Spirituality and Religion are fast becoming bedfellows, even though in technicality, they've always shared the bed. Language is a trickster we use to divide or separate, keeping us distanced and safe from conflict or attached to being right and couch potato comfortable in an illusion of being smart.
Most of us identify ourselves as spiritual, while also making a point to clarify they are not religious. This is even true for many who attend church regularly. For most, being spiritual is a more personal and individual practice or belief that is not dictated by anyone but us. Being religious is usually thought of as an affiliation with an organizational institution that mandates what to believe, how to practice, and provides direction and distinction as to what matters, and where it is on the scare of right and wrong. It shapes the structure of faith within a public and social community.
To my own surprise, after decades of searching, I've found little spiritual practice more spiritual an experience than the authentic and deeply person practice of Christianity. It's never been spiritual practices that detain me from being a committed or involved Christian. It's always been the conclusions that some groups of Christians arrive at when clustered. These "beliefs" eventually become mandates or dictates mimicing Big Brother, and the social pressure to conform to their idea of our shared spiritual practice is too great a fight to fight. It's at this point that too many people have been faced with feeling the need to choose their faith or nothing because it's too uncomfortable to be someone we're not.
They find the price for disingenuous expression and relationships is so deeply incongruent to the message of Christ that their internal alarms sound, and the peace that passeth understanding disappears from hope's line of sight.
We will always struggle to come to terms with who is most right as interpreting the Bible goes, but if there is a way to find a shared language and understanding that allows people coming in the many different doors to Christ to see a table at which they might fit and find a seat, there might be hope. To expect everyone to believe or practice the same way is an unrealistic expectation we will never succeed at anyway.
one world order fear in Challis....woman at meeting. resistance that followed was sabotage for all they hoped to experience...
Cole when became a christian....saying others who say they are are not because they are different than him.
It's hard to have a powerful, life-changing conversion experience that fills you with a passion and conviction that is unlike anything that's ever happened to you, and look at others who are practicing their everyday human faith in an ordinary, hum drum way - even if it appears sincere. The temptation is to determine that others aren't 'really' Christians, because if they were, they'd be like you. What'sdifficult to grasp at this stage of an experience like that is it wanes. One's faith may not wane, but the intensity of the day to day experience changes. It blends into our reality, and we adjust to it as normal. Much like falling madly in love.
This particular tolerance is needed on both sides. In 12 step programs when someone first gets sober, for many, the world and everything they experience is suddenly in full living color - more than at any other time of their life. I can remember a few crusty old men who loved to tell me not to count on feeling this happy and this good for too long because I'm only on a pink cloud. They made it sound like it wasn't real. They assured me it wouldn't last. Now, why on heaven's earth, would anyone want to talk someone out of feeling that good when they're getting a fresh start? It always baffled me...and I've, more than once, prayed that the newcomers on a pink cloud would find me, not them, so I can tell them to enjoy the heck out of it for as long as possible. Celebrate it! Living through a conversion experience is an incredible thing as long as you don't start pushing your experience on others who are not having it.
That's when you turn into a weirdo or an asshole.
Unless, of course, you're incredibly kind.