Saturday, June 23, 2012

You Cannot Be Spiritual Without Being Religious

At the end of 1 Corinthians 2:13 Paul uses a popular word: spiritual. It’s a popular word for us, and it was a popular word in Paul’s day. They desired spirituality just as much. They loved spiritual gurus, and so do we. But not everything spiritual is truly spiritual.

When you hear the word “spiritual” certain images come to mind. You think of someone very quiet and contemplative. Or maybe you picture someone with hands raised in a demonstrative expression of worship. You may think of your spontaneous, free-wheeling, “Spirit-led” friend. The spiritual person in your mind may be the young woman deeply interested in miracles and mystery, or maybe the old man earnestly pursuing a relationship with a higher power. To be “spiritual” in our day is to be vaguely interested in the supernatural and loosely committed to practices like prayer and meditation.

And yet, all of these indicators are what Jonathan Edwards would call non-signs. They don’t prove anything one way or another. It’s not bad to be contemplative or demonstrative or spontaneous. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in prayer, miracles, or a higher power. These interests and practices could be good or bad, depending on other factors. But by themselves, these things are not spiritual, not according to Paul’s definition. Read more

1 comment:

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Bumper sticker jive.