Over at Urban Mystic, Tim recently wrote a post about the ambiguous and très trendy phrase “spiritual, but not religious” (SNR). It seems to me that, while it can be used by those who are earnestly seeking to engage with God and their spiritual nature but have not found a home within organised religion, it is also often employed to denote a vague spirituality which avoids any of the more serious theological challenges.
I find this interesting because it seems to be a curious mirror of an attitude which could be called “religious, but not spiritual”. I would use this to label to cover both those who follow an organised religion but adhere only to the ritual, and also materialists who deny the spiritual altogether. It seems in each case that the individual is content with a superficial reading of the world:
- the materialist looks at the physical world and refuses to explore the spiritual dimension at all
- the SNR may simply experience a vague spirituality without delving deep enough to discover the nature and person of God
While it’s great to seek the spiritual, I think that there is a danger of stopping our seeking at the first glimpse, instead of plunging ever deeper into the mysteries of God.
We are called to be filled with the Spirit, not just lightly dusted!
PS: I was amused also to discover today that there had been a recent article over at the satirical news site The Onion along an identical theme. The article describes an individual as follows:
” … while he believed in blindly adhering to the dogma and ceremonies of his faith, he tried not to get too bogged down by actual spirituality. “I’m not so much into having a relationship with God as I am into mechanically conducting various rituals,” [he] said. … [He] emphasized that although he did not personally agree with those who pondered the eternal, he had nothing against them.”
Pure coincidence, I promise!