spirituality outside of church

spirituality outside of church May 10, 2012

Jeff leaves church for the last time.

It is possible and I would even say necessary to have a spirituality outside of church. That’s my opinion of what a healthy church is anyway: a collective of uniquely independent spiritual pilgrims. Therefore, it comes down to how to have a healthy spirituality anyway, whether you go to church or not. Being outside the church is a valid and viable way of being spiritual.

Right now I just want to share with you the first and most important step:

Get in touch with your own spirituality! One of the first exercises my very first spiritual director had me do was to go back as far as I could remember and write my “spiritual history”. I went back to my earliest years, long before I officially became a Christian, and detected Benediction in my life. During this time I also learned about my mother’s prayers over me right after I was born, dedicating me to God. Just like Abraham was blessed before circumcision, before he received the official badge of his religion, so you were blessed before any religion or church laid its hands on you.

When you come to this understanding, then you come to realize that church is simply a community of several communities that you can flow in and out of. They are like pastures where you can go in and out and find pasture. Sometimes in. Sometimes out. Always pasture. Because wherever you are, there your pasture will be provided.

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  • Spirituality?

    What does that even mean?

    And what spirits are you talking about?

  • vikingz2000

    I hope those aren’t vultures flying above him in the air! Angels, maybe?

  • Gary

    Love it David. This one is very personal to me as I found myself walking the very walk last summer.

    My spirituality (yes…I know what that means 😉 ) has never been stronger.

  • Charles Lee, Jr.

    When we talk about “spirituality” and being “spiritual”, one of theings I remember is most people would say they are more spiritual than religious, which is something that’s actually, innately intuitive inside of us, in my opinion.

    But if you asked most people what it means to be spiritual, that become an opaque undefinable zebra of many colors…

    But it doesn’t have to stay that way in our minds, and it is actually the transformation of our sight that is becoming spiritual, much the way our Personality is a “personal reality”, our Spirituality is the “spirit reality” of our interconnected perceptions, with the Sovereign consciousness of intelligent, creative energy… a.k.a. God… The space contains the spirit, the spirit creates light-forms into time, and the light-forms become the the temples in which the creative one occupies, to explore and recreate from the experiences of exploration. Spirituality of the spirit, through human experiences… Agape, In Lak’ech… Namaste.

  • John Taylor

    Awesome! David, this is spot on!

    It just goes back to what even the Bible says about our individuality in God — that we are “members of the body in particular.” — 1 Corinthians 12:27.

  • John Taylor


    Where does the name “nakedpastor” come from?

  • Helen

    Jeff looks very chilled. I like the grazing/chewing cud/pasture concept, it’s very Gary Larson-ish.

    Oh, and other Gary, I haven’t forgotten you said you were going to comment: http://www.nakedpastor.com/2012/04/12/the-colorful-seamless-robe-of-jesus/

    I’m guessing you’re digging deep !

  • “nakedpastor” stands for me, as a pastor, baring my soul… being honest, vulnerable, authentic and open… at least trying to be.

  • Gary

    I wish it was me digging deep Helen…but in truth my delay is nothing more than a faulty memory…LOL

    Still though these verses to me are one of the keys to understanding judgment and it’s temporal context. Verse 11 makes it clear that it is through Christ that we have redemption. The following verses through the first part of verse 15 illustrates how only the work which is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ will have eternal value. But the latter part of verse 15 is so very clear. Even those who do not build upon this foundation will not be lost. Paul clearly believed (as do I) that they would be saved through the cleansing power of God’s fire.

    Some believe this will be a literal fire as in a temporal but very real physical torment in hell, where others believe it is the purifying, all consuming knowledge, that all will obtain when encountering the living God face to face as it were. I personally am ok with either understanding as a decent case can be made for both. But what to me is very clear in these verses is that even those who do not build on the foundation of Jesus Christ in this life…will still be saved eventually.

    I am copying these verses again here for those who will be confused from my out of context posting here. Thanks for reminding me of our discussion.

    1 Corinthians 3:10-15
    10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

    11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

    12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

    13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

    14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

    15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

  • Helen

    Thanks Gary, the ‘go to Bible verse guy’. It was once put to me that the ‘gold, silver, previous stones, wood, hay, stubble’ could mean that there is hierarchy in the next world/heaven?

  • TheKris

    I have seen a generation that seems determined to build a “spiritual” life as loners. The Biblical picture of the church is of a committed and sustained community NOT ” a community of several communities that you can flow in and out of.” If you think about it, how will such a totally fluid community “assault the gates of hell”?

    Some may have a calling to stand on the periphery – at least for a season – but like singleness, I think this is a special group and a special calling.

    Not to deny that we don’t need to grow in our personal walk as well, just that it is not an “either/or” dichotomy.

  • Gary

    My spiritual life, though presently not in a traditional church, most certainly is not life as a “loner”. My background is very fundamental…and the churches I have spent my life in teaching and preaching are very toxic places.

  • Hey, Gary! Helen’s comment reminds me you didn’t answer my question either!

    Just teasing. There are only so many hours in a day.