A man recently told me about his faith life, as people are wont to do with ministers. He said, “I’m spiritual but not religious. I want to give you my testimony about why I do not attend church….”
After marrying he joined the church in which his wife was brought up, a liberal Protestant church. He described that experience as the equivalent of getting a big warm hug. This church did not frown on dancing and drinking nor on his theological questions. He was encouraged to think critically about scripture. His questions, even his doubts, did not shock anybody. In fact, he was told that his questions made him a very good mainline Protestant.
But his marriage ended, and he began to feel that the church was more his former wife’s than his. He found himself spending Sunday mornings sleeping in, reading the New York Times or putting on his running shoes and taking off through the woods. This was his religion today, he explained. “I worship nature. I see myself in the trees and in the cicadas. I am one with the great outdoors. I find God there. And I realized that I am deeply spiritual but no longer religious.”