Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spiritual But Not Religious

I taught a class yesterday at The Beverwyck Community in Albany. The topic was SBNR--"Spiritual But Not Religious". The group was terrific --we talked about the values of spiritual well-being, and how--if your spiritual life is outside of traditional religion-- you practice your spiritual life and make  community.

Here are a few of the notes I jotted down about spirituality and religion:
Spirituality is about my essence, my core, my insides, my ability to perceive and experience myself in the context of something that transcends my daily experience. Spirituality is the lived expression of my beliefs.  Spirituality is the way we respond to the spirit of a Higher Power. 
It's the way that I live out what I believe.
 Religion is a set of beliefs, practices and often a language for a certain way of searching or a specific kind of deity. Religion defines or describes certain specific ways of behaving or acting to find that deity. At its best Religions have spirituality or bring us to spirituality, but not always. 
Religion is about loyalty to institutions, clergy or rules. Spirituality is about loyalty to justice and loyalty to compassion. Religion is about “Who’s in and Who’s out”—us against them, who’s right and who’s wrong, while spirituality rejects dualistic ways of thinking.
Religion and spirituality need not be at odds—religion at its best is spirituality in community. 

1 comment:

dorothy said...

SBNR describes a mystical faith or Mysticism. Our greatest validity is in the Mystical world which is part and parcel of the seen world. It is the root of all religions which become encrusted with dogma, power and exclusion. Mysticism is experiential and liberating. Our saints, seers and prophets were mystics and it is for the masses of our time.