Last week I drove to southwest Oklahoma to do an interview about a rodeo Bible camp. I love to get to go to Oklahoma, and I love rodeo, so it was a win-win situation. Driving home from the meeting I had plenty of time to think. One thing the guy I interviewed said really stuck with me. “We try not to scare them with Hell.” I couldn’t agree more. I’d probably be more into organized religion hadn’t it been for someone like Mr. Taylor.
Growing up I attended a Lutheran church with my family. For as long as I can remember, I didn’t like going to church. It wasn’t what they were teaching, but how they were teaching it. As a kid we were taught right from wrong by our parents, but also had to obey the religion we were being taught. I really didn’t like that. By the time I was in high school and later college, church became very unappealing. Our pastor was black and white. there was no middle ground with him. You were either good or bad an if you were the latter, you were going straight to hell. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. Once he said there were no animals in heaven. I had a tough time believing all of God’s creatures weren’t included in the ever after.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend other churches and find my self comparing those to my childhood church. One thing remains clear, you don’t have to go to church to believe in God. I believe in God, and often pray. I pray for my family, friends and guidance through difficult situations. And I believe God has helped me in those times of need.
I ran across this quote some time ago, “Cowboy Logic: “Going to church makes you a Christian about as much as watching a rodeo makes you a cowboy.” I believe it’s totally appropriate to my feelings about organized religion. I’ve heard religion and politics referred to as things you don’t talk about in polite company. I agree with that. No two people will agree on either subject and it will not be a pleasant experience if they do disagree. However people can agree to disagree.