I’m Spiritual, Not Religious

godly woman

Though people say this for their own reasons. It often deeply saddens me when I hear, “I’m Spiritual but not Religious.”  To me, people say this in part because though they have a relationship with God, they want nothing or little to do with the Church. First of all, we ARE the Church. And frequently, people are misguided in thinking that Church is merely the infrastructure or the place they go to on Sundays. That is incorrect. On the other hand, though it saddens me, I really do understand why people who know God have reservations about the Church. It is because unfortunately, at times, so much foul play and rejection inhabit the church. I have personally been experiencing that as of late. I wrote a book for the Church. The book is about a secret ill that is ravishing through the church: Adultery in the Pulpit and the Pews. My assignment is to fill the gap in literature and discussion about this issue within the Church. My book is intended for a specific audience—the body of Christ, particularly Church-goers. And that audience, for the most part, completely dismissed me, ignored me, fail to return calls and emails, and dodged me in my Church halls. Interestingly enough, it was the non-church goers, or the “Spiritual people”, who more warmly welcomed my message. Will that allow me to leave the Church? Of course not.

I am a Christian that understands the difference between being Spiritual and Religious and choose to embrace both. I am both. I do both. I live both walks.  I will never let the wrong-doings in the Church make me just dismiss that sector of life. Yes, I speak to God all day. That’s the Spiritual part of me. And yes, I go to Church every Sunday. That is the religious part of me. They are not divorced from one another.

Is the Church perfect? Absolutely not. It never was intended to be, because WE make up the Church and WE are the church. Because we are inherently flawed and sinful people, we will never create perfection—that’s Jesus’ job. But we can still strive for it—that is our job as believers. We can be intentional about taking care of God’s house and His people; many of us are guilty of not doing that to the best of our abilities.

I compare going to Church with attending college. Can you receive a solid college education and obtain an amazing degree without ever stepping foot into a classroom? Absolutely. With the advent of online courses, this is made possible. But to me, I pose, how much more fulfilling, and interactive, and fruitful for you would it be if you had a regular covering that you stepped into weekly? Where you learned with others who believed what you were learning, where you were able to ask questions that you could not answer by your own strength, where you were merely able to hear other people who are going through your same experience? Yes, you can have a solid relationship with God without going to Church, but I believe, the covering from a Godly Pastor and the practice of learning from other believers intrinsically grows your walk with Christ.

This morning I was led to John 13:35, where Jesus says, “By this all will know that you are my My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is what it comes down to. This is what we are called to do. We are called to be Love. As my Church’s vision and mission statement reads: Developing Dynamic Disciples Through Discipleship, Discipline, and Duplication.” If we did a better job as the body of Christ to simply love one another right, we would have far less people wanting to dissociate from the Church. And the notion of being “Religious” would no longer have the negative connotation that it frequently holds now.

So yes, I understand why some would want to be Spiritual and not Religious, but as a Church body, let’s remedy the ills in our pulpits and our pews so that being Spiritual and Religious can rightfully go hand-in-hand.

Sophia Vilceus

Written by Sophia Vilceus

Sophia is the author of “Late Conversations with my Late Mother” and “The Last Pew: Journeying Back to God’s Will After an Affair.” She currently serves as an English Professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

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