Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Spiritual And Religious
When someone discovers that I'm an ordained minister they often say something like, "I don't go to church, but I'm very spiritual." Their need to justify why they don't go to church probably has to do with guilt. Or, maybe they just feel awkward talking to a minister and feel the need to say something.
Yet, a growing number of people consider themselves "spiritual, but not religious." This phrase seems to mean that they don't participate in organized religion (i.e. attending worship services), but still follow a spiritual path.
I want to affirm anyone who is a spiritual seeker. Living a spiritual life is a very good thing. Spirituality is most often practiced privately while we're alone. Prayer, meditation, contemplation are primarily done individually, even if you're in a group.
Religion, however, has a strong communal dimension. The heart of religion is worship, which is done in a community. Also, religion provides an outlet for helping and serving others.
I think spirituality and religion can compliment each other. We need the individual inspiration and connection that spirituality offers. We also need a community to foster spiritual growth and to provide opportunities for serving others. As humans, we are individuals, but individuals-in-relationship. We can be spiritual and religious.