Spirituality vs. Religion

I don't know if I can exactly explain it, but there are certain uses for the word "religion" that bother me. I don't know why, but some of these sentences are like fingernails on the blackboard for me. Some examples include:

"What does your religion say about (insert current event here)?"

"My religion teaches (insert scripture passage here)."

"What is your religion?"

It was to that last one that I said a sentence that bothered me at first, but actually I think turns out to have a lot to teach us.

"Christianity is my spirituality, The Pittsburgh Penguins are my religion."

Like I said, at first this idea really bothered me. But after I thought about it a little bit more, it makes all the sense in the world. A religion is a scheduled devotion, you are dedicated to your religion at certain times and at specific places. Each year, when the Penguins announce their season schedule, I grab my calendar and write down every game. If there's a game on a Wednesday (when we have youth group), I will break the land-speed record to get home and see it. Religion is meant to be experienced in a community, and while I will watch a Pens game by myself, there is nothing better than having my living room filled with my closest friends "worshiping" together. Religions tend to have sacred spaces and buildings, and I'll admit that I always stare at the Consol Energy Center for a bit longer than is normal. I even considered making this purchase.

A spirituality however, is much more adapt to answer the questions at the top of the post. A spirituality doesn't come in seasons or on schedules, because a spirituality impacts every once of your life. Every area, every event, every meeting, every workday, and every vacation are impacted by a spirituality. A spirituality doesn't happen in a fixed location. It happens everywhere. It happens in every instance, and it influences every decision. And while community is very important to a spirituality, it's not a limited community. Your spirituality impacts each and every person you come in contact with.

To me, Christianity fits way better into the spirituality category than it does into the religion category. There are religious aspects to a Christian faith, but it's not purely a religion.

As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Anonymous said...

You have a relationship with a living God. I here ya. I have something going on in my life that is not defined by my routine or even my location its,(Christianity), more interesting than religion.