By now you’ve probably seen this short, snarky essay by Lillian Daniel, “Spiritual but Not Religious?” or you at least know what she’s talking about. If you haven’t read it, click on over. It is a pretty good read.
I sympathize with her sentiment, particularly the idea that being individually spiritual without the requirement of community is a particularly Western and American norm. It reminds me of the all of the “unique” people that need to express their uniqueness by shopping at a store in the mall. Being an individual is the new fitting in. It also doesn’t fit in with that cool teacher, Jesus.
But here’s the plight: what if, by disregarding the “spiritual but not religious” trend, we disregard its commentary, and lose the opportunity to learn? Yes, many use it as a cop out and mimic platitudes themselves, but isn’t it up to us to make our religion not suck? I’m reminded of Google’s mantra “Don’t be evil.” Isn’t that what all the self-described spiritual people are saying? That we’ve been or are evil? That we hate more than we love? That we often ruin people’s lives in an attempt to “save” them?
Me? I’d rather criticize the lazy Christians who would rather make a weekly pilgrimage to sit in a performance of worship while their kids are in “Sunday School” than deal with that intentional community Daniel writes about. Leave the hubris of the non-Christian alone. We have enough to go around.