by David Y.
The following blog was written on August 7th, 2007 and originally posted on my MySpace page…
I recently heard this cool version of the Peter Gunn theme song and the lyrics made me think of the day I decided to leave organized religion behind and simply follow Jesus (just about 6 years ago now – as I write this).
Side Note: For those of my friends who just happened in and haven’t seen my page yet and don’t know what I’m talking about… long story, but the short of it is that I spent 30 years of my life doing the religious church thing. Nothing against my ol’ church buddies. I still love ’em and still count them as my brothers and sisters in Jesus. I’m still a follower of Christ and His truth. I still believe the Bible completely. None of that has changed, but I’ve learned (years ago now) that being a part of the Lord’s Church/Family has nothing to do with the religious systems, programs and/or buildings fashioned and maintained by man so I’m not wasting time with those anymore. Like Paul the apostle said about his former days involved with religion, “I count all that stuff as camel crap.” (pardon my paraphrase – hehe)
Philippians 3:8 – Paul uses the word “dung” (Greek word: “skubalon”) meaning: “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, manure, garbage, dregs, of things worthless and detestable, etc.”
Organized religion’s concept of “church” is a thousand miles apart from the concept of Church that Jesus had in mind. In fact, Jesus used a word (Greek: ecclesia) that bears absolutely no connotation to the modern idea of “church”. But since we seem to be stuck with that word today, I use it only in the respect that Scripture truly has in mind. The “Church” (i.e. ecclesia) is simply the Family of God (his “Royal Assembly” if you will), which all who know Him are a part of. It has nothing to do with Sunday meetings or fancy buildings, accountability programs, or membership rosters in a local organization. Scripture presents only one Church and Jesus Himself only spoke of one (and He also said that He’s the one that puts it together, not man). It is because I am a member of His divine Family that I may find “tangible” forms of fellowship with other followers of Jesus in this life (from time to time) as our paths cross, but “weekly meetings” is not the goal, nor does that define the Family (i.e. the Church), but is only a byproduct of relationship with God and His children.
From my perspective, life is too short to waste time playing games with religion. Walking in real life relationship with God and just being a normal guy without all the churchy drama is much more fulfilling. Why sit in a pew staring at the back of some dude’s head for an hour or two every week, bored out of my skull (nodding off to sleep), when I can sleep much better in my own bed? Heck, if I sleep in, I might even have a really cool dream (did you know that most of the accounts in Scripture of God talking to people was through dreams?). Why dress up and go pretend to be religious, when I can instead call up a buddy and go out for breakfast and then maybe just hang out and enjoy the day however and know that God accepts me even if I take off the tie and instead wear shorts and a t-shirt while sippin’ lemonade in the backyard thinking of His goodness? Relationship with God cannot be comprised in a 2 hour static ritual (and it honestly baffles me now as to why people try so hard and spend so much money trying to do just that). His glory is everywhere present and visible in life. His presence is always with me so whatever I engage in tends to involve Him – interactively – in some fashion (even if I’m doing something that isn’t directly spiritually centered, I still often find myself chatting with God in the process). I don’t need an altar to pray, a worship leader to sing, a preacher to tell me what God’s saying, or a ritual to give me something meaningful to do. Sunday is far better when left as simply another day of the week because when God is center stage, every day is spiritual and significant.
To my church friends who haven’t seen me in a while or wonder what happened to Dave and think he left God or whatever you’ve come to presume or been told, I love ya and hope you’ll understand that I’m happy being free in Jesus while just simply living a normal, non-religious (yet spiritually-fulfilling) life and hope you’ll still count me as your bro because, so long as we both have the same heavenly Father, that’s what I am… Just know this… I have no plans to return to the old religious way of life I used to engage in so please don’t waste too much effort trying to convince me otherwise or continually inviting me to church functions and special meetings. If you wanna simply hang out as friends and get to know me better, that’s cool. And, if you want to know more about some of my perspectives on life and faith these days, feel free to check out my other MySpace page: //www.myspace.com/truthforfree or my main site: //truthforfree.com.
And to all my non-Christian friends, granted this little blurb may not mean much to you either, except to say that for someone like myself who spent years in what I often now call “church world” (because it is, indeed, a very different realm of thought and activity from virtually any other environment most are familiar with), I often found it difficult to engage friendships with people outside of my little circle of religious identity (heck, I even found it hard to engage friendships with people outside my denominational affiliation/position); however, it is my genuine faith in God that led me away from those ridiculous isolated boundaries and have enabled me to engage friendships that are genuine and without any religious agenda to try and get you to see everything my way or “get you saved”. The way I see it is, if you get to know me as a friend and have any interest in what I believe, you’ll ask if you want to know and if I consider you a true friend, I’ll do the same of you and we will have a meaningful exchange. It also means I am free to be who I am and share what I believe freely (as are you) without there being any ulterior motive beneath the surface. My expression of faith in God will continue to manifest because that’s really the most significant part of who I am. It’s not a “religion” to me (anymore). It’s as normal as breathing and it is that substance that keeps me happy and completely fulfilled in this life. I think “Christianity” as a “religion” has often presented a pretty foul representation of what God is all about. I think if most people could experience the very thing that fills my heart (which is next to impossible to put into plain words), they would not be so closed to the idea of God… However, I am almost certain they would remain just as closed to the idea of “religion” and “playing church” as I continue to be. I will never go back to that way of life again. It’s phony, it’s arrogant, it’s deceptive, and a total distraction from reality…. ahem, in my opinion.
As I was saying initially though (geesh am I frickin’ long-winded or what), this cool version of Peter Gunn reminded me of the day I woke from my religious slumber and left that system behind once and forever and, as I write this, I’m thinking of all those of you who understand what I’m talking about. Perhaps you’re right there right now and you’re in the process of stepping away or have just done so. This song’s for you.
The Bible also talks about a false church system that poses as a bride, but who is really a harlot (she’s a real “swinger”).
Many true Believers have begun to experience their eyes opening to the truth about the deception and distraction involved in organized religion and, as that began to happen, they tried to alert others in that system to the error… But most people thought they were crazy or simply labeled them rebellious, hurt, or bitter. To put it plainly, they often think we’re a bunch of freaks… and, well, I suppose we are (hehe).
The first line in the song says: “Every night your line is busy, all that buzzing makes me dizzy…” It’s a lot like trying to let other people around you know, but no one seems to listen or get you… And so, many have discovered that there really isn’t much one can do to change the system… and so they close the door and leave that task to God, who alone is the only one who can really open people’s eyes to truth.
For the rest of us, we can close that door and take the hand of our Father in heaven who promises never to leave us or forsake us. Perhaps the only thing that will really convince others anyway is if they see a living testimony of the truth in action within our own lives every day.
With that thought in mind, I’d like to dedicate this song to all those who are done playing church and are now (or have already) walked out those doors to leave “Mother Church” behind in favor of intimate relationship with Father God! And to all the newbie outies… as Morpheus said to Neo in the movie the Matrix, “Welcome to the real world!” Feel free to crank up this tune and wave “bye bye” to that ol’ swinger, “Organized Religion”, and start enjoying a relationship with God that is unfettered by man’s clever little rules, rituals, and formulas. We are free in HIM and the Lord is our Pastor (Psalm 23).
To listen to the song while reading the lyrics, click the player link below…
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Every night your line is busy
All that buzzing makes me dizzy
Couldn’t count on all my fingers
All the dates you had with swingers
I’m gonna kiss you goodbye and go right through that doorway
This is the last time we’ll meet on the street going your way
Don’t look surprised
You know you buttered your bread
So now it’s fair you should stare at the back of my head
If you write a letter to me
My former friend don’t you end with an R.S.V.P.
I’m going bye, bye
Tomorrow I may be splittin’ to Britain or Norway
I’m saying bye, bye
Now that I heard all that jazzing
Whereas I have had it
I’ve had it
I’m through now
With you now
So baby it’s au revouir