Spiritual versus Religious

Spiritual versus Religious

If you were to ask me who I would rather spend an evening with—-my spiritual friends or my religious friends, I
would definitely  chose the spiritual ones (ideally it shouldn’t be a contradiction in terms).

Immediately, one of my favorite movies, Chocolat comes to mind. The refreshing newcomers in the village, Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, show more altruistic love than the conventional church locals.

Recently, when a friend confided that she didn’t like religious people. I was able to say, “You’d get along great with Jesus, He didn’t like religious people either.”

In Christianity Beyond Religion, Diana Butler Bass writes that while spirituality embodies a longing for an authentic experience with God, religion is often considered a nominal affirmation of creeds. Doctrines are essential, but they can’t be worshipped. While the Hebrew root for “belief” connotes giving one’s heart to, over the centuries it has come to have a different meaning. As rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “God is greater than religion; ​faith is greater than dogma.”

Generation x’ers and millennials who have rejected organized religion remain spiritual. Rather than accessing the  “what” of faith, they see the value of “how”– how to actuate faith to bring about the  flourishing of communities. Bass believes this awakening of the spirit– also prevalent in churches– can lead to a renewal of Christianity from within.

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