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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Spiritual but not religious?

"Please stop boring me," begs the author

Editor's note: Read a response, "'Spiritual but not religious' as a starting point" by Amy Thompson Sevimli

On airplanes I dread the conversation with the person who finds out I am a minister and wants to use the flight time to explain to me that he is "spiritual but not religious." Such a person will always share this as if it is some kind of daring insight, unique to him, bold in its rebellion against the religious status quo.

Next thing you know, he's telling me that he finds God in the sunsets. These people always find God in the sunsets. And in walks on the beach. Sometimes I think these people never leave the beach or the mountains, what with all the communing with God they do on hilltops, hiking trails and ... did I mention the beach at sunset yet?

Like people who go to church don't see God in the sunset? ... We hear [this] in the psalms, the creation stories and throughout our deep tradition.


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