Writing My Life

Now and Then


… maybe I can be religious AND spiritual …

Personally, I need the hard back of a pew to keep me pointed toward God. So I guess I’m more religious than spiritual. ~ Lavar Webb

Lavar Webb and Frank Pignanelli are politicos who spar via their column in the Deseret News. Among several other topics discussed in today’s newspaper, the two addressed the difference between being “spiritual” and being “religious.” This interesting debate stemmed from a comment by potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Junior’s “articulate dodge of the religious question” as reported in TIME Magazine.

When asked about whether or not he was a practicing Mormon, our former governor replied that he was more spiritual than religious. Webb prefaced the above quotation by suggesting that “lots of people consider themselves spiritual, but not so interested in organized religion. They find spirituality in nature and meditation.”

Now I am NOT interested in debating whether or not Mr. Huntsman wanted to distance himself from the “Mormon question” in order to appeal to “closet agnostics,” Baptists,  or moderate Republicans or Democrats. I am merely reflecting upon my own condition. Am I …

  1. more spiritual than religious?
  2. more religious than spiritual?
  3. religious AND spiritual?

Tonight, I’m going with number 3. While many observers might see religion in the light of the “letter of the law,” I see religion as my doctor’s office. The place I regularly  go to check-up on my “spiritual” well-being. It is there, that my heart is examined through words from the pulpit as shared in Sacrament Meeting talks by fellow church members and through lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society.

To be clear, it is NOT church members or leadership who pinch and probe, it is that spirit that accompanies my reflections as I listen to and learn from others. And just as I do at the clinic, I commit to trying harder and doing better. Why? Because my spiritual life is dependent upon the “good-for-the-soul” changes I constantly work on.

I think the hard back of the pew does point me toward God who is so patient with me and toward friends who laugh at my craziness, family members who forgive my carelessness, neighbors who extend and receive kindnesses, clerks I meet at Maverick’s stations, frustrated drivers who flip me off when I inadvertently cut them off, co-workers I learn to respect, and people in far away places that I don’t know but want to help.

Many may not feel they need weekly prodding to do good. But I need all the help I can get to become more patient, more faithful, more prayerful, more grateful, “more spiritual.”

Yes, I find spirituality in nature, in meditation, AND in organized religion.