Why religion?


Blogger Wade G. writes in his blog that

despite my non-belief in traditional forms of Christianity and orthodox notions of God, I am drawn to religion for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I like something about it. I like the language of the sacred and even the term "God" has power for me.
I can so relate to that. I posted a blog entry today, which I later deleted, in which I reflected on my own frustration in being torn between my attraction to Christianity and my feelings of being repelled by its orthodoxy. But I decided that what I wrote was rather boring.

I also like the language of the sacred, but I soon get defensive when that language is literalized and formulated into a belief system with propositions that are supposed to be affirmed as part of worship. In John Shuck's blog there has been a discussion about the membership criteria for joining a Presbyterian church. The question that comes up in my mind is what it means to join a faith community if the requirement is that you be a committed Christian. Is a commitment to Christian faith about affirming a belief in some ancient set of formulas? Or is it more about commitment, relationship, and community? Or is it something else entirely?


liberal pastor said...

The membership vows at Open Circle:

At Open Circle we define ourselves as a community of spiritual seekers. This means that we want to be part of a community where questions can be raised and new information shared so that we can grow spiritually and live lives that are more meaningful, more loving, and more joyful. Do you wish to join us on this journey?

We are a Christian congregation with a particular denominational heritage, the Church of the Brethren. We value and respect our heritage and our roots. But our vision includes inviting into our community peoples of many spiritual and faith traditions. We believe that our lives are enriched by these differences and to the extent that we can learn to listen to each other and learn from each other, we will grow personally and our community will be a living laboratory of tolerance and inclusiveness. Do you want to be part of this kind of spiritual community?

In order to fulfill our mission to be a progressive presence in the south metro, we have programs and ministries that depend on the support of our time, talent, and financial resources. If everyone in our community contributes something of themselves we can effectively fulfill our mission. Are you willing to give of yourself in order to help us fulfill our mission?

I suppose the content of the vows depends on the congregation and tradition.

BTW, your deleted post appeared for a time via Google Reader. I almost replied in my blog: Frustrated Seeker meet Frustrated Pastor. It can be quite challenging to be a church trying to attract people - like you - who aren't even sure there is value in being in church.

Mystical Seeker said...

Liberal Pastor,

I like the way those vows are constructed.

Gary said...

You might want to read the book God Without Religion. In it the author describes the concept of spiritual colloquiums, which is exactly like what you are seeking i.e. an open spiritual community.

Mystical Seeker said...

Gary, thanks for the reference. I'll check it out.

Philip said...

As you know I have also been writing a little about this topic. I experienced many positive things by attending church growing up. That is one reason I am drawn to it now. You know the Sangha (your local community of followers or attendees) is one of the three jewels of Buddhism. By the way, thanks for the link to my blog.

D said...

I am drawn to religion for the same reason I am drawn to sunsets, thunderstorms, my infant son and the fog of San Francisco.


Mystical Seeker said...


That's a great answer to the question. Simple, concise, and to the point.