(Christian Century) Lillian Daniel–The limits of self-made religion

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.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

2 comments on “(Christian Century) Lillian Daniel–The limits of self-made religion

  1. driver8 says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I’m amazed to see the controversy this has caused, especially the multiple “How dare you, I’m offended” posts. I would have loved to have seen a stronger Scriptural grounding (eg Hebrew 10:25) but that might have upset folks even more.

  2. Sarah says:

    Tee hee . . . loved this quote:
    [blockquote]I presume that like most children they are parroting back their parents’ values. The children see God in nature—and because they are children and have bigger eyes and high voices, they do so in much cuter ways. “I think there will be doggies and birdies and grandma’s candy bowl in heaven.” But let’s take that idea a little further. Will there be sharks and snakes in heaven too? How about vampire bats? How do you like that, you little junior theologians?[/blockquote]