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Homily/Theme: What Does It Mean To Be Spiritual and Religious?

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For example, by my quick count, there are over 100 churches in Charleston county, yet there are only five communities of faith that welcome gay and lesbians, only three of these five church groups would be consider themselves to centrally Christian, only one to be inclusive and metaphysical, and only one maybe two to be welcoming of all faiths or accepting of having no faith at all!No wonder there are so many spiritual Meetup Groups!There are a lot of people who are looking around, and most cannot find what they seek! I bet you thought I would choose spiritual, didn’t you?During my personal lifelong study and my ministry experiences, there has been a lot of resistance to the word spiritual, just as there has been in more recent years, there is the reluctance to call oneself a religious person. 3 I feel that the time is “ready and ripe” to define both terms in new inclusive and welcoming ways. Without belaboring it, most conventional churches are only superficially or sentimentally religious.(which by the way, are the words Jesus used in Aramaic to describe what he called being Blessed… They prefer to operate as pious social groups, for business networking, for parenting support, for reinforcing the status quo with a little sentimental story, or a passive ritual…

That’s is what conventionally passes for being religious.However, there is a deeper, more troubling dimension to be religious in our culture today…In particular, they can object to the repressive uses of theology and Scripture as agents of control that try to limit the scope of your questions, or cramp your desire to seek out your own answers.2 Just as many people say that they have out grown the image of God as the old man in heaven, sitting on a golden throne, as judge and jury over our souls, so too have many people outgrown the belief that we are sinners and need judgmental or parental authority figures to tell us what to do, and what to believe about God, life, love…I expect that most of you sitting here have encountered this and resisted it, and it is possible that you have found yourselves a little lost, or at least disheartened over the lack of choice, or the lack of open, and progressive alternatives to church in our area.It can appear as if many churches here are living in a isolated time warp or a cocoon that shuts out the need for greater acceptance or tolerance.