The problem with being religious but not spiritual

Among other things, churches without a spiritual vitality are reporting declining numbers.


Men would rather watch Monday Night Football than go shopping. Eating too many Hardees Monster Thickburgers is linked to obesity. Texting while driving is a bad idea.

There are times when research findings are so obvious they are almost beyond questioning. So it is puzzling that growing evidence showing the importance of congregations cultivating the spiritual lives of the faithful is so routinely ignored.

Puzzling, and damaging to the health of many of the nation’s churches, especially those most in need of revival.

Even though research shows  spiritually alive churches are the most likely to grow, the percentage of U.S. congregations reporting high spiritual vitality declined from 43 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2010, according to the latest Faith Communities Today survey.

The drop was accompanied by a decline in the emphasis given to spiritual practices such as prayer and scripture reading across nearly all groups aside from white evangelicals and congregations with 1,000 or more attenders.

The most notable slide occurred among white mainline Protestant denominations, which have been aging and losing members faster than any other major religious group.

The reasons are varied: Declining financial health in the recession saps morale; aging memberships are less likely to embrace new forms of worship; some denominations have shifted emphasis away from personal piety toward social service programs.

It’s not, however, because they don’t know any better.

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2 responses to “The problem with being religious but not spiritual”

  1. Here’s my opinion: At age 51 I learned true Christianity with my introduction to the Catholic Church via rosary beads given to me by my husband; prior to that, I lived a largely secular existence with occasional bible readings when the going got rough. I believe the Catholic Church, with it’s vast spiritual resources, organization, practices, saints, EVERYTHING, is the only way to true spirituality, at least for morons such as myself who needed to be dealt a ten thousand pound cross to WAKE UP. It was the easiest thing I ever did once I found the rosary. I just wish the Catholic Church made it a little easier for people to FIND information on how to join it. I couldn’t find out info on the RCIA program for six months; my cradle Catholic heretical husband wasn’t even aware of how it worked. A little advertising would help. But I know it’ll never happen. I think the Orthodox and the Catholics need to join together. Christened Greek Orthodox I learned a little about my religion which is disorganized Catholicism, missing a few key points which can be remedied and emphasizing the resurrection instead of the cross. I think if that’s fixed, we’d be set. My opinion, please minimize the knocks! Thanks.

  2. Joanc57

    You found the rosary now you need to find the truth !! >> the Way , the Truth and the Life in the person of Jesus Christ !
    John 14 : 6

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