It struck me yesterday that, with all of the discussion of Spiritual but not Religious present in our culture that it might be interesting to do a quiet day that would address this topic head-on.
- What does it mean to be “Spiritual”?
- What does it mean to be “Religious” (speaking honestly about some of the difficulties here…)
- What does it mean to be Spiritual and Religious?
In my point of view :
Spiritual sans religious means that you are living in a mystical delusion, similar to a mental disorder – you believe what some “voice” tells you to do this and this, that you see this and this; by “voice” I mean sensu largo, such as some mystical author, some guru/monk/priest/healer. Eventually leads in most cases to severe atheism or agnosticism, rarely sometimes leads to a religious revival in an established religion.
“Religious” for Christians. Scrupulously following the Ten Commandments, participation in the Liturgy, Victorian-era morality, hard work ethic, thrift; an emphasis on life praxis more practical than theoretical/spiritual/psychological. Often vain and hypocritical.
Religious and Spiritual : This stance is based on the addition of a psychological and metaphysical dimension to religiousity. An emotional perception of sin and and aestethic perception of church ritual; Being a religious and spiritual man signifies that you are similar to a pendulum rocking between being the spiritual man and being the religious man.
What’s wrong with thrift and hard work? And are no people who are “aesthetic” vain or hypocritical? Nobody who’s “progressive” and “celebrates diversity” send his kids to private schools or moved to the suburbs where there are about 2% non-Whites in their education system? Or joined a “progressive” church that’s still only about 5% non-White and a lot of those are in Honduras or Haiti or in the Inner City?
What about the “Neither Spiritual Nor Religious”? What about the idea of either “hearing voices” or “eating magic wafers and genuflecting in front of it” considered completely mental?
We were just speaking of this today! I think what we really need to do is honestly evaluate why people are beginning to leave the Church with this claim rather than that we should continue to proclaim proudly that we are spiritual and religious–isn’t that pride? And isn’t pride a problem? Doesn’t it, indeed point to the very need to practice what we should be preaching? What we considered was that the Church (and here I am speaking of all denoms) needs to practice listening (obedience) and self-emptying, kenotic spirituality, to be filled with the Holy Spirit just as its members do. The Church, meaning its collective members, is so often self-satisfied and overconfident, but it can become a stumbling block to its members when itself is in need of self-examination and repentance. Does the Church possess the fullness of Truth or a husk of that fullness? A written record, all the right but unused directives, is it hanging on its past rather than its active presence in the NOW? I think it can hinder its own spirituality especially when it is hung up on intellectualizing faith with no Christ in it. Get back to the basics, to the simple practice of faith. I actually appreciate more and more that the Episcopal Church will acknowledge that it can be wrong which is an asset in this effort. The Church must be spiritually based to foster spirituality, the Holy Spirit must move freely among the members.
I don’t want to say too much, but I was glad to see that you have been thinking about this lately.
It’s a good topic. I wouldn’t call it a “Quiet Day,” though. Ideally it would involve a lot of talking! To me “Quiet Day” implies a near-silent retreat w/ just a few short presentations by the retreat leader, and then a period of silence for personal reflections on them. Maybe call it a conversation, a consultation, an exploration . . .