Religious Attributes


Religion Divides


Denominations Empires


It is Finished


Clergy & Laity


Performance - Pleasing an Audience

"A guidebook to accessing the life of God

Without being sidetracked by religious tradition."

Charles Pinkney

Author's Brief Testimony

The Trouble with Religion

Attributes of Religion


The Clergy Laity Doctrine

Denominational Empires

2"It is finished" What was finished?

Religion Essays Indexed

Behaviors of the Pharisees

Religion, Jeremiah's Stale Cisterns

Religion: A dividing force

Religious, emulated behaviors

Religion's Focus on Performance

Looking at Externals

Terms that have become Religious

Vines, True Vines and Others

It takes a lot of time and study to understand the Scriptures, we call The Holy Bible. Is it history or fable? Is it the word of God and relevant to life in the 21st Century? Is it infallible truth or not? It is only after we have studied the Bible carefully with the intent to  understand that we begin to glimpse its consistency  and simplicity. It has been called many things, such as the "Makers users manual,"  "A love letter from God," "A book that prophetically foretells things to come."  Theologians dig into the study of Scripture from a variety of motives and at times leave with a lot of knowledge but little understanding.
The apostle Paul who was highly educated and religiously situated proclaimed that scholarship, philosophy and theology are a pathway that does not lead to knowing God. Human knowlege is not Spiritual knowledge. Truth and wisdom is a Spiritually derived gift. Spiritual life is outside of religion. For it is only God himself who through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to impart to human beings the necessary understanding and revelation of the Mysteries of God.
(Read 1Corinthians Ch.1&2)


**Schisms and division in the body of Christ from denominational boundaries

Schism and division result from the designation of clergy and the subordinate laity

Some form of priesthood remains as the controlling voice in fellowship

Human headship a heirarchy of authority controls and imposes obligations

Formalistic rituals or orders of service prohibit God's interacting

Religious services become a form of performance or entertainment

Congregations (the laity) undervalued and serve mostly to support the institution

The members of congregations are identified as "sheep" to be exploited

institution church is focused primarily on maintenance; continuance and growth

Religious traditions borrow worldly values and methodology

The doctrines of institutional Christianity may be at variance with scripture

All individual believers are not expected to grow, mature and assume leadership

Traditional religious practices lack a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.

**Although Christianity is the outgrowth and fulfillment of

Judaic roots there is little  acknowledgment of these foundations

By Charles


An important caveat:
There are degrees of spirituality and expression of heart-felt faith in the traditional churches today. People are faithful to these institutions that have sustained values that have laid the moral and social foundations of our nation. There has been a noble and historic inheritance of Christian Churches in America and other countries. Although there is a disturbing tendency today for institutional churches to depart from their roots allowing the tenets of worldly thought and values to enter in.

God, can and does find His way into the heart of people within churches who worship in more formal, liturgical ways. To the extent that the Word is taught and valued and the true worship of God is encouraged there is fruitfulness. The principle emphasis of these writings is that there is more, more, always more to be known and to be experienced. And these experiences are entirely consistent with apostolic teachings. The more freedom and liberty is given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual growth will be "experienced" when those believers gather together.

I will focus upon the negative attributes of the Religious paradigm in these writings which impact faith and spiritual growth in negative ways. There are doctrines and practices that can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the Kingdom of God or the greatest gift of God, salvation.

Performance - Pleasing an Audience
Performance centers on pleasing a human audience,
but - - is God impressed?

Religion Expressed in Personal Performance
(A Detriment of Religion

Most every church today focuses upon certain kinds of performance. Preachers learn or are taught how to build an audience by successful performance. Performance success centers on pleasing an audience. 
We see preachers performing; singers performing; worshippers performing.  But do we try to please man before they please God?  If we can perform well enough we can probably become popular. If we perform well enough we can probably grow the church.

Worship should never become confused with  performance, for worship is a private communication to God. It is a communication of the heart. It is not for human hearing and approval but for  God's hearing and approval.  Likewise preaching should not be a performance, but speaking the mind of Christ to persons in  need edification.  A man of God yielded to the Spirit, and spiritually anointed may well appear dramatic, persuasive and captivating but the intentions are never for self aggrandizement. By the same  token even silence or brokenness speaks powerfully through God but is rarely acceptable as a manner of human eloquence.

Religious performance is born out of programmatic ritual 

Activities which foster church growth evolve into people-attracting programs. The program for a given church service is typically presented  as "an order  of worship" but in reality is only an "order of performance."

In traditional church services, the parts of a worship service, whether done by one person or several, can be viewed as either sacramental or performance. If the rituals are sacramental it does not matter too much whether the details are performed well or not. Ritual is what it is. It stands for various symbolic elements  from beginning to end. It is very hard to introduce any personality or interpretation into it. Ritual may be as relevant as we wish it to be. In my view, ritual  is a kind of counterfeit substituting priestly rites for revelation.

Ritualism in many non Christian religions bears a strong relationship to shamanism. Ritualism is actually a magic rite. In it God or 'gods' are supposed invoked or appeased. In highly stylistic ceremonies the congregation is looking and watching. The focus is outward or earthward, toward worldly forms. Though ritual and iconography can reveal deep spiritual meanings, ritualistic forms are not required to please God.

There are other kinds of worship services in particular those that protestant denominations follow, that are somewhat less sacramental. In such worship services every part of the order of service hinges on some kind of performance. Those congregations who have a more spiritual awareness stress less of performance and more the inner spiritual message. Part by part the elements of the Sunday or Sabbath ritual unfold. The congregation enjoys, approves or appreciates, either a little or a lot. If the choir sings well it is a good performance. If the soloist  does a special number all of the congregation (audience) carefully scrutinizes every aspect of the performance. Most often it is far below professional standards but we tolerate sub-par because church does not normally have quality that approaches professional quality available (unless they are a very affluent church who can pay professionals.) It is, of course, the dream of the  mega-churches to have all performances of professional quality.

From the opening prelude to the closing of the recessional with the organ pulling out all stops, the church completes another program; another religious ritual. The performers have performed upon their respective stages, the audience has performed their appropriate role as spectator' in their pews.

The less spiritual the church, the more the emphasis remains upon performance and show. The more the demand for performance the greater the performance pressure. The greater the self awareness, the less the ability to sense God in the parts. Conversely the more spiritual the ministry the less there is a sense that was performed. A transparent minister is God conscious and less self conscious.

What should the purpose be of Christians coming together? I believe it is first to form the community of God in the bond of fellowship (koinonia.) The called out ones who are in fact the family of God. These are also the Body of Christ. Second this family will anticipate and solicit God's manifestation among them through prayer, praise, and worship. We see an attempt or a form of this in the construction of many church "worship services". They only thing lacking is the participation and koinonia of the members who know that they are each and all partakers and participants in this worship. God wishes to reveal his glory but this will not occur with our focus on some single leader or performer. Each member is of equal importance in bringing in God's presence and interaction with His people.

The Gospel Without Religion
Charles Pinkney

1995 - 2017

"Knowledge makes arrogant, love edifies."

Charles Pinkney