Tag Archives: community

Spiritual But Not Religious?

 

In our country today, there is a large group of people who declare that they are “spiritual but not religious”.

Over the last few years, I have endeavoured to understand  this category.  When I question those who are spiritual but not religious, they tell me that they do believe in a power, a source of all that is, that is bigger than anything we humans can muster.  They add that they are just not interested in attending church or following any religious traditions. They also tell me that they certainly believe in caring for others. I know that to be true because I have experienced them as generous, caring, loving responsible citizens.

As we continued to talk,  I have learned that the spiritually but not religious, feel they might need the church for weddings, and maybe funerals.  Often they enjoy yoga, or pickle ball, or musical presentations, or quilting or other activities that are held in the church, Occasionally, they end up volunteering in a church sponsored program like the local food bank, or children’s program. My conclusion has been that those who are spiritual and not religious usually see the church building, minister and congregation minister as useful.

This morning, I’m aware that this assumption that the church, supported and manned by other people, will continue to be there even unto the end of the age, may one day be false. As Christians we know that our precious church family, requires our time, our commitment, our gifts. We know God is the foundation of our church family, and yet God is not limited to churches. God already works all over the earth. As our population ages, church workers are becoming fewer and fewer. Without the help of the broader community, your local huch may disappear, as many have over the last few years.

Therefore, if the spiritual but not religious want the presence of “the church” in their community, now is the time to help, with their, time, talents and even their dollars.

Our God is a God of relationships. Jesus gathered a group of friends around him. He was not a solitary person. He knew the support, and joy that comes when a purpose is shared, when we weep together, and when we celebrate together. We, Spiritual and religious people know from experience that we don’t want to miss out on all the advantages of our religious community. So once again we offer an invitation, “Come, join our communities spread throughout this beautiful world. Come. We want you with us. We need you with us. We will share all that we have and all that we are as church communities. We are ready to receive you. Together we can offer love, caring, life cycle rituals, spirituality. Our faith is not meant to turn you away. Together we believe that God, the Creator, that great power of new life, is will us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken….”

 

The Amazing V (Part I)

I watched a giant “V” float steadily across the sky like a well trained army platoon. The geese know winter is coming, I thought.
Why are Canada Geese so disciplined? Science tells us their “V” formation increases the flight efficiency of the entire flock by seventy-one percent. The leader flies out front, breaking the wind and showing the way. The rest, flying in formation, enjoy  the slip stream of the bird in front of them. Tired, the leader rotates to the back and another flies forward. There is no need to become exhausted. When a goose leaves the formation, he feels the resistance of the air and the difficulties of flying alone. Quickly, he returns to take advantage of the flock’s power.
“I believe in God, I just don’t need the church. I can worship God anywhere. Why bother with church, God and I are fine on our own.” Over the years, I’ve heard these words often. Yes, one person, like one goose, can live well, caring for others, and loving God. Alone we can know our destination and eventually get there.
Jesus gathered a group around him. He didn’t do his ministry alone. He knew the value of flying in the slip stream, alternating leadership. He knew that the group is not only more efficient but easier and more fun. We call his group the church. It is our “Amazing V”. We have learned that sharing our problems, leaning on one another and learning from one another increases our abilities, and our joy by much more than seventy-one percent. Try it, for a year. Enjoy the strength of work shared.
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”          (Matthew 4:18-20)