But their impulse to keep the label simple also may be related to the motivations of "interspiritual" students.  A lot of Christians are trying to be spiritual but not religious, too.  They really want to avoid anything that could divide Christians from other Christians, and to get at the heart and essence of the faith without getting bogged down in details.  They know the "devil" is in those details.

There's no getting around the devil in the details -- we all have our particularities and peculiarities, both in religions and as individuals, no matter how we try to deny or avoid them.  But hopefully our desire to be "interspiritual" -- to connect deeply with each other at the level of the soul -- will carry us past those devilish details, and into the heart of the Great Spirit we all share.


This article is reprinted with permission from The Center For Progressive Christianity ( 

Jim Burklo is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor who serves as the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He is the author ofBirdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians (2008) and Open Christianity: Home By Another Road (2000). He served as pastor of Sausalito (CA) Presbyterian Church, and of College Heights UCC Church in San Mateo, CA, served as ecumenical Protestant campus minister at Stanford University, and was the founder and executive director of the interfaith Urban Ministry of Palo Alto. His Masters of Divinity degree is from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Jim regularly blogs at The Center for Progressive Christianity (

11/4/2009 5:00:00 AM