We Are Family
Spiritual Maturity | Part 5 of 6
“I’m spiritual but not religious.”
What do people mean by that statement? Some are probably avoiding official—organized—religion. Others may reject the faith they once belonged to because they are uncomfortable with particular teachings. Still others may have been hurt by Church leaders, teachers, friends, or family members who are religious.
It is true that some religious folks have harmed people. When those connected with God and with the Church hurt others, their actions reflect upon the Church and God. This reality is the subject of one of Jesus’ hardest sayings: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6).
Let’s remember this too though: our actions for justice, our efforts to heal, our struggle for reconciliation, and our hard work to show real concern and care, especially for those who are hurt, are powerful. Our failures are not the final word. The grace of God is more powerful than our sins. Life is the final word, and the resurrected life that overcomes sin and death is what the Word of God offers us.
So what does resurrected life look like in the faith community established by Christ?
Spiritual but Not Religious
“I’m spiritual…” What does that mean? Whether our path has been simple or complicated, dull or interesting, we have been inspired by friends, moved by poets and teachers, and blessed with a sense of wonder. Many have stood at the edge of breaking waves, looking out at a seemingly endless body of water. The Psalmist prays, “How varied are your works, Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small” (104:24–25). Nature, with so much that is beautiful, inspires awe. Something deep inside us resonates with creation because we are made in the image of the Creator. Something in each of us reaches beyond ourselves. Wisdom calls us to embrace life in communion with all God’s people.
It is not surprising, then, that even when organized religion seems problematic, people still crave the spiritual. But how is this choice about communion with God and others?