Losing My Religion

While in a truck stop the other day, a song from the past that I have always detested played over the muzak. I’m not sure I’ve ever understood the song or even really listened to it much. The line that has always bothered me is;

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it

R.E.M. ‘Losing My Religion’ 1991

But when I heard it yesterday, I realized that is exactly what God wants me to do, lose MY religion.

re·li·gion – noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

All the trappings of religion get in the way of just loving, and being loved by, God. To the religious leaders of His day, Jesus said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV). To another leader who was trying to justify himself and make sure hadn’t missed a rule, Jesus said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

I want to think that following a list of rules brings me closer to God. It’s easy to measure my progress if I have a checklist to check off. I like hard and fast do this, don’t do that. And while lists and rules may be helpful at times to bring a sense of order to the amorphous command of ‘Love God and your neighbor’, it becomes way too easy to stop at the end of the list and think I’ve done my best.


The main thing I’ve learned over my journey the last six months is that it’s not about action, it’s about my heart. I can do all the right things and have a heart as cold as stone. I find it much harder to have a heart that is tuned into God and still want to behave badly. When I am spending time and energy focused on God, I tend to see that the right actions flow naturally from my heart. So, it’s not about my religion and my rules and trying to please God. It’s about being in touch with Him and learning to think and feel in the way He does. It’s about love.


He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

2 thoughts on “Losing My Religion

  1. Very good John.  God Bless your journey.

      Gordon Brown 541-430-0768 kgbrown08@yahoo.com

    >________________________________ > From: The Trucking Monk >To: kgbrown08@yahoo.com >Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 7:52 PM >Subject: [New post] Losing My Religion > > > > WordPress.com >The Trucking Monk posted: “While in a truck stop the other day, a song from the past that I have always detested played over the muzak. I’m not sure I’ve ever understood the song or even really listened to it much. The line that has always bothered me is; That’s me in the corner” >

  2. That song offended me too until I found out that “losing your religion” had nothing to do with faith. It’s a country colloquialism that means something like “being at your wit’s end”.

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