Christian club loves Jesus, not religion

The Rock, a Christian band, plays at Zeke’s in Ames.

Thane Himes

The Rock, a student branch of Stonebrook Church, believes religion is a lie. But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in God.

The group meets one Thursday a month at Zeke’s, and also meets in small groups more frequently. While the large group meeting is essentially a nontraditional, informal church service, the small group meetings focus on fellowship, communion, teaching and prayer.

“We try to model ourselves after Acts 2:42,” said Brian Peck, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and president of The Rock.

The Rock’s members believe in simply having a good relationship with God, and any other traditions that stem purely from religion are left aside.

“Religion often has rules just for rules’ sake,” said Paul Johnson, ISU alumnus with a bachelor’s in computer science and pastor for the large group service. “They’re not pushing God, they’re pushing religion.”

While the traditions of religion aren’t practiced, The Rock’s faith in God is unwavering.

“Thank you for your sacrifice, God,” said Jacob Moss, lead vocalist of The Rock’s band, which plays at the large group service. “Because of that, I can sing tonight.”

Johnson said that too often, religion turns one’s faith into a points system. The Bible contains verses in which lust is said to be equivalent to adultery, and anger to murder.

“Can anyone truly live up to those things?” Johnson said. “You’re basically sinning every second, if that’s the standard. You deserve hell for that?”

Johnson said one can never say, “God, I’ve followed all your rules.” He, like all Christians, believes Jesus’ death pays the price for all mankind’s sins.

Johnson said it’s human nature to rationalize behavior.

“So many times, people start thinking, ‘For you, it’s wrong. For me, it’s OK,'” Johnson said. “If people make the rules, somebody always gets marginalized. I truly believe we need to base it on something other than ourselves.”

“The rules we follow are the ones that get us right with God,” said Greg Wheelock, another member of The Rock. “God calls us to have a relationship with him. That’s what we’re about.”