Never Cared To Claim Either One

I am spiritual, but not religious is the banner slogan sign of our times. It is a reflection of our American culture. I take no offense at its use or when I hear it. Its use may have the best of intentions. It may be the only way some are able to express with some confidence a bit of their conviction in the form of sound bites, _ another reflection of American culture. Often the slogan is the sum total of the person's understanding of their conviction. It is a tragedy of faith and the fellowship of the saints in Christ when a disciple breaks away with nothing more than this slogan as his faith response to the world. It is a slogan born out of disillusionment and confusion on the teaching of doctrine for the knowledge and strengthening of the faith of the believer. What the slogan reflects is the oneupmanship American mentality: Win and out do the other guy. The slogan pits spiritual against religious with spiritual being the better of the two, but there's a deceptive, dangerous shallowness which characterizes this slogan.

There is no better model than Jesus as the ultimate model of spirituality. Yet, spirituality was neither a claim he ever made for himself nor did he train his disciples in a how-to-be-spiritual course. The apostle Paul, one of Jesus' disciples after the resurrection, exhorts the saints, the Christians in Galatia, "if anyone is caught up in a trespass, youi who are spiritual, restore such a one." The carnal mind, or carnality, is the affront to being spiritual. Self claims of being spiritual raise serious, legitimate questions on the one making those claims. It is a shame and disgrace when the tesimony of others is that a believer is carnal. .It is to the glory of the believer when the testimony of others is that he is spiritual.

Years before I ever heard this now popular slogan I made a life commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior. It never entered my mind to be religious. It never entered my mind to be spiritual. It was not that I rejected either of these, but rather that I regarded and have always understood these as by-products of my life of faith as a disciple of Jesus. Personally, I have felt an inner cringe when people have approached me with a question because, as I they said, "you're religious." I have never cared to claim to be either one though I believe there may be enough evidence to charge me on either of these.

Paul's instruction to the Christians in Galatia raises the appropriate questions: Who is a spiritual? What constitutes a spiritual? A self-proclamation of spirituality raises serious doubt and wonder as to the person's inner makeup in the Spirit. Briefly stated, the marks, or characteristics, of a spiritual are the 1) wisdom do discern, 2) confidence to judge, and the 3) authority to speak. See the article You Who Are Spiritual: Wisdom to Discern Part I
CuePond CuePond
56-60, M
2 Responses Dec 19, 2010

DNA, there's a common element between our posts: one teacher.<br />
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The claims of being spiritual so many take to themselves to wear as a badge were never made by him. Would it not seem strange if not bizarre to anyone if the speech of anyone who attributes their spiritual claims on the basis of his teaching had little to no resemblance to his teaching? This is nothing like the teacher. Although he made no claims to being spiritual he consistently demonstrated and modeled for his followers the elements, (marks or characteristics) which reveal a spiritual.<br />
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Curiously, none of those characteristics were spoken by him or his disciples as proof of their spirituality as is the modern, popular way of today's spiritual ones. What the entirety of his teaching and that of his disciples concerning spirituality is that spirituality is not something for self, but something done for others.

DNA,<br />
I appreciate your thoughts. I am left to wonder if the thoughts you express apart from that which you regard as the muddle (my apologies, these are not your words) of kings and governments is your offering as that "teacher's message" to which you allude?<br />
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That kings and governments have plied the teachings of sc<x>ripture to their own schemes is certainly true and nothing new. However, this has become just so much cannon fodder by so many people to hurl, _ and miss everything. The fact that the sc<x>riptures have been interpreted in various ways with different motives did not and does not change or exempt how each one of us interprets them today. The pursuit of the Lone Spiritual seems not much different than that of kings and governments in terms of his/her regard for the sc<x>riptures. The Lone Spiritual feels it is solely up to him and no one and nothing (sc<x>ripture) else to orient or instruct him in his pursuit of knowledge and the truth of God. Thank you for your thoughts, DNA.