What are the distinctions between spirituality and religion?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,856
    Rev. Rock Schuler discusses the differences between spirituality and religion.

    Rock Schuler

    Rock Schuler is the Rector (Pastor) of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland. He has served as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church since 1990 after studying for the priesthood at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry in Congregational Development in 2002. In the course of his ministry, Rock has served on an Indian Reservation, in rural Wyoming, and in major suburban areas. In addition to pastoring the people of his congregation, he has been involved in community service projects to serve the homeless, refugees, and the addicted. He’s also been involved in international outreach projects in Latin America and Africa. Rock’s spiritual roots lie in the early Christian Church, in Native American spirituality, in the liturgical worship and traditions of the Episcopal Church, and most especially in his own personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. He appreciates the mystery and mysticism of the Christian faith while offering thanks for a lifelong and joyous love of Jesus. Rock, born in 1965, is from Wyoming, where he served his first two churches. He is married to Jennifer, whom he met while serving a parish outside of Philadelphia, and has two beautiful daughters, Leia and Rebecca. Rock is into science fiction and fantasy (especially "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek," "Lost," and "The Lord of the Rings"), movies, reading, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, and running.

    What are the distinctions between and religion? How are they related?

    Rock Schuler: Spirituality is being in touch with the spiritual core of who we are human beings, is to be aware of the spiritual dimension of the universe, to know God s presence in life, in every event of life permeating creation. Religion is when spiritual people come together to share their spiritual journeys, to support one another in their spiritual journeys and to make their spiritualities meaningful for people beyond themselves alone.

    Spirituality really impels fundamentally, the experience of one person. Religion is a community of people coming together, sharing their spirituality for the sake of other people. Healthy religious communities are communities where spiritual people give up themselves for the well being of others, for the life of others.

    Spirituality is wellspring of life and vitality that feeds religion. Without spirituality, religion becomes dead or self serving or even abusive and corrupt and yet religion is the way that spirituality reaches beyond the individual to be of real service to other human beings as people gather to help on another on the spiritual journey and to share their journeys with others who might be in need