Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

water and wind

What does a middle way between religion and spirituality look like? Religion without authentic spirituality is empty at best, abusive at worst. But Thomas Keating wrote that though the spiritual life doesn’t need to be felt, it does need to be practiced. The daily practice of our spirituality is our religion, whether personal or denominational, but as we become increasingly disenchanted with our religion, we are taking an increasingly passive role in our spirituality, letting the religious structures that have stood for centuries around Christianity fall away. Jesus has two critical conversations back to back in John 3 and 4. One is with a Pharisee named Nicodemus and the other with an unnamed Samaritan woman. Both Nicodemus and the woman have questions for Jesus about the nature of God and worship, and both are so limited in their thinking that the symbols Jesus uses to break them free–water and wind–completely escape them at first. For Nicodemus, Jesus presents the water of baptism as the cleansing and practice of an active spirituality, but one that must be based in the wind, the constant and unknowable movement and breath of spirit. For the woman, water becomes the living water that like wind and spirit is always flowing, in motion, and will usher in true worship that knows no mountain or limited space. To follow the middle Way is to be born again: to drink living water, to blow about without needing to understand every principle and process–yet at the same time, following a daily practice, a worship in spirit and truth that constantly brings God’s presence into sharp and active focus. It’s the only Way to the Father: the middle way of water and wind.

Message delivered @ theeffect, 3/25/12. Here for audio message.

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