Articles on Spirituality Vs Religion - The Same or Different?:
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Is it the same thing to be spiritual or religious?
No, it isn't. I talk about the differences between spirituality and religion in the next two pages of this article.
However, I do think that religion and spirituality are often, if not usually, found in the same places.
It really isn't spirituality vs religion for me.
I found and developed my spirituality within religion.
I was then outside the church for some years, without a commitment to any spiritual practice.
I then rediscovered and nurtured my spirituality for a long time outside religion.
Now I joyfully do both.
I find spirituality in religion. I also find religion in both the good and the bad sense of the word in spiritual groups.
It might be hard for me to be deeply involved in the running of a church because sometimes my beliefs don't fit with those of traditional Christianity. But this makes me all the more grateful that others feel called to minister in this way.
Are spiritual groups better than religious ones?
When I join spiritual groups, I really don't see anything that sets them above the weaknesses potential in religion.
Imagine the following:
Do these things and I suspect you would see
... you have seen in 2000 years of the Christian Church and 4-5000 years of the Jewish people. We, as humans, are wonderfully flawed. We mess up.
Do these things and you might also see:
I am from the Catholic Christian tradition. The Catholic tradition has made mistakes! And yes, it is embarassing and upsetting when a church you are inspired by is in the media for abuse.
But that abuse remains clearly prohibited by the organisation itself. And, for me, embarrassment is not a reason to leave.
I have been in contact with hundreds of Catholics in the churches and school I have attended and I have not come across abuse. I have heard some sad stories though from those of an earlier generation about attending schools run by nuns who sounded very un-Christian.
It can be humbling to belong to a church that has made every mistake going! - and knows it.
A church is not about saying - we are different, we are special, we have finally got it right.
It is about working with humankind complete with all our frailties, recognising we will probably make all the same mistakes. Yet with a willingness to continually invite God in to work in us, and bring about a different outcome.
When we see ourselves as vulnerable to making a mistake, hopefully we have gained the humility to know that without God's help we will make it again. It therefore moves us towards the increasing dependence on God which characterizes the spiritual journey.
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