Spiritual But Not Religious
I read an article recently from CNN.com about a growing segment of people called the “I’m spiritual but not religious” crowd. These people have shunned organized religion and instead have opted for a do-it-yourself approach to faith. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they’re “more spiritual than religious.” The phrase is now so commonplace that it’s spawned its own acronym (“I’m SBNR”) and Facebook page: SBNR.org. Some have even called SBNR a movement.
Heather Cariou of New York sums up her beliefs this way, “I don’t need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist, or Catholic, or Muslim,” she says. “When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it.”
But is there a danger in all of the SBNR talk? I would say, YES. As human beings, there are two basic needs we have when it comes to “spirituality”: 1) The Truth, 2) Accountability to the Truth. All paths are not equal. There is Truth. Spirituality is not like ordering it your way from Burger King. And once we know the Truth, we tend to stray (like sheep) so we need accountability to the Truth.
And this is why the Church is so important. It’s not about “organized religion” or the “institution.” No, it’s about Jesus. It’s about knowing him, loving him, believing in him and being his disciple. To accomplish this, Jesus gave us the Church. We must remember that the Church was his idea not ours. The Church is the bearer of Truth (Jesus) and the system of accountability to him (discipleship).
Let me point out, too, that the Church was Jesus’ idea. You simply cannot love Jesus and hate the Church. Jesus loves the Church. Jesus died for the Church. If you follow Jesus, by definition, you love the Church.
We should not be ashamed of the way we “organize” ourselves “religiously.” We should embrace it and share it as a superior way of “spiritually” connecting to Jesus.
Do you know someone in the SBNR crowd? Maybe someone who says, “I don’t have to go to church to love God.” Why don’t you invite them to church with you? Why don’t you invite them to experience Jesus in a whole new and fresh way?