The Difference Between Religion and Spirituality

While the Christ Path blog goes through a re-visioning process, we will be sharing some of the thought-provoking videos and articles being published about Occupy Spirituality on the newly-launched Book Club…like Deborah Arca’s interview with Matthew Fox, for example…

(snip)

DB ….As you were listening to these young people, and as you know from your own experience, the interspiritual is very important too: that younger people are less concerned about following the doctrines, and less concerned about doctrines in general, but very much interested in bringing in different influences from different traditions that they find meaningful for them into their own spirituality. So there is something about interspirituality and also intergenerationality in this movement that you find compelling.

MF  That’s right. To me what distinguishes religion from spirituality is experience. The spiritual dimension of religion is the experiential dimension. Another word for that is mysticism.As the Psalmist says, “Taste and see that God is good.” You have to do the tasting. So that is the dimension of spirit that’s brought into the struggle against injustice.

And we do find this generation is very ecumenical. And that’s one of the questions we asked in our survey, too. Time and again they talk about how they draw from many traditions. One 28-year-old young woman said that she was raised Protestant Christian but became Muslim – and now that she is Muslim, she feels freer to relate to Jesus. In fact, she said, “I call myself a Muslim whose Sheikh is Jesus.” Now that’s a whole new language; I’ve never heard a statement like that before! It shakes up Islam and it shakes up Christianity. And that’s where this generation is: they’re not tied to a particular orthodoxy, as you say. The doctrine does not come first. The practice comes first, the practice of justice and love…..

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About Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox – author, educator, activist, and spiritual pioneer – has spent the past 40 years doing the culture-changing work to lay the foundation for the values of a new generation. As today’s leading voice of the ancient mystical Christian tradition of creation spirituality, he has helped to midwife the birth of a movement that celebrates embodied spiritual practice, oneness with creation, personal awareness, educational empowerment, and social, environmental, and gender justice.


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