Spiritual or Religious

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of the Unity Movement, says that every person should reason out their own religion. Furthermore, he states, “If he adopts the religion which another has formulated, he is memorizing instead of unfolding from within.”

An ever increasing number of individuals are identifying themselves as spiritual and decidedly not religious. As people leave the churches or make a concerted effort to avoid them, we should examine their decision or inclination to do so. If you are an active participant in a church or religious organization, the exodus could be challenging or even frightening to you. It is certainly frightening to the religious leaders that see the backsides of the congregants who are abandoning their ship or the stacks of welcome packets that are never placed in the hands of first time visitors. The responses of the churches to the exodus are interesting, but often they are no more than enticements to come and entertainments to lure them back again.

The first question that I want to pose to you, dear heart, is this, “Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual?” Diana Butler Bass presented a table in her book, “Christianity After Religion,” that included the common responses of individuals who attended her lectures. They were asked to play a game of word association. They were asked to associate words that came to their mind when they heard the word religious or spiritual. She notes that the responses from her various audiences were always similar. Her list is below.

SPIRITUAL                          RELIGIOUS

experience                         institution
connection                         organization
transcendence                  rules
searching                          order
intuition                              dogma
prayer                                 authority
meditation                         beliefs
nature                                 buildings
energy                                 structure
open                                    defined
wisdom                               principles
Inner life                            hierarchy
12-steps                              orthodoxy
inclusive                              boundaries
doubt                                  certainty

 

Please feel free to comment, question, and offer up your own word association.

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