funny that we aren’t quite so surprised at our own imperfections and failures? Maybe the media could take a look at that?

Joe Jordan June 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Great comments Matt. And you didn’t even mention the fact that that’s also the way Jesus planned it. He didn’t leave a bunch of “spiritual but not religious” lone wolves, He left a Church – a very visible, very protected and still very present One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church!

Bert McCollum July 19, 2011 at 8:04 am

I suppose one can be spiritual without joining any “organization” but I don’t think one can be Christian. Paul spent his life “organizing” churches and Jesus himself said “wherever two or three or more GATHER together in my name I am there.” One of the first things Jesus did was call together a group of disciples, and he addressed all of his teachings to them or to the “crowd”-not to individuals.

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