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Is Our Common Ground “Spiritual but not Religious?”

December 23, 2010

Are you with me that a massive upside potential of both organized religion and a general spiritual approach to life (not tied to any religion) is working from common ground toward common goals?

It seems this potential is largely thwarted, so far, by paying more attention to what is not shared in common than what is!  Now, from my many earlier years deeply involved in conservative Christian churches, I am aware that a great many Christians seek to be “spiritual” more than what they think of as “religious.” In fact, many think of Christianity as not a religion, but as “the truth” or “a way of life,” etc.  They tend to believe that all other ways of understanding the Bible or pursuing spirituality than their particular brand of Christianity is mere “religion.”  In this usage, religion is meant as a human system of seeking for God or seeking to please God, whereas true spirituality is seen as merely responding to the revelation and grace of God, received by faith.    

I’ve gone into this in some depth to lead to this, as in my title: Maybe the tension that tends to exist between the majority of Christians and those who may be “former” Christians or never so, but “spiritual,” is at least partially an illusion.  It may be “real,” but much of it is a result of poor communication: not defining one’s terms or concepts well enough.  That is, may it not be that a Christian who would be thought of as “religious” by outsiders is focusing as much on “spirituality” as is the person self-described as “spiritual but not religious?”  

So, one step further: If members of these very large categories (Christians and spiritual-but-not-religious people) are both very spiritually aware and focused, is not that in itself a major piece of common ground… maybe a continent’s worth?

What do you tend to do, or intend to do, to use this common ground to either relate more harmoniously to your “counterparts” or to join them in certain compassionate, practical goals you may share?

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