Religiously Spiritual


Modena cathedral

"Would you describe yourself as spiritual, religious, or something else?"

Not if I can possibly avoid it.

It's amazing how much weight those terms have come to carry as buzzwords today.

In my primary congregation, the term "religious" has come to carry a very negative connotation. A "religious" person is one who is focused on the trappings of church and religion, someone who is caught up in the "thou shalls" and the "thou shalt nots" to the point where they see that as the measure of their spiritual worth. A "spiritual" person, on the other hand, is one whose focus is on relationship and redeeming grace.

On the other hand, in other circles, you run into the idea of someone who is "spiritual but not religious," someone who doesn't subscribe to any organized religion, but believes loosely in some higher power in a way that doesn't actually involve doing anything.

Telling the former that I'm "not religious" tells them that I'm focused purely on my relationship with Christ in a non-legalistic way, telling the latter that I'm "not religious" means that I don't believe in him at all.

I suppose I could say I'm "relational," but, while that lacks the confused connotations of "spiritual" and "religious," that's only because, really, it means nothing at all.

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