It is now confirmed that not everyone likes me… or at least the stuff that I write. I think this is good because the conversation generates better thoughts and articulation of those thoughts. Here are some of the things people said in response to my last article:
Mock, malign and marginalize the spiritual but not religious all you want. They're our fish. They've had spirituality commoditized for them and need to see that a) spirituality involves work and b) that work bears amazing fruit (b before a, really).
Sorry, but I completely disagree with this essay. You're equating lazy with not doing what Christianity and other organized religions prescribe. To me, that kind of logic is lazy and elitist.
Spirituality comes in all forms.
You can read two other comments on my blog.
It seems that some see my previous post as a big ole’ push for organized religion. Granted that is my bread and butter, but it wasn’t my intent. Based on the way I wrote the entry I can see how many reached that conclusion – I really could have said things in a different and maybe more positive way, but then I wouldn’t be so much fun, would I?
I think what I meant to say was that it is important to find and be a part of a community however that looks. Last week’s podcast of Philosophy Bites featured Alain de Botton speaking about Atheism 2.0. He spoke about the importance of a community as a place where not only morals are taught and carried on, but also as a place where ideas of importance, values are tested, shared, and celebrated. De Botton stressed that it was not faith so much that was important (as an atheist that would be weird for him to celebrate faith in God) but the rituals and liturgy of the community stressing the values and morals of a community.
I am not suggesting that Atheists form a church with a liturgy and all that. I don’t even know what that would look like. It is the community that is important and the type of community.
Those who get together on a regular basis have rituals and liturgy and in large part rituals and liturgy express the ideals and values of that group of people – even if it is a group of people gathering around to talk about God over beer, or to talk about beer over God.
It is the individualist spiritual person that I was railing against and I will add to this the individualist Christian, the individualist Jew, the individualist Muslim, and on and on (I’m not attacking groups of people, just individuals). A community requires work. It is work to learn the “grammar” of the community and to participate in that grammar. It is work to share yourself and to share in the life and struggles of others. It is a lot easier to just go to church, say the words proscribed, and then go home without any connection with the people there or any investment in the rituals. It is a lot easier to say you are spiritual but do nothing that considers, expresses, or deepens that spirituality. That is what I meant by selfish spirituality.
For those who are searching – keep searching – that is part of the work. For those who have a community be it an organized religion or not, engage and immerse yourself into that community and push the community to deepen its experience of spirituality however that may be expressed. I guess that is what I meant by being religious – being deliberate about your spirituality.
Of course I really appreciate all of the comments. Well, I kinda appreciate all of the comments – it took me about a week of crying in the shower to find the nerve to write a response. Now I look like a giant white raisin.
Topic closed? Can I move on and blog about Red Letter Bibles and churches with pastors?