I love a new year – it brings with it so many new encounters and experiences, not least of these a group of new friends at my place of study. Don’t we love first years? There is always the exception to the rule, but generally first year students in any institution or area of study enter in with the same “I’m going to impress” slash “I’m going to hide my nerves” slash “I hope they like me” attitudes. In a theological college, this all falls under one heading of “I hope they think I’m spiritual”.
This morning, Jay (my fellow youth worker) and I (and by that I mean Jay, not so much me) were doing some video interviews for a sermon I’m preparing. It requires some people to be somewhat critical of Christianity and religion. Long story short, some first years refused because they felt everything should give glory to God, and speaking critically about Christianity does not bring glory to God. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? [These clips, ultimately, will bring glory to God in the way they will be used with the sermon].
I’m trusting this does not offend those who felt this way, and my blogs are always simply an outlet for my thoughts in hopes that I will at very least inspire people to think, even if they disagree with me. But here are my thoughts… isn’t being ‘over spiritual’ often the greatest enemy of ‘true spirituality’ or more importunity, or being an example of Christ that a lost, broken world can follow?
I’ll be honest – I’m not the kind of spiritual that religion likes. Even as a Christian, I find Christianity a little weird. I think the things we say sound strange, the things we do look strange, and the way we interact with others, possibly more than anything, is a little strange. Don’t get me wrong – I know that we are called to be unique. We’re called to stand out, to be salt and light, to not conform, to set an example that others can follow. But that’s exactly the problem I have with ‘overs-spirituality’: It makes us LOOK like we’re standing out, but actually all that stands out is our oddness, rather than our example; it makes us LOOK like we’re salt and light, but we’re actually just some flavoring and a candle; it’s makes us LOOK like we’re anti-conformist, but actually we’re just conforming to something that we make look strange. Overspirituality, in my unspiritual opinion, is the greatest form of pseudo-spirituality.
So, why exactly am I on my soap box?
I am passionate about the church becoming a powerful force that shows the world a better life, rather than an institution that the world laughs at. Eradicating over-spiritual (is that the wrong word? should we rather say weird-spirituality?) mindsets in our generation is a big… if not the biggest.. part to this.
Let’s stop being weird. Please?