More and more I hear of someone telling me that they are spiritual, but not religious. In asking for more information about this distinction I find that when one is spiritual that they are open and interested and engaged in the inner life and the working of God or one’s higher power. The distinction then leads to one not being “religious” or not being part of a religious organization.
The more I have reflected on this distinction the more trouble I have with it. It appears to me like one who loves to cook but does not host parties, nor work in a restaurant, nor share this gift. Or one who is inclined to care for, teach and nurture children, but is not part of a school, nor entrusted with children. Bringing one’s gift’s into relationship with the larger community is very important.
The reciprocal is also interesting to me, and I find it equally troubling. When one is engaged in organized religion and yet is not open spiritually it seems to me like one in a relationship who finds it tedious or a teacher who simply is working towards a retirement.
I understand that organized religion, like education, politics, health care or other organized activities of life, has a long history of abuse and manipulation. But then organized religion, as well as these other ventures in life, have a long history of great people and efforts that have bettered our common life. Where are we going to stand, what are we going to be working towards?