This video was inspired by interactions I’ve with people on Twitter who were using spiritual but not religious language, even though they felt like it was kind of negative. What if instead of focusing on being “Spiritual Not Religious” — which has a negative spin — we focused on the amazing nature of spiritual exploration today? Today people are exploring multiple sources of wisdom and inspiration. That’s the new normal…
A DIFFERENT CONVO
The popular “Spiritual, Not Religious” conversation is framed by institutions focused on the state of religions and congregational life. I don’t think this conversation and its labels – like calling people the NONES — is helpful. It focuses on what people are not doing instead of what they are. Calling a growing segment of our population NONE or DONE also creates a negative frame for religious leaders who, I think, need to embrace this open exploration as an affirmation of interest in spiritual and religious themes.
The media loves reporting on the changing face of religion with labels like the NONES (no religious affiliation) and the DONES (done with religion). It is very dramatic. But is it helpful? I don’t think so. Exploring multiple sources of wisdom and inspiration is the new normal. We need to focus on doing it well, with our friends, and in community.
Why do people answer none on a survey if they’re interested in spirituality and religions? Many of us don’t identify with a single religious affiliation because we love and are committed to exploring MULTIPLE SOURCES of wisdom and inspiration! Even if we do choose to attend or join a religious community, after going multi-source in our exploration, its hard to conceptually affilate with a single source. You can survey religious affiliation all you want, just know that when we answer NONE of the above, that says nothing about our interest in religion, spirituality, and the world’s wisdom teachings. In fact, many of us are totally into it. Working to better ourselves? To better the world? To deepen our spiritual connections and religious understandings? We’re not done. Our we’ve only just begun!
Leaders of communities that want to thrive in this age need to affirm this new reality, not embrace the gloom and doom NONE and DONE language. Once you accept this is the state of things you can focus on being a helpful SOURCE (one of many) and create SPACE for exploration of your teachings, preferably welcoming the fact that people come interested in many.
WHY THIS VIDEO?
I made this vide for two reasons.
First, I’ve seen a growing number of religious leaders (various faith traditions) on Twitter making comments about how they are exploring all sorts of spiritual teachings besides their own primary affiliation. Some are giddy like young children sneaking something exciting. Some act guilty. Others make jokes about being fractured or confused. I want my religious professional colleagues to speak up and affirm that this is the new normal.
Second, those that are not affiliating with a religion need community! Too often people explore on their own. Even if we are exploring different sources, exploring life issues and big cosmic questions is so much better when we do it with others, whether it is friends, family, or colleagues. You should be learning from the world of wisdom we have access to and it is, in my opinion, more fun and effective if you explore with a group of friends.