Monday, December 22, 2008

A Response to Nathalie.

Nathalie asked if spirituality necessarily involved God. An excellent question.

We beat that question around quite a bit in seminary. We had one prof who discouraged us from defining spirituality in God-terms because it wasn't inclusive enough. Such a refined definition leaves out those who don't believe in God (or god, or goddess, or whom/whatever).

As a Christian, I have to say, Yes, spirituality needs to have God involved by virtue of the word itself. Spirituality, in a Christian sense, means connecting with the God who is spirit, the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of the Risen Jesus who is making all things new, the Spirit who calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy.

But, of course, this is a specifically Christian answer. Our Jewish friends (a shout out to the Jews celebrating Hannukah today. Have eight GREAT nights!) might answer the question differently, as would any atheist. Most religions (or folks who think about religion or faith) would have their own answer.

I guess it comes down to what the “spirit” is in “spirituality.” Is it God's spirit? The human spirit? The spirit of the age?

Once that is defined then we can figure out how/if God fits in.

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