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I’m becoming more and more aware how valuable blogging (especially theology discourse blogging) is. Maybe it’s sad that in my little life, although quite open-minded and well-read, I have had such limited contact with people with different philosophical and theological points of view… and I think I’m not the only one.

Case in point:

I read a fantastic blog called “Sarcastic Lutheran” (link under “Udderbloggers”). Although she’s quite “emergent” in her thinking, she also comes across as very liturgical. Very different to me. In her latest entry, she made a mind-blowing statement:

“We need to break through the isolation of sin and remorse to stand as Christ for one another. I think this is actually why we at ‘House for All Sinners and Saints’ say that we are religious but not spiritual. Spiritual feels individual and escapist. But to be religious is to do this thing of being human, not in isolation but in the midst of other sinners as equally messed up and obnoxious and forgiven as ourselves”.

Wow. What do “being religious” and “being spiritual” mean to you? Of course, this is not a debate, but simply an investigation into how our denominational heritage has coloured our understanding of these words. It may come down to nothing more than semantics. But hey! I’ll start. Up until now:

“Being religious” meant being in bondage to a system in which we make promises to God to prove our devotion (sometimes formally and sometimes informally – like through the songs we sing), and in which we believe that when we fail we invoke God’s wrath, and when we overcome, we invoke his blessings / favour.

“Being spiritual” meant being “in step with the Spirit”. Or being constantly aware of the fellowship of Christ through His Spirit in our day to day lives.”

Interesting that James (1:27) talks about “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God”. So maybe I’ve given “religion” an unfair negative connotation. Me and many others…

“The revelation of God is the abolition of religion” – Karl Barth
“Religion is the archrival of intimate spirituality… Religion, a tiresome system of manmade dos and don’ts, woulds and shoulds – impotent to change human lives but tragically capable of devestating them – is what is left after a true love for God has drained away. Religion is the shell that is left after the real thing has disappeared” – Doug Banister.

There are lots more… but I wonder what YOU think?

About Me

Ecstatically married to Leane. Studying Theology and Teaching. Working as a worship leader, teacher, coach, guitar teacher. Living in the Mighty City of Mkondo in the sunny province of Mpumalanga, in the blessed country of South Africa.

Favourite Thoughts – Outbox

Religion is to be defended - not by putting to death - but by dying. Not by cruelty, but by patient endurance. - Lactantius (c.304-313).
What is essential Christianity? From first to last it is scandal, the divine scandal. Every time someone risks scandal of high order there is joy in heaven. - Soren Keirkegaard.
Where there are two Christians, there are three opinions... [Actually a Jewish saying, but at least as true for Christians]

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