Friday Five: Spiritual or Religious

In the spirit of Daylight Savings, I’m late posting this, but whatever.

Mompriest writes:

Yesterday I attended a led conference by Diana Butler Bass. She is presenting new ideas on the state of the church and why there is hope for Christianity. One of her premises is a Newsweek/Washington Post poll from 2005 that states that 55% of the people in this country describe themselves as religious AND spiritual.

Without going into detail about her understandings of religious and spiritual (you may want to attend one of her conferences, if you can) share with us five thoughts ideas or practices that you consider to be “religious.” Then share with us five thoughts, ideas, or practices that you consider to be “spiritual.”

For example one thought about religion might be that it is “salvation” Or an idea about religion might be that it it is an “institution” and a religious practice might be “going to church.” An example of spiritual thought might be a phrase from a poem, a spiritual idea might be the inspiration for a piece of art and a spiritual practice might be meditation.

So, five thoughts, ideas, or practices that are religious….and then five thoughts, ideas or practices that are spiritual. OR are they the same thing to you?


I’m defining religious here as things that I do that are habitual that may or may not also have spiritual significance for me. I also recognize that religion, and in my case, Christianity, is it’s own sub-culture. Therefore, I’m including things that are specific to the culture. There’s also an aspect of religious behavior that indicates commitment and fervor.

1. Group singing. Let’s face it. People getting together in a room and singing when there is no alcohol involved is just weird. I’m a church music major, so don’t give me crap about this. Yes, I know that it’s a way we corporately express worship, but looking at it from an outsider’s point of view, it’s odd. I do it b/c I love it, and it’s going to also be part of my spiritual practices, but I still recognize that it’s culturally-specific.

2. Speak Christianese. I can slip into this like nobody’s business, having been marinated in church life from birth. While it’s a code language we speak to identify each other, it’s also a way we keep people out and try to make ourselves feel “chosen” or superior.

3. Crusade against conservative cultural Christianity. This is a religion for me because I feel so strongly that this is such a damaging force in our culture. If I had my way, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and all similar organizations would wither away for lack of support.

4. See God Everywhere. This is an important spiritual practice for me because I’m in a season where I’m living my call outside of a church setting. It’s actual more fun this way because I’m so much more open to seeing God’s activity in people, organizations and relationships.

5. Nurture others. I feel like this is the crux of my calling and while I’m not always good at it, and I’ve definitely not figured out how to deal with people who reject that aspect of my personality, I feel like it’s the most genuine expression of God in me. The trick is to listen to when God would have me use this trait and not jump in and rescue when it’s not appropriate.

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