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Is God Incompatible with “Spirituality”?

January 31, 2013

ImageBack in September, a Catholic priest in Southampton caused an outcry by banning a yoga class from using his church hall, claiming it was incompatible with the Catholic faith. When this was reported on BBC South, I thought the teacher’s comment was very illuminating: “this is just a spiritual exercise, nothing to do with religion”.

How did that happen? When did “religion” and “spirituality” become separated? Is it that in most people’s mind, “religion” has to do with rules and rituals – useful for giving some structure to weddings and funerals, but nothing to do with the supernatural?

This is a very sad misunderstanding. Admittedly, a lot of church activities could probably be thought of as rather unspiritual – but that’s not how it should be. The Christian faith claims to put you in touch with the most spiritual reality there is: God!

There’s nothing more spiritual than getting to know Jesus; there is nothing more spiritual than spending time in God’s presence – all other spiritual exercises pale away next to befriending the Creator, the Personal Divine Power who rules over everything that exists. So why do so many people assume that church has nothing to do with spirituality?

Obviously, part of the problem is that they’ve never actually experienced Christian worship at its best, when human spirits commune with the Ultimate Reality; and part of the problem is that not all church services help you do that. We so easily fall into routine and habits, even in the spiritual realm – and it’s as damaging there as it is in marriage or parent-child relationships.

Because the biggest difference is that “spiritual” activities like Yoga and Reiki assume that the spiritual realm is just there for us to use and tap into on demand – like air and water, impersonal and available at our bidding. But that’s where they go wrong: God the Creator isn’t subject to us; he is a personal Being with his own will and demands, and we can’t control him. Instead, we should find out how to relate to him, and allow him to control us. Then we would find that he wants us to get to know him personally, and that he became a human being and died on a cross just to make that relationship possible. No yoga classes or other spiritual exercises will ever beat that offer!

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From → Christianity, Faith

6 Comments
  1. http://newauthoronamazon.wordpress.com permalink

    Your article shocked the daylights out of me … when did the divide come about … everything is about God call it religion or spirituality. In fact it is religion that tends to divide people as per class and creed whereas spirituality tends to teach us of the Oneness of us all and that the same God resides in all of us. We are all connected via our mind and our thoughts for the same God is in all of us but it is only the seeker of this spiritual wealth that may find that which he seeks. It is possible to raise your vibration to match that of your maker …. so go and do so. Read my book MasterMind.

    • Thanks for your comment, but I think you’ve misunderstood me! There’s a huge divide between “religion” (man’s attempts at reaching God) and true spirituality (fellowship with God) – but it’s only through Jesus that we can enter into that fellowship. God isn’t in any of us until we give ourselves to Jesus – our sinfulness keeps him apart from us. So I won’t be buying your book (and for the record, approving this comment does not mean that I endorse it in any way); the New Testament gives me all the wisdom I need to connect to God!

      • http://newauthoronamazon.wordpress.com permalink

        man … you are high handed … I am not asking for your endorsement and therefore will not approve this comment. There are enough fish in the sea that I should waste my time with loser mentalities. Spirituality is all about seeing the goodness in people around you and dogmatic people like you cannot enter into it.

      • http://newauthoronamazon.wordpress.com permalink

        From now on I shall not talk of my book .. but I truly enjoy an intelligent dialogue. I am not a Christian so did not understand your comment about giving yourself to Christ right away ….. and it has been all these days until today I truly understood the meaning of “giving yourself to Jesus” as Jesus was a son of God … as we all are …. we must love all the people of the world as Jesus did and follow the lessons He taught us through example. Just this morning as I was talking to God … I told Him .. please do not allow any wrong knowledge through my pen … I wish to only speak the truth. I accept this as my reality and am confident that I come from his love. I just had to share the conclusion I had arrived at …. sparked by your comment. I always think things through and when I have a question to which I want the right answer .. I simply go within and ask God for it and sooner or later it comes.

  2. I thought spirituality was about connecting with the spiritual? I spent some time this morning with the Creator of the universe; that’s what spirituality is all about. And as for being high-handed, well – no more than Jesus, who said he was the only way to God. Being dogmatic isn’t necessarily a bad thing when eternal Truths are involved!

  3. Thanks for your thoughts – I also want to encourage intelligent dialogue,
    and I’m sorry if I didn’t make sense. Good lesson for me there! However,
    “giving yourself to Jesus” is a bit more than just following his example
    (which we’re not able to do, anyway – are you able to love your enemies? Not
    many people are!). It means admitting that we are imperfect and in need of
    new life, and giving ourselves to Jesus as our Lord and Master. Not
    metaphorically speaking but in reality – because Jesus is still well and
    alive, having risen from the dead. He’s the only one who’s done that, and
    that’s why I want to belong to him! He is the Son of God, by nature God, and
    we can become children of God by receiving new life from him. But we’re not
    all “sons of God” – not unless we allow Jesus to take our sinfulness and
    give us eternal life in exchange.
    This might be completely new to you, so why don’t you take time to think
    this through as well, and ask God to reveal Jesus to you as well? As you
    said, Jesus did love everybody – he still does – and wants us to get to know
    him!

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