I am very spiritual and not very religious. This is really good for me because we live in a world where everybody is spiritual and nobody is religious. In fact saying, “I am spiritual but not religious” has become the pass-code that lets that gatekeepers of spirituality know that I belong in their religious establishment.
Still, despite the fact that I am very spiritual and not at all religious, I have no idea what it means to be spiritual and not religious. I think it might have something to do with not doing things you don’t want to do while doing only the things you want to do.
So I don’t want to pray ten times a week. That would be very religious. I do want to think about God while watching TV, which is a very spiritual thing to do if you ask me. I don’t want to do the very religious thing of getting out of bed on Sunday morning and going to a building full of people. I do want to do the very spiritual thing of sleeping in and watching NFL games in the comfort and safety of a warm pillow. After all, I hear some of those quarterbacks are Christians and a few of them even pray when they score touchdowns, which is so spiritual and not very religious.
Or maybe I am wrong about that and you can be spiritual by going to church, so long as that is what you want to do.
Either way and no matter where you stand there is certainly nothing more religious than church board meetings. You cannot get any less spiritual than the two hours it takes a group of people to discuss things like who is going to clean the church toilets and who might want to run the nursery next month and how much money it is going to cost to buy a new heater.
And those are the easy parts of most board meetings. Once we get through the mundane list we have to tackle the brutal issues. For example we have to figure out how we are going to open our beautiful building to 40 un-churched teenagers and still have a building left by the end of the night. Then we have to argue about whether the latest criticism from the most critical member of the congregation is worthy of our attention this time around. Then we have to hang our heads in despair because another family moved out of town and took a sizable chunk of tithes with them (which means we can forget that new heater). And we have to do all this while planning the next potluck even though nobody wants to bring mashed potatoes.
I have a feeling that when we throw around the words “not religious,” board meetings are the kind of establishment religiosity we are talking about.
Yet there is a very deep spiritual connection that happens when a group of diverse but committed Christians who are chosen both by God and the congregation get together once a month to pray together, laugh together, cry together and dream together.
Under the right leadership, board meetings can be incredibly spiritual. They can be times of prayer. We pray about our shortcomings and we pray for that person who loves to point them out. They can be times of grieving when we cry about the loss of a very committed family while hoping that they still have a a peaceful move. They can be times of commitment where we remember that God is not glorified by an empty building and only by opening our doors to those out of control teenagers do we stay on mission.
And they can be times of worship where we bring to God our broken light bulbs, our empty nursery, our depleted checking account and our lack of a desire to mash potatoes for the potluck. We bring all these with our sincere hearts and let God remind us that even the tiniest of chores are in fact large acts of spiritual devotion.
We open and close our meetings with prayer but we really don’t stop praying the entire time because we know that to do the business of the Kingdom with the King is a high and worthy calling.
I don’t know if that makes it religious or spiritual and I don’t really care. All I know is that when our board meets, we all meet God.