Let me share a fairly funny story. I’m a single guy in his 20s. I think I’m still young enough where I’m not looked at as “he’s gay” or “there must be a serious problem”. You get that a lot about singles in their 30s.
Anyway, as you have probably heard, I run a lighting ministry at my church. My crew mainly consists of teenagers. They are adorable. So young. So innocent (most of the time!). But, really, just a great group of kid-uh I mean…young people…no wait…teens. F it. Great group of teens.
Sometimes though, they go a little too far.
Early 2014, as we were working on our church’s Good Friday play (and y’all know that was a traumatic experience for me), one of my girls did something that I couldn’t believe: She signed me up for Christian Mingle, the dating website.
My teens are…they can be bold sometimes. I have my hands full as this was one of the tamer things they’ve done. But yeah, she signed me up for this service. She managed to do this while I was only feet away from her! Noooo, she didn’t wait until she was home or whatever. Her sister and another girl on the crew begin filling out parts of the profile and stuff.
You know how I eventually found out? I got an email from the site thanking me for signing up. I’m looking on my phone’s screen trying to recall when I even bothered with it. I look at the girls, who had just been asking me what type of woman I want and what my hobbies are and I didn’t think much of it. But that email pretty much put me on notice.
I tell her to delete the darn thing. “I forgot the password”. Oh, yeah right. I’m really in a fit right now, looking at her. Curse her disarming smile though.
I go home, intent on deleting the darn account. So, I go and there’s this long process before I can delete the account. After resetting the password and getting back in, they force you to complete parts of the profile before you can access the thing and delete it. I’m like…what?
Don’t worry, this is the part where I lead into my story for this post. One of the things they ask you is what denomination you are part of. It just so happens the church I am a part of is non-denominational. But, that drop down list exposed me to a LOT more denominations than I thought there were.
Fun fact: Ever since she signed me up and I deleted the profile, I’ve gotten emails from eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Black People Meet, Match, and more dating sites. To this day they come waltzing in the inbox. Check out the hotties! Looks like somebody’s info was sold. Perfect.
Back to the denominations. My first thought was: How are this many? I looked at the names of some. It seems like some denominations have denominations themselves. My mind was spinning.
As time went on, I realized that we really got out of hand. As I contemplated these denominations, I saw how, whether on purpose or not, we are essentially creating our own God.
I mean, each denomination sees God differently, or does things differently in worship. Even the day of the week and the argument of which day is the true Sabbath causes rift.
I had to seriously consider this. Were we, as a people, creating our own God?
People have different points of view and interpretations. I completely understand that. I could understand that for some of the denominations. I really can. But, how many of this stuff is “I don’t like this version of God. I’ll make my own or find another”?
That’s the problem.
God is God. Granted, He’s complicated. We’ll never truly understand Him so of course there are plenty of ways to look at Him. I think our ultimate problem is we want answers when there really are no answers.
I think that’s what these denominations serve for. Instead of just agreeing that some things will never be truly understood by anybody, we smack each other in the face with “No, God is like this”. As if we really know. C’mon.
I peek into that reasoning and it baffles me because Jesus honestly doesn’t care about it. I always stand on John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
We are supposed to believe in Him. That’s our base. If we lose that, we’re a religion. Darn it.
I was surprised at how many denominations I saw on that list and it worried me. A house divided cannot stand, right? If we can’t come closer to agreement and unity, how can we expect people to follow us? They don’t even know what the heck they’re following! You kidding me?
If someone wanted to accept Jesus, are we a people who will say, “well, before you accept Him, do you know which denomination you want to be a part of”? Imagine this. The guy is given this large book of the denominations and descriptions and stuff. He has to sit and read through it all before accepting Jesus.
But hold on, if you pick certain ones, other Christians will not like you much. Give me a break! Is that what Jesus wanted?
“Okay, I want you to tell people about me. But, make sure they sign up for the denomination first before they join the club.” The f is that!?
Is that what we’ve become? I ask again: Have we created our own God? “This God wants us to meet on Saturday” “This God prefers this type of music” “This God meant to say this” Shoot, “this Bible has pieces that aren’t in all of the other Bibles”. Stop it.
There needs to be some sort of balance. I mean, I prefer no denominations. But, I get it. People are too consumed with it. My thing is, I bet a lot of these denominations can disappear. They are not needed.
Okay, so why do we get worked up with these denominations? I’ve seen it and heard about it. I guess we should be careful. When we get to the gates, is Jesus going to ask us “What denomination where you? Oh, well you’ll be in section 98 (like a freaking parking lot of an amusement park!!!!). Enjoy heaven!” Is that how heaven works? Is one section better than another? What is going on here?
I said it earlier, I’m willing to bet there are plenty of denomination hoppers out there. “I like this God better. He understands me more”.
Hold on. There is one word in that sentence that really opens the eyes. Read it again.
The word is “Me”. But, is it really about me? Is it REALLY? Have we made God in our own image? WHAT!? Did I just ask that? Have we…haha…have we made God in our own image?
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. Sorry to burst your bubble. You can’t go into a little shop like you would with your car and say “I want this on it.” Doesn’t work with God. He only comes in one package and the kicker is that this is the perfect package. It doesn’t get better than that.
So then, why do we try to change perfection? We ironically strive for it in life, but, when it’s presented to us, we reject it. Make sense? Of course not, unless we never really want perfection. Maybe all we want is something special to us. Perfect to us.
Yet, again, there is a line. We had better be careful about whose image is whose.
God made many different people. This is why we’re allowed to be different. But there is only one God. He is the only one of His kind because He’s the only one of His kind. There is nobody like Him because no one can come close to being compared to Him. Like, we as people are one of a kind, but we can be compared to others because we’re one of a kind. One of a group. God is one because He’s the only one.
We can’t twist it and make multiple Gods with different personalities and standards. But that’s what we do.
We have to stop this, but we won’t. Did you think this was going to end on a fairy tale ending, boo? Once we’re all at the throne, if God says “denominations starting with the letter C need to meet me in my office”, I’ll apologize for this post. Okay? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.
But then…I guess there’s a denomination that is absolutely sure it matters.
I don’t tell people I’m a Christian anymore. It’s too complicated. I believe in Jesus. That’s what I tell people because that’s all that matters. It’s not religion. It’s a relationship. That’s what I tell people. Don’t stress about the denominations. I’m sick thinking that the denominations are why people don’t come to Christ. What if that were a fact? Would we try to do something about it, or will it be “I guess he’s not gonna make it”?
Let’s wrap this up.
I guess it’s okay…acceptable…fine…with having all of these denominations. Just make sure you’re not looking for the “right God”.