Spirituality and “religion”

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John Wesley frequently began his weekly study groups with a simple, profound question: “How is it with your spirit?”

Spirituality is a nebulous term, and it is in common use these days. I hear people telling me that, “I am a spiritual person, not a religious person” or, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” For a while I even considered responding to this type of dualistic statement by saying that, “I’m religious, but not spiritual.”

In her book called, “The Practice of Prayer”, Margaret Guenther takes the Christian journey of faith beyond being simply a belief system. “Our spirituality is not what we profess to believe, but how we order our lives. Our stewardship of time, energy, material things, and relationships to our fellow creatures reflects the way we express that ordering of our lives.

For those who follow the path of Christianity, our faith has an active component. It is more than what is in our minds, it is also reflected in how we live. In other words, “agency” is a part of the Christian path. Words and actions of those following the Christian way are also consistent with each other. In our Christian scriptures, the Letter of James reads;

“It isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.” (James 2:17)

It seems to me that Christian spirituality might be summed up in the writings of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”(Galatians 5: 22)

St. Francis of Asisi’s words reflect this “active spirituality” in the statement that; It is in giving that we receive.

For those who wish to nurture their spirit, it is in sharing the gifts of love, joy, peace, etc, that we receive nurture for our spirit. For me, those are the fruits of the Spirit that describe the spirituality of Christian folk as we travel our journey of faith.

How is it with your spirit?

Posted August 16, 2016 by allanbaker in Christian Faith, Spirituality

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