Thursday, July 10, 2014

Religious, Spiritual, or In a Relationship?

When I was little I watched a movie in which a character said, "I'm not religious; I'm spiritual." When he said that, my parents went, "Ahh, yup." Or something like that. And I remember it being a cool moment. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what movie it was. Maybe Reddick? I tried to find the clip on YouTube, but nothing came up.

Anyway, when I heard that, I knew the difference was important. I just didn't know what the difference was. I think I asked my parents and they tried to explain, but I don't remember what they said because I still didn't understand.

And then there's the popular saying, "Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship." 

For pretty much all my life, when people who don't believe in God have referred to my faith, they call me religious. And I always think (but don't often say), "I'm not religious; I'm spiritual." And, "It's not about religion, but my relationship with God."

But what does it really mean? Was it the actual difference? Well, let's just take a look at some definitions taken from




a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.




the quality or fact of being spiritual.
incorporeal or immaterial nature.
predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.
Often, spiritualities. property or revenue of the church or of an ecclesiastic in his or her official capacity.

Looking at both dictionary definitions of "religion" and "spirituality", I think it's safe to say I have both, or I am both religious and spiritual.

I have a set of beliefs about how the world came to be (and they are actually in line with science, contrary to popular belief...). I live by a moral code even though I'm not always good at it, but so do most people. A lot of other Christians belief what I belief, like we all believe Jesus is our Savior. And that's all it takes to be a Christian. Which is considered a religion.
And then it looks like I'm also considered spiritual because my thoughts and life tend to have that spiritual tendency or tone. I believe in a spiritual world we can't see. I believe there are spiritual forces. I belief when my body dies, my spirit will live on.

Because the church has done such a bang up job of making religion look like it's about being a good girl and not having fun and judging other people, and because of past violence in the name of God, "religious" has a negative connotation. I've told people before that I almost didn't like being grouped in with other Christians because of this, know what? I know a lot of Christians who are really cool, and who represent our God well in the fact that they are so free and full of joy and peace and life and that they care about and love people. By definition, we are religious. So what? Let's change the connotations that come with Christianity then. Call me "religious" if you want to. I 'm not going to be offended by it anymore. I mean, it's kind of vague. But it works, I guess. Want to go with "spiritual"? That's fine, too. Call me a Christian? Yeah, I follow Christ. I'm not always good at it, but that's the point of it--He covers us when were not and when we are.
So about the "relationship" part then:




a connection, association, or involvement.
connection between persons by blood or marriage.
an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
a sexual involvement; affair.
No wonder everyone prefers to call this thing we have with God a relationship and not a religion! "Relationship" is so much more intimate. Much more accurate. 
God, my Father, wants a connection with me. He wants to be involved in my life. How much is really up to me. And connected by blood? Ahh! How much more connected by blood than having someone give their blood for you?  Marriage? Check! He calls us His Bride for a reason--because marriage is a beautiful unity, and that's exactly what we have.

Let me put it this way. Yeah, we live by a moral code, and yeah we belief God created the earth, and yeah, we meet ceremoniously. But God is so much more than church on Sunday and a moral code. I'm telling you honestly, if I did not get a response back from God and see a difference in my life because of Him, I wouldn't believe in Him. Why? Why would I go to church every Sunday when I could sleep in instead if I don't get something real when I go there? Why would I choose to live the way I do if I didn't believe God wanted me to live a certain way for my own good? Why stand on my beliefs that the world calls stupid?

I see the way the world works and lives. I see the pain. I see the struggle. I see it all, and I still believe because of the relationship. The religion doesn't keep me there. Religion can so easily become routine and empty. But because God wants to have a relationship with me, this "religion" is full of life. There is not a dull moment because He is constantly moving forward and revealing mysteries to me and filling me up liken nothing in this world has ever been able to. There's a huge difference between believing God exists and believing He's crazy about me. The relationship part is huge
Call me religious or spiritual (but please never late for dinner! because, yeah, it works, but the most accurate thing to call me is "in a relationship".  

What are your thoughts? Which do you prefer to be called and why? Comment below or find me on Twitter @Je55ieMullin5 or on Facebook here!  

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