"I'm spiritual but not religious." This mantra from non-churched (or de-churched folks) is commonplace today. The sentiment reflects an enormous shift away from religious institutions (churches, synagogues) as THE centers for personal / spiritual growth. Brew pubs, coffee shops, music venues are the new sanctuaries. I get it and sympathize with the feeling. Church has become a destination on Sunday morning for too many Americans. Being church (the body of Christ)... not so much.
I invite you to re-VIEW the essence of Christian spirituality. (My message June 10th will be about this.) Gaining a new perspective of what it means to be spiritual can lead to personal, congregational, an social transformation. Re-examining the biblical idea of being spiritual can lead to some amazing and surprising outcomes.
Take the prophet Isaiah (who was quoted by Jesus as he began his own mission):
"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit."
The spirit of God was the power that created the world; it was the force that gave life to all creatures. The spirit of God isn't a friendly ghost or disembodied ghoul. The Spirit animates all life and motivates human creatures to be caretakers of the world entrusted to their care (cf. Genesis). To be anointed (Isaiah) is to be chosen by God for a life-giving/sustaining purpose. In Isaiah's case, the prophet was selected to speak a message of hope to the oppressed, a proclamation on behalf of God that the way things were is not the way things are supposed to be. Justice and compassion are to be the norm.
To be spiritual is to be a person challenging the spirit of desolation of the poor and outcast by embodying the Spirit of life, hope and liberation. Crystals, sage, bracelets will not break the bonds of subjugation of the least and lost. Making changes that lift up those beat down is spirituality. And it just might be religious, too.