Friday, March 12, 2010

F5: religious or spiritual?

From Mompriest over at the RevGals:
Yesterday I attended a led conference by Diana Butler Bass. She is presenting new ideas on the state of the church and why there is hope for Christianity. One of her premises is a Newsweek/Washington Post poll from 2005 that states that 55% of the people in this country describe themselves as religious AND spiritual.

Without going into detail about her understandings of religious and spiritual (you may want to attend one of her conferences, if you can) share with us five thoughts ideas or practices that you consider to be "religious." Then share with us five thoughts, ideas, or practices that you consider to be "spiritual."

For example one thought about religion might be that it is "salvation" Or an idea about religion might be that it it is an "institution" and a religious practice might be "going to church." An example of spiritual thought might be a phrase from a poem, a spiritual idea might be the inspiration for a piece of art and a spiritual practice might be meditation.

So, five thoughts, ideas, or practices that are religious....and then five thoughts, ideas or practices that are spiritual. OR are they the same thing to you?

Wow, that's kind of tough. I'm inclined to say that spirituality is what we have in our relationships with God and with others. Religion, on the other hand, is the structure (or lack thereof) that we put around it. For me the words are sort of value-neutral, which I know they are not to many.
So practices can go both ways, I guess, and in part that's due to what we bring to it. For me, giving is a spiritual practice, as is church attendance. I'm told that's not so much true for some people. :)
I find the stats about perceived "spirituality" in our culture very encouraging (75%-90%, depending on where you look), but I think the institutional Church is a little slow to learn effective ways to communicate the spiritual life we know. We keep trying, though.


  1. Religion as structure sums it up well.

  2. so true that our communication is lacking... but we're trying!!

    thinking of the conference, googled it and it looks interesting... but far!

  3. Well played - thanks for your thoughtful responses....

  4. I often think that my role as a priest is to translate the intangible spiritual into tangible religious constructs. Of course once you do that what is risked is limited the spiritual. Just a rambling thought!

  5. Succinct and concise! Thank you


Due to an increasing number of spam comments, I've had to resort to comment moderation. I don't plan to delete any comments that aren't spam, but be nice anyway. My family reads this blog.