Saturday, December 04, 2004

"Religion" not "spirituality"

CBC's Tapesty is airing an intervew with Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau who say their writing is for people made anxious by churches, embarrassed to be caught in the spirituality section of the bookstore, people who are hostile, yet drawn to talk of God.

The whole "religion" vs "spirituality" thing has me confused. I know that many folks like "spirituality" because it implies freedom from the rigid structures found in traditional faith.

But I wonder if such freedom comes with too high a price. For me, being part of a historic faith rejoices in the continuity of a message that has been passed down through the ages. I feel clothed in history, surrounded by saints, and affirmed by time.

I find that many people who find "spirituality" outside of a historic faith find themselves looking in the mirror calling the reflection "God."

2 comments:

Saheli said...

Your point is well taken, but remember that people are as much processes as objects to be labeled. A lot of the people I know who describe themselves as "spiritual" have simply not found such a traditional method of relating to God that resonates with them. It's a way of saying they're "looking" without inviting anyone and everyone to try and recruit them. Today's spiritualist may very well be tomorrow's Presbyterian Minister or Orthodox Buddhist monk.

Kevin said...

Thanks for that. I too often forget that many folks who are searching for a meaningful encounter with God haven't the vocabulary to adequately describe what they are looking for.