“Spiritual Not Religious”

In the Nov. 3 Chicago, Tribune Deann Groen Bayless is quoted saying that she mostly reads to find spiritual inspiration. This is a response typical of the Protestant upbringing she described. But it is only part of the spiritual journey. Certainly I read a lot. There are so many teachers from a world of religious traditions and from the ages that came before us. But the one teacher who typically gets overlooked in this tradition is the most important, God. Born of the enlightenment era, in protestantism God is often conceived as an intellectual abstraction. The possibility that God can be experienced immediately, face-to-face, is often viewed with suspicion. Yet, exactly the discovery of that possibility is what has sparked the widely cited concept, “spiritual but not religious.” Taking seriously that God is everywhere and that all creation is a revelation of God opens up the exciting adventure of the spiritual journey. With this perspective, there is supreme importance in every moment of experience. What is less observed about the spiritual path is that there are just as many temptations and seductions along this path as any other. The wisdom to seek God and continue the journey has been recorded through the ages, but is less familiar to this “scientific” age. Such wisdom is not merely information. Wisdom is truth that is being lived, that has flesh and blood. We negotiate the spiritual path with the help of wise people.