Let’s Be Spiritual, Not Religious

"Virgin of Humility" by Stefano di Sassetta (1392-1450)I think maybe we need to be spiritual but not religious. I say this as a deeply religious person. I keep the daily office, praying every morning, reading scriptures and meditating, and I worship in community at least twice a week. And yet, I see so much of our religion turned into a product or a set of promises that cannot be kept. Religion can’t seem to stop from promising certainty and satisfaction. I remember a billboard several years ago advertising a Seattle megachurch that boldly proclaimed, “Black and white answers in a grey world.”

Spiritual experiences are filled with wonder and mystery. When we touch upon the Holy, we experience awe and wonder, not certainty or satisfaction. A mundane moment becomes sacred when we become aware of our connectedness with all of creation. A simple encounter with another person becomes sacred when we recognize their humanity and, in that moment, glimpse the image of God in each of us.

Religion tends to turn the Holy into a product. The promise of religion is that by believing the right things, living by the right morals or laws, and worshiping the right God we will be fulfilled or saved from the challenges and ugliness of life. But what religion actually has to offer is far more humble and more valuable.

What we really have to offer one another in our religious organizations is the support, friendship, and even forgiveness we need to embrace life. By embracing life, we discover the beauty of God’s creation. We are reminded of the deep connections we all share, as we humbly offer compassion, forgiveness, and friendship.

Yours in Christ,

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