The more I dig into this concept of the spiritual person, the more I realize how uncomplicated it really is.
Because of my religious upbringing, and my dedication to church work, I have kept spirituality within a religious context.
One of the favorite thoughts of the past 10 years has been the contrast of spirituality with religiosity. People say things like, “What is the difference between being religious and being spiritual?” Or, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” There has been a strong move to separate the two in our thinking and practice. This is good.
Can religion be separated from spirituality?
The answer should be an obvious, “Yes,” since we all know many religious people who haven’t an ounce of spirituality in their life.
However, the flip side is much more open to debate, because it is harder to define–“Does spirituality hinge on religion? Must one be religious in order to be spiritual?” A definition of terms is required for a meaningful discussion of these questions.
“Spiritual” is the term I am seeking to define with this series of articles. For the moment, I will leave it as “a person who manifests the positive qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (We have not yet determined if ALL of these must be present in order to be considered spiritual.)
“Religion,” however, is a bit more difficult to limit, because we use the word and its cognates in a broad range of concepts. For instance, “He is religious with his workouts at the gym.” “She is religious with her diet.” “NASCAR racing is his religion.”
The underlying/overriding idea is that of ‘regularity’ or ‘discipline.’ Due to the original meaning of the word “religion,” we can also see the idea of ‘worship’ in these various uses.
Therefore, I return to, “Must one be religious in order to be spiritual?”
If spirituality is defined as and by the characteristics listed, and religious is defined by regularity and discipline, then the answer should also be an obvious “Yes.”
Look at the list of positive qualities and point out which one comes naturally to a human. Not one. Each one of those are qualities that must be cultivated, developed over time–ie, disciplined.
Therefore, if one is to become a spiritual person, one must possess the discipline of practice in order to develop each particular quality. It is the “discipline of practice” that makes one ‘religious.’ However, it is the realm of that which we practice that makes all the difference. This is what sets most of the Judeo-Christian people apart from most other religious practitioners.
For most Christians, their practice consists of going to church, Bible study, prayer, and fellowship–commonly referred to as religious activities. For many other religions outside the three Judeo-Christian ones, their practice is focused on developing the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
This ought not to be. It should be the same for all who are seeking spirituality or godliness.
What do you think? Post your comments below. If you like this blog, why not subscribe by clicking on one of the “subscribe” buttons to the right, and it will be sent directly to your e-mail. Also, forward this link to someone on your list who might be interested in this discussion.
6 thoughts on “Simple Spirituality and NASCAR Racing”
A brother of ours often spoke of the “Do-be’s” and the “Be-do’s”. In my understanding, this is the difference between a “religious” person and a “spiritual” person. The former will discipline themselves in areas of their life in the hope that some day they will attain godliness. The latter already knows their nature is of God and “does” or exhibits Godliness – the fruit of the Spirit as their level of maturity enables them. They also are very much aware that the journey is both corporate and individual.
In Ephesians Paul first establishes who Jesus is and what He has done. Then who and where we are. Then some more understanding. Then instruction.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore [a]it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what [b]does it mean except that He also [c]had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the [d]saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the [e]knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature [f]which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 [g]As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness [h]in deceitful scheming; 15 but [i]speaking the truth in love, [j]we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together [k]by what every joint supplies, according to the [l]proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Your study of spirituality seems quite religious.
I certainly consider myself spiritual, but it is a rare occasion my life bears any resemblance to The Fruit of The Spirit. That’s my honest, spiritual answer. Not, as a religious person would probably suggest, a failure or a shortcoming of how my life should be as a believer.
I too fail in my own eyes, especially with the accuser of the brethren on patrol. At our meeting today, the theme was the same. Must be attention of Spirit.
Anyhow, I believe God says we will bear fruit, so I don’t think it is an option.
Of what kind and how much, how knows. Maybe after the race!
For me personally, my only striving in life now is getting through the recession and learning to rest in Him. Hardest thing, probably take a couple of ages ;o )
of course that race is the one set before us. I believe this is where the “high calling” will be revealed.
We all fail in our own eyes. It is a good thing I believe. While a glance at ourselves might be ok, I think it is best to focus on Him. Not the “God” off some-where-out-there, but who He is here and now.
I don’t know Noreaster. I do know Don & Dale. And believe me brothers, the fruit of the Spirit has been picked, and eaten, and has given me nourishment for Life from both of you! Breakfast felllowship with both of you is not just bacon and eggs, it is a rich and filling spiritual meal!
and the same for me everytime. Love it when we can get together with the Lord for breakfast.