Sunday 9 September 2012

Is there a place for Spirituality in the church?

This afternoon at the Synod/Presbytery meeting we had a session on "Passions". Over lunch some of us had been in conversation with Uniting Church president, Andrew Dutney. One of the topics we talked about was how we can help people identify their passions and their calling rather than boxing people into already existing pigeon holes. So, I was quite excited about the following session and finding some like-minded people with whom to share our ideas and hopes.

At the beginning of the Passions time we were told that there were different topics on the tables from which to choose. I spent some time browsing. I was looking for something that was vaguely around the theme of Spirituality. I couldn't find what I was looking for. There were many important topics, but they were all based on commissions and groupings that already exist within the church. A few people asked me what I was looking for and one person jokingly responded, "Spirituality - what do we want that in the church for?"

I decided to be proactive and move to the table labelled "Other". I called out an invitation for others to join with me in talking about Spirituality. No takers! I was once warned that the area of Spirituality is a lonely one in the church. I certainly felt isolated and alone. I began to search for my second preference and ended up on a table talking about interfaith dialogue.

During my drive home, I reflected on this experience. Is Spirituality something that should be integrated into everything or something to which we should devote special attention? What is a church without spirituality? Are we missing something? So, if Andrew's approach of helping people identify their passions and then developing ministries based on them is more life giving, where will my passion for Spirituality lead me? Who knows?!!


  1. Potentially a dumb question, but define spirituality? I would suggest one reason I am not specifically drawn to it is because I can't put my hands around it (per se)

  2. Not a dumb question at all, Trav. I think you've hit the nail right on the head, so to speak. Spirituality is about the inner journey that tries to find meaning. In the Christian tradition we might say it is our seeking to find communion with God. This is not something that is measurable, tangible or for which you can strategically plan. I think this is why the church struggles with where to put it, but it is so central to what we are about.

  3. It seems to me that spirituality is what lies at the heart of our religious beliefs. This what lies within and around our Christian experience. We have an organisational experience of Church but within this, and sometimes outside of it, there is this much deeper experience we call spiritual.
    The fact that there were few takers for a discussion on the topic from within the Synod is quite sad, but that of itself, is no reason to stop trying. It is only in discussion around difficult topics that we can really grow.