The other day in church the Pastor talked about spirituality. He was attempting to drive home to the congregation how to get more connected with their spirituality as opposed to the “religious” aspect of things. His sermon caused me to think about the trend today when it comes to religion; or should I say church participation. When growing up, Sundays were reserved for going to church and having a big dinners as well as seeing family. Occasionally I reflected on the sermon the good preacher had to say. Back then, people typically identified and claimed to be one of the religious denomination; whether Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and the many other “Christian” sectors of the religious rainbow. Also, there were Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist and many many others. For the most part there are many similarities and few differences of all the Christian based religions. Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with the others so I will focus on my experience in Christianity. Let’s examine the profound difference between religion and being spiritual.
Religion is an organized dogma themed at a supernatural faith doctrine penned with customs, traditions and practices of cultural norms for such religion. Being spiritual is finding a connection between you, a higher calling and recognizing your purpose of your existence. This is not to say a religious denomination does not teach spirituality however, being spiritual has nothing to do with cultures, doctrines, rules and regulations. As I alluded to as a child. More times than not, a conversation concerning religion would begin with knowing to what religious denomination he or she belonged. In my experience there are more churches being formed with a mantra claiming to be “Non-Denominational.” I find this very interesting because more often than not, the pastors of these churches grew up and received their training from some type of organized religion. So what happened? Why the shift? My non-scientific survey concluded that the rules customs and traditions that dominated these sects were considered very strict and left little to no room for flexibility for the younger generation. The sole purpose of “religion,” at least for Christianity, is to bring souls to accept Christ as their personal savior. I can see the potential for alienation of a young demographic. For example, young people are more prone to reject formal style of dress including males suit and ties and for the young ladies, dresses, skirts and stockings– and for GOD’s sake, NO PANTS!!!!
There are several passages in the Bible describing how Jesus paid close attention to the poor, the sinners, the diseased and the social “misfits. Please understand, I am not here to demean any religious denomination. I am simply trying to compare and contrast the differences between how the church brings people to their congregation versus how it does now.
At the end of the day, the Bible, Quran and the Tanakh hasn’t changed much if at all. There have been several renditions for an easier read and understanding, but the message is virtually the same. Fortunately, we live in a country where we enjoy the ability to exercise freedom of religion. We are able to worship who how and almost where we please (except some public institutions). I am glad we are slowly getting away from the “religious” element of worship and perhaps venturing more into the spiritual understanding and connection to a higher calling. Be well, be blessed and stay thirsty for knowledge my friends.