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Organized Religion

July 10, 2013

A few months ago I started this blog.  Less than a week after I posted my first article, an explosion rocked my town and changed my life forever. On April 17, 2013 the fertilizer plant in West blew up. 15 people were killed, half the town was torn apart, and our world was turned upside down. Since that day, I have been so busy that I have had no time for blogging. Now, almost 3 months later, things are beginning to slow down a little and I finally have time to think and to process what we have been through.

In the next few posts, I hope to share some of the life-changing lessons I have learned and some of the amazing things that God has done. For now, I just want to share with you a quick observation.

I was in a meeting last week that included representatives from the various charities and service groups who were working in West to help us with our recovery. As each person reported on their work over the past ten weeks or so, I noticed something very interesting. We heard reports from a Methodist group, a Catholic group, a Baptist group, a Lutheran group, a Mennonite group, a Church of Christ, and the Salvation Army. No civic groups, no clubs, no private companies, no individuals. The people who came quickly and stayed long enough to really help the people of West were churches and denominational groups. Think about that the next time someone tells you they have a problem with “organized religion”.

The people who talk about “organized religion” usually do so with a snarl and great disdain. It’s popular to bash organized religion and some even consider themselves too spiritual for it. Please remember, if it were not for organized religion we would not have most of our hospitals, universities, orphanages or children’s homes. We also would not have most of the help that we desperately need after disasters. Almost all of that work is done by groups who represent “organized religion”.

The day after the explosion, leaders from my state convention and my association were in West taking care of me and helping me figure out what to do next. They have walked through this whole experience with my church family and me. I cannot imagine how we would have gotten through this without them. For that matter, ask my town how we would have gotten through this disaster without the hard work of the Texas Baptist Men or the Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief Team.

The next time someone complains about “organized religion”, remember how important organized religion is to our health, our education, our families, and our communities. I hope you never go through a disaster, but if you do – I pray that organized religion shows up!

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  1. Margaret Sinkule permalink

    Excellent post, Brother Crowder. I continually Thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed on all of us, for the manner in which the entire Faith Community of West and surrounding areas have come together and united to rebuild our town, and how we endure tragedy and experience the unity that all of our “Organized Religions” have shown during this tragedy, when someone in our Community is having health issues and needs a fundraiser, as well as in times of Celebration and I have faith that we will continue to grow stronger as a Community as a result.
    On a personal note, I would like to Thank you and Lisa and the First Baptist Church in West for their outpouring of support and help in getting so many volunteers, especially the youth who camp out at your Church! What a great way to Minister to them and for them to Minister to our Community, along with the Baptist Men, and I’m sure many Women volunteers who have brought help to our Community.


  2. Troy Lilly permalink

    Absolutely, John. Thank you for spelling it out so succinctly and accurately. If you will allow, I’d like to share your post with some friends who feel this way about “organized religion”.


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