Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jesus, Religion, Spirituality And The Search For Truth

   It's been a long and busy, yet satisfying day at work. I'll be heading off to cook dinner in a few minutes and then settle down to do some study on the background of the apostle Paul for my next post on the book of Romans. While I was relaxing after getting home after work, I had remembered a YouTube video that had caught worldwide attention on the Internet at the beginning of this year, and wanted to watch it again. Here is Jefferson Bethke's poem titled "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus", delivered in the style known as "Spoken Word". If you decide to watch it, please remember that you can view it in full 1080p HD!

   I didn't get around to seeing this video till almost a month or more after its release. In a television interview with Jefferson Bethke on GBTV's "For The Record" [1] (also available on YouTube), it was reported that this video was second on the list of the top 100 viral videos to be seen around the globe amongst all the video content posted on the Internet to date. "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus" has been viewed in excess of 20 million times to date, spawned several responses in Spoken Word format from Muslims [2], Roman Catholics [3], Atheists, and many other quarters, and generated plenty of debate and conversation on the topic of Jesus, religion, faith, grace and the Gospel. Nonetheless, I was still surprised to see it being discussed by none other than Ravi Zacharias in an interview with Shawn McEvoy, the Managing Director of the Christian website, on Dr. Zacharias' latest book "Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth In An Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality". Here is the video of that discussion:

   I watched these videos today because of their connection with some of the topics discussed in Paul's letter to the church in Rome - sin, religion, the law and rules, the cross, salvation, justification, grace, and the saving, transforming power of the gospel. These are some of the most important questions that a human being in search of truth will encounter and wrestle with. I want to think through these in great detail for myself as I study the epistle to the Romans. 

   It is clear that Jefferson Bethke has wrestled with these questions himself in his own life, as he makes clear in this video and others. He recites his history as a 22-year old who was conceived out-of-wedlock, abandoned by his father, brought up in the church and presenting the neat facade of a Christian who attended church on Sunday, while struggling with pornography, drink and sex on the sidelines during the rest of the week. Despite the differences people may have with some of his assertions, it is clear that the power of the true Gospel has met him head on, and he cannot but help talk about it and make much of Jesus.

   And with the head-on collision with the Gospel in my life as well, I can't help it either.

Grace and peace to you,
- The Wisdom Seeker

[1] GBTV's For The Record Inteviews Star of "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus"
[2] Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus (Muslim Response)
[3] Why I Love Religion, And Love Jesus (Roman Catholic Response)