Religion and Spirituality
Imagine what a different world it would be, if ‘ordinary’ people believed that each one of us has equal access to the great creative power that is often called God.
It occurs to me that not everyone knows might know what the difference between religion and spirituality is. For me, religion is more structured and hierarchical while spirituality is more open, more personal, and usually a result of a direct connection without intermediaries. In this sense, spirituality seems more feminine and religion seems more masculine. Spirituality seems to be a result of receptivity while religion usually comes from an official structure.
As students in seminary, we learned that the root word of religion, re-ligre, means to bind (ligre), to reconnect the human to the divine. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz defines religion as a cultural system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion. Spirituality seems to be a natural evolution in culture and history — the dawning awareness of an indwelling capability to access the sacred without formal intermediaries. This evolutionary idea offers a parallel to the great cultural and social breakthrough achieved by Martin Luther, particularly the insight that human beings have the capability to read the word of God for themselves without going through priests, officially proscribed learning processes, or approved translations.
As I look around at the changes in society, I believe that the coming spiritual revolution is one of the great historical transformations that will change life on our planet. Just as the Web has created worldwide access to information, the new spirituality allows personal access to direct communication and knowledge of the divine. The importance of this idea cannot be overestimated. In the field of communication, there is a concept called “gatekeepers.” This term implies that a higher authority needs to give permission for access, officially “editors, producers, and other media managers who function as message filters, making decisions about what types of messages actually get produced for particular audiences.” (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos.)
Knowing that each one of us has equal access to the awesome power of God can transform every aspect of our lives.
2009. Media & Culture, Bedford St. Martin’s. Boston