In the first part, I talked about “Christianity is not a religion” Today then, I will talk about the second part. “It’s a relationship”
What do we imply when we say “it’s a relationship”? We can have lots and lots of different relationships. You get give-and-take relationships where both parties benefit. You get competition relationships where both parties compete. You get parasitic relationships which benefit one party and the other is harmed. Neutral relationships where both parties are relatively unaffected. Commensality relationships where one party profits and the other party is unchanged. Survival relationships where partners feel like they can’t make it on their own. Confirmation relationships where a person may seek another’s validation. Healing relationships where a person needs caring after a period of loss and struggle. Investigational relationships to see what happens. Avoidance relationships where a person avoid deep intimacy. Leisure relationships for fun and games.
We have close relationships, long-term relationships, short-term relationships, intimate relationships, sexual relationships, strong relationships, weak relationships, contractual relationships, financial relationship, love-hate relationships, customer relationships, working relationships, mentoring relationships, healthy(unhealthy) relationships, abusive relationships.
We even talk about the relationships between countries eg. To say that there is a relationship between the US and Britain differs from the relationship between the US and Russia. I can have a relationship with my car(Please! Please, start…. I’ll wash you every Saterday). We can even have a relationship with an historical situation.
We can establish a relationship. We can build that relationship. We can maintain the relationship. We can examine what this relationship means. We can explore the relationship.
Characteristics of healthy relationships are respect, listening, valuing each other, trust and support, honesty, clear boundaries, communicating openly and truthfully, fairness, commitment, an open mind/open heart, compassion, fun, warmth, joy and humor. Unhealthy relationships are more viewed as a means of meeting one’s needs for love, attention, and security rather than a shared experience.
Nearly everything stands in relationship with another. But relationships differ. Grown-ups have different type of relationships, than children. A father’s relationship with his son is different than with his daughter. The relationship between a mother and her daughter differs from the one the mother has with her own mother. One family can have complex relationships between the individuals that make up that family.
If we are busy with religion, we have a relationship with the rules. Most people busy with religion have a relationship with a God that simply does not exist. How does our relationship look like, NOT what is it supposed to look like. What kind of relationship do we have with our creator? Are we parasites? We know that God went all the way and did everything needed for us to have a relationship with Him. Do we choose the religious relationship that ignores what He did and believe that we can make it on our own?
Yes, we have a relationship with God. But saying that there is a relationship fools us into a security that we simply cannot afford. What kind of a relationship do we have? Subsequently, when we say it is a relationship, perhaps we should define what we have. How does your relationship with Jesus materialize in your everyday life? Is it a shared experience?
It is simply not enough to say “Christianity is a relationship.” We have to come to a place where we say “It’s a relationship where this and this is currently happening in my life. Or perhaps there is a better word we can use for relationship. I’ll talk more about that in part 3.