“In This Corner, Religion” – “In This Corner, Spirituality” – Religion VS Spirituality – Yeah, I’m Gonna Go There!

The world is a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell “God” with the wrong blocks. – Edwin Arlington Robinson

I can no longer say that I am a religious man.  I am a spiritual man, with religion in my spirit, but I am not a regular participant in organized religion. 

I haven’t fancied being a part of any large organized groups in general, since high school.  Therefore, part of my reason for not being religious is that I do not like to be a part of large groups.

Being a religious man is like saying that you are an outdoorsman, a romantic man, or even a party man.  The driving words before ‘man’ implies regularly participating in that specific sort of activity, outdoor sports, romance, and partying, respectively.

I am not a religious man because I do not regularly go to church. 

Giphy - Catholic
Photo – Giphy – Catholic

I stopped going on a regular basis in 2014 after my mother passed.  When caring for her, I attended Catholic mass, our family religion, out of respect for her.  I have years prior moved away from the Catholic church.  I came back to respect your religion.  Though my mother was religious, she was also spiritual.  One does not have to negate the other though it often does.

I tried taking my mother to other kinds of churches, but she would make it abundantly clear to everyone who she’d meet that she was Catholic, and the church’s religion was not her ‘real religion’.  She would emphatically state that ‘she was born and raised, Catholic’.  She was a typical New Orleans Creole devout Catholic.

New Orleans has one of the largest Black Catholic populations in the US.  The ‘Black Catholic Mass’ is more like Baptist services, in that the choir sings gospel songs, mixed with traditional ones, the churches and priests are more vocal on social justice issues, and the homily is more like a sermon than Catholic churches, here in Colorado.  The churches are still pretty much segregated today.  There are white Catholic parishes, Black parishes, and even Creole ones.


Sermon vs. Homily – Ask The Difference – Published: 27 Mar, 2018

A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture.

A sermon is an oration, lecture, or talk by a member of a religious institution or clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation, and practical application. Read More


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Photo Josh Applegate

Denver does have an African Catholic Church, in the Parish of Curé d’Ars, but it caters to West Africans mainly and conducts most masses in French.  I once attended there and felt as out of place as I did in the 99% white Catholic churches here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giffer - Holiness Unto The Lord EfPb
Photo – Giffer – Holiness Unto The Lord EfPb

I have attended non-denominational churches prior to my years of caregiving, attending various churches, including Unity, Baptist, AME, and other types.  I was never an active member in any, except for the Unity Church, for a few years.  I attended various churches because I found unique value in each.

  • In Unity Church, I loved that they meditate in each service, but they seemed to focus too much on prosperity and not enough on community ministries.
  • In the Catholic faith, I loved how intimately they prayed to God, in regular mass, novena mass, rosary, and at home and work. But, the mass is very scripted and operatic even.  Outside of New Orleans, and probably Africa, the congregations are primarily white.
  • In Baptist churches, I enjoyed the ‘joyful noise’, theatric-like energy, and food, but was uncomfortable with congregants flexing their scripture prowess and the constant pressure to tithe.
  • The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) is rather new to me. I appreciate how it focuses on social justice and personal development, in its own Baptist-lite

Now, I am churched-out.  I attend only when I want to, but pray, meditate, praise, and read every day, and throughout the day.  This works better for me because I find that I visit the spiritual realm more often than once a week.


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Photo – Ian Espinosa

It may be foolish that I am ‘going there’, blogging on Religion versus Spirituality.  But I love being on the edge of controversy, namely, to provoke conversation…to inspire progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


First off, I believe that one can be both Religious and Spiritual.  One does not have to negate the other, though it often does.

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Photo – Twinsfisch

My mother was a very devout Catholic, but she was also spiritual in that she prayed every day, multiple times a day, and was a real believer.  I am primarily spiritual but need the electrifying feeling of religion occasionally.

I respect anyone who worships a deity, even if it’s different from God as I know God. 

The problem comes when a person does not.  …When they lack the ability to honor and surrender to anything or anyone greater than themselves.

I am open to all religions as evidenced by my attending so many different types of services.  But I fear getting caught into group-think, and religious fanaticism.  I don’t mix well with those who try to impose their religious standards on me.  I don’t do that.

Sometimes I am misinterpreted as pushing my beliefs on others because I write and speak about a more personal form of spirituality than tradition, with passion and conviction.  But I am not trying to convince or recruit anyone.  I’ve tried that before and expelled a great deal of useless energy.

Giphy - Peace and Calm
Photo – Giphy – Peace and Calm

My spirituality runs deep though and is directly connected to my experiences in life.  It is connected to finding myself alone, often sick, and in despair.  At times, it was as if God took everything and everyone away from me so that I would only have him to run to for refuge.  I did.  It worked.

I have had a very tumultuous life, full of highs and ditch-level lows.  I have feared for my life and safety in several episodes.  I thought I had everything but still felt poor and unhappy.  Now, I am relatively poor, but feel I have everything.  I have faced death a time or two, as well.  Recently, I was exposed to Coronavirus but never got sick.

These Life Seasons have molded me into the very spiritual, but not a religious man that I am today.  I am meditative and often feel and experience the presence of God.  I experience God far beyond words, and physical things.  I cannot explain my spirit any better than that.

I am spiritually in multiple dimensions.  I find traditional religion to be one-dimensional.  It was an important phase of my spiritual evolution, that I visit occasionally for structure, emotional and nostalgic reasons.


But I don’t dislike religion or people who are religious.  I dislike evil people.  People who are greedy, dishonest, untrustworthy, and who rarely act as they speak.

These types are my nemeses.   The problem lies in the fact that nearly every evil person with whom I’ve had clashes, were religious.  This has happened repeatedly in my life, with my family members, friends, and colleagues.  My spirit seems to invite religious challengers.  I never interpret such evil-inspired challenges as one religious dogma against another, though.  I see them as simply good versus evil.

And, once I experience such evil from a person, in the name of the Lord, I cancel out the religious prowess image of them and replace it in my mind with an image of an evil person.  That’s because, in my experiences, most ‘bad people’ have come into my life adorned in scriptural wrapping.

They probably approached me with scriptures because the Bible and its verses (or any religious book) are rarely challenged.  It is a bit of a shield for them.  Because if a person with bad intent initiates conversations with religious diatribe, one is more likely not to challenge them, and therefore will be distracted from their true intent.


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Photo – Aaron Burden

I joked the other day because I have friends who will ask, for example, ‘You know what John 3:1-21 says, huh”?  And, I usually have no clue what it says.  Sometimes, I just say, ‘yes’.  I don’t know the bible like that though.  Didn’t I tell you that I was raised as a Catholic?

Sometimes it feels like people spit out scripture to feel me out, religiously, not spiritually. 

Spiritually, I know that the God in me exudes.  Some pick this spirit up intensely as soon as I enter a room.  But religious hypocrites are more interested in elevating their stature and deflating others, using bible scripture as a litmus test.  Their interest often lies in vindicating their beliefs.

Kevy does not play that. 

I cancel out their religious facades, like stripping a military metal away from a soldier’s uniform.  They alert me that I may just be dealing with an evil person when they excessively spit scripture and praise the Lord, a bit too much to be genuine.  Further dealings with such people usually prove their ill intent.  Eventually, we part ways both knowing that dog doesn’t hunt here.


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Photo – Dj Paine

Just last week I have one of those experiences.  I was asked if I was born again.  I hate this question because I feel that the definition of ‘born again’ is subjective.  I am sure that my definition will never satisfy a Pentecostal Baptist anyway.  I was probed on this question by an acquaintance.  I consider this to be the holy grain of religiously radical questions.

I gave my answer explaining that I have faced death several times and how the Lord had healed me.  I emphatically stated that I was a believer.  But this wasn’t good enough.  I did not say that Jesus Christ is my savior.  I was then asked if I made a very specific plea for Jesus to come into my heart.

I responded like a smartass say that the Lord was always in my heart that I just had to find him, and I feel that I did.  My answers still weren’t enough, then I was probed about bible verses.  This conversation got heated and exploded with the same person praised Trump for doing ‘God’s work’ and claimed that sinners have been working against him since he came in office.  My acquaintance justified his statement by stating that the Lord may use an “imperfect man” to lead the flock.

I had enough at this point.  I had to separate from this conversation because I know that whenever an evangelistic person justifies and makes excuses for the evil and sins of another person in the church or leadership, they themselves are usually evil.

This is a ‘tell’ for me.  I hear this logic often.  I was told the same thing when I told a friend that their were too many sinners in the church.  The same that God uses sinners and that I should be forgiving.  Another person told me about churches, and congregations having “spirits”, sometimes bad ones, that reflect the spirit of the pastor.

I really despise others who are religiously conformational.  I see it as their attempt to vindicate their own religious convictions.  I am not having that.  God gave us free will to choose, and if there is any choice that I will direct, it will be my belief in God.

It is clear to me that Spirituality is far more expansive than religion. 

Religious provides infrastructure, rules, and makes one accountable for knowing what is right and wrong.  But this is the very part that gets subjection, opinionated and corrupted by egos, power, control, and money.

Giphy - Spirituality
Photo – Giphy – Spirituality

Spirituality goes beyond rules.  It goes beyond words.  It is an energy, vibration and oneness with God and all that is God, including love, nature, self-care, honesty, caring, and tranquility.

Spiritually, you can enjoy these virtues, and be a bit Religious too, like me.

But it may be more challenging to be one-dimensionally Religious and to be multi-dimensionally Spiritual at the same time.  Kevy


What’s Religious To Me

Giphy - World Religions
Photo – Giphy – World Religions
  • There is definitely a right or wrong way to approach religion. It has many rules.
  • Religions are based upon the lives, teachings, and beliefs of a historical or archetypal figure (e.g., Christ, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, Muhammad).
  • Religion is objective is often an object-experience. There is usually a greater focus on external objects: the church, scriptures, rituals, observances, etc.  Religion is equivalent to object-referral where attention is placed upon the objects in your experience.
  • Religion is organized, structured, and frequently rule-based to govern the behavior of its members.
  • Religious institutions guard their practices and values, holding rigidly history.
  • Religious beliefs can isolate those who may not share their views or interpretations.
  • Religion is about faith, belief in something based upon unconditional acceptance of the religion’s teachings.

What’s Spiritual To Me

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Photo – Mohamed Nohassi
  • There is no right or wrong way to approach spirituality. The rules are relative to the individual, guided by their connection with divine energy, or the presence of God.
  • Spirituality is more often based upon the practical application of the teachings. Spiritual aspirants “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. They seek what they sought.”
  • Spirituality is a Subjective Experience. It leans more toward self-referral or the internalization of your awareness of your soul.
  • Spirituality is an inward journey that involves a shift in awareness rather than some form of external activity. Spirituality is much more about inner understanding than outer worship.
  • Spirituality is less focused on the rigidly traditional approach and favors an evolutionary mentality.
  • Spirituality recognizes that the aspirant is on a “pathless path” of self-discovery.
  • Spirituality doesn’t dismiss faith.  It just leans heavily on direct experience of the soul or divinity, using Spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, silence, and contemplation to allow conscious contact with more expanded states of consciousness.

I would like to add that I experience Spirituality when I am creative, writing, singing, connecting with nature, caring for my body-temple, exercising, volunteering, making someone smile, and just being in meditative bliss. 

To me, religion does not extend to simply being immersed in these things.  Kevy.


Articles

Gifer - Spiritual Journey
Photo – Gifer – Spiritual Journey

How to Become More Spiritual in Three Small Steps – Gaia Staff –  July 10, 2014
  • Make Spiritual Changes slowly. Be patient.
  • Deepen your connection with God: Meditate, Pray, Affirm
  • Make spiritual commitments

Read More


Religion vs. Spirituality: What Is the Difference? – By Adam Brady – 07/10/2019

Religion – By definition, religion is a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; the service and worship of God or the supernatural.

Spirituality – Spirituality, on the other hand, connotes an experience of connection to something larger than you; living everyday life in a reverent and sacred manner. …“Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”  Read More


Religion vs. Spirituality – Which one enhances your mental health? – Posted Dec 11, 2019

That said, it must also be said that it is entirely possible to be a very religious person yet be totally out of touch with spirituality and its essential connection to an authentic Self.  On the other hand, true spirituality unites a person with his or her authentic Self.  Read More


Spiritual but Not Religious – Posted Oct 28, 2016 –  Paul Thagard Ph.D.

Exemplars of religion include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. Part of what people are saying when they describe themselves as “not religious” is that their views are not those of any of the standard religions. Read More


“Spiritual but not religious”: inside America’s rapidly growing faith group  – By Tara Isabella – Burton@NotoriousTIBtara.burton@vox.com – Nov 10, 2017, 10:30am EST

A new poll finds almost one in five Americans is spiritual but not religious.  Read More


Quotes

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Photo – Kelly Sikkema

All religions have been made by men. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal. – Deepak Chopra

Spiritual growth and spirituality always seem suspect to some people. – Marianne Williamson

The new spirituality will step away from dogma, will step away from ‘We’re right and you’re wrong.’ – Neale Donald Walsch

You can cite a hundred references to show that the biblical God is a bloodthirsty tyrant, but if they can dig up two or three verses that say “God is love” they will claim that you are taking things out of context! – Dan Barker

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness. – Dalai Lama

The Christian god is a three-headed monster, cruel, vengeful, and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three-headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites. – Thomas Jefferson

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. – Abraham Lincoln

I think after a time there won’t be anything left to be interesting for mankind. Computers are about to do everything for us. Cellphones are smarter than we are. We’ll embrace spirituality because we’ll be bored of everything else. – Damian Marley

After all the black man has been through in this world, he can still often reach levels of spirituality the most pampered white man cannot touch. Maybe what he’s been through is the reason why. – Ben Stein

I don’t like the idea of spirituality done the way it’s done. The only way I could understand it was through creativity, not by going to an Ashram, or finding a guru or joining a temple. I made work out of it. – M.I.A.

I feel more grounded and more settled than I ever have. I don’t know whether that is to do with my spirituality or whether I’m wiser about life, but as you age you become more selective about what you listen to, devote your time to and who you hang out with. – Sharon Stone

Do what I say or burn in hell is not free will. It’s coercion, not freedom. – Duane Alan Hahn

I’ve always tried to insert consciousness and spirituality in my records, interpreting the writings of all cultures and religions and how they apply to life in modern times. – Rakim

The spirituality of the dance, that’s something that’s evolved for me in the past ten years or so.  I’m still trying to figure out where that’s taking me. – Savion Glover


Videos

The Church For People Who Are “Spiritual, But Not Religious” – Feb 23, 2016 – CollegeHumor

Oprah on Her Daily Spiritual Practice | Belief | Oprah Winfrey Network – Sep 24, 2015 – OWN

Spirituality vs Religion – The No-Bullshit Guide To Spirituality – Jul 19, 2014 – Actualized.org
Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word – Jan 10, 2012 – Jefferson Bethke
“I’m Spiritual But Not Religious” – Apr 10, 2019 – Enlighten
Spirituality is NOT Religion | Claim Your Power – Jun 21, 2018 – Shy The Gemini

Why I Believe in God But Not Religion: What Do I Believe In(Q&A style) – Nov 8, 2017 – Tina Marie J.

Religion Vs. Spirituality! (The Differences & Which We Need More) – Nov 29, 2015 – Vishuddha Das

Pro Religion

On Being Spiritual but not Religious – Jun 16, 2017 – Brian Holdsworth

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Being cognizant of international visitors, I want to do all that I can to communicate wisdom globally for all.


Contact us at kevymichaelscontent@gmail.com


 

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