Spirituality Light? How About Spirituality Done Right?!
5 Reasons Spiritual but Not Religious is a Sacred Path
Never had faith.
Never were “real” Christians.
Never loved Jesus.
The church is better off without them.
Their hearts have turned away from God.
Anyone else have anything to add to this list?
And what is this list?
These are just a sampling of some things that have been said to those of us who have left church, seeking a spiritual path outside of organized Christianity.
Our choice to do so shouldn’t be so controversial, but it is.
Yes, we may have stories to share related to the harm we’ve experienced. The people who are quick to condemn us for calling out toxic and harmful behavior in church are the very ones who encouraged the weaponization of beliefs that were used against us while in church.
For years, those who had left were silent. Our indoctrination still negatively influencing and convincing us that our silence was a sacrament we could not dishonor. It was just easier to quietly exit the church doors and never be heard of or seen again than risk the wrath of churched folks condemning you further for your experience.
Today, thanks largely to the internet and social media, we are connecting in creative ways through our virtual communities. These platforms are empowering and healing us in ways that we didn’t think possible standing alone in the vast wilderness of post-church deconstruction.
So why does our existence threaten the church?
Why do they feel the need to judge us and say of us that we are seeking “spirituality light?”
Why can’t they leave us alone? It is because they know that our numbers are growing.
If we were a “church” (and lord knows we are not!), we would be the biggest denomination in the country.
Let that sink in for a minute.
The fastest rising group would also be the largest—those seeking spirituality outside of organized religion. For Christian churches across the world, this reality is unsettling. It challenges the deeply ingrained notion that their way is the only way to connect with the universal divine mystery.
We have the right to share our lived experiences
But here's the truth: spirituality is not confined to the walls of a church. It is not limited to a specific set of rituals or doctrines. Spirituality is an expansive, boundless experience that transcends religious labels and dogmas. It is a journey of the soul, a quest for truth, love, and meaning that takes many different forms.
For those of us who have ventured beyond the confines of organized Christianity, we have discovered a rich tapestry of spiritual wisdom and practices that resonate with our hearts and souls. We have released the belief that our faith holds the exclusive truth. We have explored ancient traditions, delved into Eastern philosophies, been inspired by the mystical teachings that offer us profound insights and transformative experiences, and read the Bible with a new set of eyes seeking understanding without the lens of homophobia, racism or misogyny as its filter.
We believe that the spiritual-but-not-religious path is sacred because…
1.) We have come to understand that spirituality is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
It is a deeply personal and intimate connection with the sacred, a dance of the soul that unfolds uniquely for each individual. Some find solace in meditation and contemplation, while others seek communion with nature or express their spirituality through creative endeavors.
2.) In our journey outside the church, we have discovered a profound sense of liberation.
We no longer feel bound by rigid doctrines or the fear of eternal damnation. We have embraced a spirituality that encourages us to question, to explore, and to embrace the fullness of our being. We have found a freedom that allows us to live authentically and to cultivate a deep sense of love and compassion for ourselves and others.
3.) We embrace direct experience of the divine:
This path honors the sacred because it encourages seekers to have direct experiences of the divine. Rather than relying solely on intermediaries or prescribed rituals, individuals can cultivate a personal and intimate relationship with the sacred. By exploring meditation, contemplation, nature connection, or other practices, they can directly encounter the transcendent and tap into the wellspring of divine wisdom within themselves.
4.) We integrate spirituality into everyday life:
This spiritual-but-not-religious path recognizes the sacredness inherent in everyday life. It emphasizes the integration of spiritual principles into all aspects of existence, fostering a holistic and mindful approach. By infusing our relationships, work, creativity, and daily activities with spiritual awareness, practitioners honor the divine presence in every moment. This path encourages the recognition that all of life is sacred and offers opportunities for growth, learning, and transformation.
5.) We have no need to explain our beliefs.
Spirituality is a deeply personal and intimate experience that transcends the need for external validation or explanation. It is a connection with the divine that resides within each individual's heart and soul, and it does not require justification or approval from others. Requiring someone to explain their beliefs in order to be considered spiritual disregards the diverse and intricate nature of spiritual experiences.
Spirituality encompasses a vast spectrum of beliefs, philosophies, and practices, and attempting to confine it to a rigid framework of explanation risks stifling the beauty and richness of individual spiritual paths. By embracing the freedom to explore, nurturing direct experiences of the divine, and integrating spirituality into everyday life, the spiritual-but-not-religious path becomes a sacred journey of self-discovery, connection, and purpose. It invites individuals to cultivate their unique relationship with the sacred and to honor the inherent divinity within themselves and the world around them.
But let us be clear: our path is not about rejecting anyone else's spiritual journey. It is not about dismissing the importance of community or the power of collective worship. We respect and honor the diverse ways in which people find solace and meaning within religious institutions. Our choice to seek spirituality outside of organized religion is simply an acknowledgment that there are myriad paths to the divine, and each one is valid.
So, to those who would judge us, condemn us, or dismiss our journey, we extend a hand of compassion and understanding. We invite you to open your hearts and minds to the possibility that spirituality can exist outside the boundaries of the church. We encourage you to embrace a more inclusive and expansive view of faith, one that celebrates the diversity of human experience and the myriad ways in which we connect with the sacred.
And to those who have left the church…
...who have felt isolated and judged, know that you are not alone. You are part of a growing movement of seekers, explorers, and truth-seekers who are redefining spirituality for a new era. Embrace your journey with courage and resilience, for it is in the wilderness of the unknown that we often discover our truest selves.
May we all find the freedom to follow our hearts, the courage to question, and the wisdom to embrace the interconnectedness of all beings. May we celebrate the diversity of spiritual paths and honor the unique journey of each soul. And may love, compassion, and understanding be the guiding forces that unite us all on this beautiful, mysterious, and awe-inspiring spiritual journey.
Looking to further your healing journey? Rev Karla understands that everyone’s spiritual journey is unique and deeply personal, that is why we offer communities for those desiring a safe and supportive environment. Engage with like-minded souls, and embark on a sacred journey of deconstruction, spiritual growth, and healing. Visit us online to join a community or Live event that speaks to you.