On facebook just now, I shared a photo that was shared by a friend:
and another friend shared a link to an interesting blog post in which the author is lamenting the 'spiritual but not religious' identification in our society, which seems to relate to a spirituality of the individual, i.e. individual spiritual practices without the religious (bound together) community.
which got me wondering why we are posting such photos, making such claims, for spirituality and against religion / religiosity?
I wonder if it is a question of language? A lot of the language around faith / religion/ spirituality - 'evangelism' 'religion' and 'religious' – has been tainted by the over zealous minority whose religion / religious practice is unhelpful or even harmful, and the majority want to create distance from that ... but a spiritual practice without community is just as unhelpful, even harmful.
It seems to me that the challenge is for religious / inherited faith traditions to respond to the spiritual yearning present in our communities by building relationships, by telling our story, by being communities of faith. The challenge is to do so in such a way as to celebrate the healing and reconciliation that can be found in community, in loving relationships that are founded on the peaceful teaching of faith traditions - of religions.
There is, no doubt, a yearning for both spiritual nurture and authentic community. Religious traditions, traditions of spiritual practice in community, have much to offer in response to this yearning. We will trip ourselves up if we give in to fear - fear of the kind of religiosity that harms, fear of the 'death' of our religions or churches or institutions, and fear of the change that will be required of us if we are to helpfully share the gifts of our various traditions.