An Open Letter to Robert Griffin III

Dear Robert Griffin III,

I hope your knee recovery is going well. Everyone blamed Shanahan for not taking you out during the playoffs, and you’ve certainly showed the world you got guts by playing through so much pain. From what I can tell, it looks like you’re a responsible young man who has had the spotlight on him for some time. I appreciate that you talk about God in your media appearances too. He’s obviously important to you.

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I’m writing to ask you to change your Twitter description. It begins, “I have no Religion [scary r]. I have a relationship with God.” You’re not new in expressing this sentiment. Pastor Mark Driscoll frequently compares Jesus and Religion, and Jefferson Bethke got 20 million views by saying he hated religion. His new book is going to be called “Jesus < Religion.” I’m sure both you and him have your heart in the right place, but I want to think harder about your statement. After all, some would say you are saying, “I don’t like aerodynamics, but I love airplanes.” You can’t separate the two. Religion gives form and structure to our beliefs, a way to pass them down. Your rejection of religion leaves you on shaky ground, prone to individualistic interpretations of your favorite Bible verses (if you believe in the Bible–where do you think that comes from?) and evangelical anarchy. Muslims, Mormons Buddhists, they all claim a relationship with God. Do you really not care which camp you fall into?

I’ll end with a paragraph from a previous post, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

But is that all Christianity is? Should 2,000 years of dying for the faith, feeding hundreds of millions, fighting for justice for the orphan, casting out demons, educating all, building the most beautiful structures in the world, and contributing to scientific advancement be reduced to, “It’s a relationship?” Or has an American individualism perhaps permeated evangelicalism’s thought, a sort of “me and my Jesus” that isn’t Biblical or have much historical precedent before the early 1700s? I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I also have a personal relationship with my friends from middle school and my dog. My relationship to Christ as part of His Church and His Kingdom is far richer than what I believed as an evangelical.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you consider changing your Twitter profile.

-Anthony

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