“I’m more spiritual than religious,” is a comment that I’ve heard more than once from people who are pulling away from organized religion. These folks recognize that there is more to religion than going to worship, singing songs, saying prayers and listening to a sermon. While all those things can be beneficial to one’s spiritual life, they are not the end goal. The goal of the church and of pastors is to point beyond themselves to God, and help others to develop a relationship with the Divine, to personally experience the Holy.
Spirituality is an internal experience, whereas religion is an external experience. Ideally the external experience of religion would prompt an internal connection with god, but obviously this isn’t always the case. How many times have you heard someone say, “well, I went to church this morning, but I didn’t get anything out of it”? How terribly sad is that? If church doesn’t move you to awe, or prompt you to think more deeply about your faith, or stir emotion in you, or help you to feel that you are connected to something much bigger than yourself, or give you goosebumps (not from cold, but from feeling the spirit), or move you to tears or laughter, what good is it?
I believe that we, as humans, search for a connection with the magic in the universe, with the underlying energy pulsing through everything. Call it your higher self, the Absolute, Ultimate Truth, God, the Transcendental, Spirit, whatever. We seek to be touched. We seek greater understanding. We seek to know a connection with creation. We seek ourselves. Many continue to attend church even when it is empty of those things because they know no other way. Or they’ve been instilled with fear of what leaving may do to their mortal soul.
My dream is for Sacred Journeys to be more spiritual than religious. I want people to find this a safe place open their hearts and minds to feel the spiritual energy that surrounds us as we worship. I want us to love God with our minds as we explore different ideas and perspectives. I want us to worry less about ritual and liturgy, and more about how the message connects with our lives. And then I want us to carry that message of love and hope out into a broken and hurting world.
I suppose I sound a little crazy… but that’s my dream.