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Faith, religion and church

Faith, religion and church

Something to read

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

- James 1: 26-27.

Something to think about

Church is getting a hard time in the Western world these days. Research in the UK consistently shows that while about two-thirds of adults regard themselves as Christian, they want to practice their faith without submitting to the practices of the Church.

In their opinion, church is worthless. And a lot of that has come from things that have been said by those who lead and shape church life.

Someone has said that the only really interesting thing about church is God. If only we could keep what lies deepest in the heart and mind of God at the centre of our shared life as Christians, we would not create the worthless religiosity that people have grown so tired of.

James’ formula is clear: watch what you say, take care of the poorest and most vulnerable, and guard your heart from the pollution of self-seeking and self-gratification all around you. Now that’s what I call a church!

Something to do

Do an audit of how you spend your time in the light of James’s formula, what changes could you make to get the balance right?

Something to pray

Lord, help me to do your work in the world, whilst watching my heart so that it does not get contaminated in the process. 

Today's contributor is Reverend Kate Tuckett, former Church Resources Manager for Christian Aid, now the vicar of St Alban North Harrow, Diocese of London at the time of writing.