Spiritual or Religious?

Yesterday I attended a led conference by Diana Butler Bass. She is presenting new ideas on the state of the church and why there is hope for Christianity. One of her premises is a Newsweek/Washington Post poll from 2005 that states that 55% of the people in this country describe themselves as religious AND spiritual.

Without going into detail about her understandings of religious and spiritual (you should try to attend one of her conferences, if you can) share with us five thoughts ideas or practices that you consider to be “religious.” Then share with us five thoughts, ideas, or practices that you consider to be “spiritual.”

1. I grew up thinking that religion was about “God” – but sometimes, these days, I wonder if religion has become more about making money and holding together an institution than it is about God.

2. Following rules.
3. Many ways to be religious.
4. Going to Church.
5. Practices to grow my relationship with God.


1. My experiences with God/the divine
2. Meditation and silence
3. That which gives meaning to my experiences in life within the context of my faith
4. Music, may include any number of religious hymns
5. Yoga


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
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11 Responses to Spiritual or Religious?

  1. Purple says:

    #1 Religious. The church spends an amazing amount of time and energy in buildings. Yes, they must be safe and maintained. However, for some, I am sure "the building" is their main focus.

  2. altar ego says:

    Reading your succinct responses illuminates a difference between the two: religion seems to be things external, while spirituality is more things internal. Hmmm. I'll need to ponder this some more. Sure wish I was at that conference!

  3. Jan says:

    I liked AE's observation of external and internal–probably that's it. Anyway, thanks for this FF. I'm glad that I'll be hearing DBB next month! So glad you're there now.

  4. angela says:

    I was wondering where to put Yoga and Tai Chi–to me they are energy work and yet I'd put them with meditation too. They definitely sooth the mind.

  5. Muthah+ says:

    Sistah, are you tired? Are you discouraged? That is what religion will do to you if you don't have the spiritual underpinning it all. I think any of who are ordained get in to this business because we want to deal with the spiritual and we end up having to deal with the religious.

  6. RevDrKate says:

    Each answer in both categories offers much food for thought.

  7. Sally says:

    I like it, thank you 😉

  8. mmmm i forgot music… so very important that one is.

  9. Barbara B. says:

    This was a really great F5! You should post more about the conference! 🙂

  10. Sarah+ says:

    Hey Mompriest! I was at DBB on Friday but not on Thursday. She was amazing!! Glad to see this post.

  11. hip2b says:

    Love your lists. lots of food for thought

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