Monday, July 26, 2010
There is an insightful article published on Saturday in the Huffington Post by Steve McSwain on the spirituality of us 34 Million American 'Nones' who've left organized religion behind. You can read it here. McSwain doesn't so much attack organized religion as he explains why this movement is gathering momentum. People who can not connect with the divine in a church, temple, or mosque are connecting with it daily, intimately, wherever they might be and with whomever they might encounter. Or I should say we, now shouldn't I.
But that 's the thing about being a 'None' or an SBNR there is no concrete definition because the definition rests upon the individual, what SBNR.org has creatively tagged as the subtitle to their homepage, Open Source Spirituality. This is not to say that organized religion is so last millennium but that it doesn't speak to the 34 million Americans still yearning to connect with the divine.
I am Spiritual But Not Religious. I still go to church not for God but for community. I meditate in the mornings and I interact with other spiritual explorers online as I read and write on matters of the spirit. Throughout my day I consider the suffering of others and if I can I try to alleviate it (although my pride and my urge to look out for my own neck gets in the way a lot). I spend time working with my hands fixing things up in our new home, and I settle down to relax with my family. This is my spirituality, to simple Be. I hold no grudge against religion, nor do I consider it my enemy. Religion is a human language used to interpret and communicate the awe and wonder we behold in simply being alive. It is the creative expression of man which resulted in different religions based on their experience of the divine. Man felt something, and continues to feel something, we just express that something with different words and symbols. I believe the SBNR movement is a response to mankind elevating our religious narratives and symbols to an idolatrous state equal to the divine. Finding God after religion does not mean God can not be found in religion but that the divine is always present in every corner of our lives. McSwain expresses that nothing has to be done to enter into the presence of the divine, to know God, since God is already here. To be here now is to dwell in the constant state of divine fullness, to simply BE.