'Spiritual but not religious' - how smug is that?

A pastor sparks an internet frenzy by complaining about those who insist they are "spriritual but not religious." Here's what they are missing, and what the churched are failing to understand.

North Sound Church in Edmonds

North Sound Church in Edmonds Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

My friend Lillian Daniel, a pastor in Illinois, recently sparked an Internet viral frenzy with a snarky piece challenging the popular formulation “spiritual but not religious.”

Here’s some of what she had to say about the spiritual but not religious (SBNR) mantra:

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 are always finding 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! Like we are these monastic hermits who never leave the church building. How lucky we are to have these geniuses inform us that God is in nature.

"Lillian," said I, "you sound pissed." Well, crowded airplanes and obnoxious seatmates will do that to you. She continues:

Being privately spiritual but not religious just doesn’t interest me. There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you. Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition that you did not invent all for yourself.

Thank you for sharing, spiritual but not religious sunset person. You are now comfortably in the norm for self-centered American culture, right smack in the bland majority of people who find ancient religions dull but find themselves uniquely fascinating. Can I switch seats now ... Can I spend my time talking with someone brave enough to encounter God in a real human community? Because when this flight gets choppy, that’s who I want by my side, holding a hand, saying a prayer and simply putting up with me, just like we try to do in church.

As I said, a bit snarky. But with some important points worth making. Let’s note four.

One, the SBNRs are as capable of smugness and arrogance as anyone else. Maybe more so because self-made religions, by definition, admit of no norms beyond personal preference or “what works for me.”

Two, being “in community” with others — even participating in (horrors!) an institution — while sometimes a pain in the butt, does have upsides. We do gain both the correction and the inspiration of others.

Three, it probably is true that SBNR dovetails all too easily with the reigning, often self-centered, ethos of American culture. Perhaps it once was daring, but no longer. “Do what seems right to you” is, alas, our stock-in-trade.

Four, there is richness in ancient spiritual traditions and practices that may surprise and benefit the genuine spiritual seeker. Sometimes churches, synagogues and temples don’t do an especially good job of helping people access the ancient wisdom, but it is there.

It's also true that a couple questions or criticisms of Miz Lillian’s excellent but testy comments may be in order. Here are two:

One, a fair number of people have migrated to SBNR because so many religious people, Christians in particular, seem awfully unchristian. Its tough to see much Jesus in the gun-toting, Koran-burning, gay-hating “Christians” who, though not the majority, certainly make up a highly visible minority.

Two, while I also find it to be a bore to be cornered by the SBNR person who smugly explains to me everything that is wrong with “institutional religion,” at least sometimes SBNR is a way of saying something different. Like, “I’m hungry, I’m searching, let’s talk.” It isn’t always a smug or self-satisfied statement. It may be just the opposite.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 7:35 a.m. Inappropriate

How smug is that? Oh, I'd say just about as smug as people who tell you they're Christian -- which these days means evangelical and "churched" in a manner that brings out the worst parts of the human psyche. The rest of us don't even have to be ministers to dread sharing a plane seat with one of these people, or having them take over public discourse like the Palins, Bachmanns, Huckabees and Perrys have done.

Pastor Lillian -- and what a lovely advertisement she is for what being "churched" can do for the teachings of Jesus -- seems to feel that every SBNR is a spiritual slacker, shirking their duty in favor of some kind of stoner's illusory paradise. The seatmates who so enrage Pastor Lil by their seeming self-indulgence could simply be people who have fled the hierarchical, hypocritical, backbiting, judgmentalist, oddly monetized world of the churched -- of which Pastor Lil seems to be a very fine example --and who are too polite, or too compassionate, to tell her so. You know, people who love the Gospels but not Paul.

And while Pastor Lil may hotly resent people who seem to think they are too good to get down into the mud with her and wrestle, she might be sitting next to a person who sees nothing but a Pharisee and a person who worships the false god of mud-wrestling. A person who is actually trying to follow Christ's teachings has not chosen an easy road, though they may choose to speak of it in terms of sunsets. Pastor Lil seems to exempt herself from a number of those teachings -- something which is not uncommon among the churched.

westomoon

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 8:54 a.m. Inappropriate

I LIKE this article. I am a "churched" Christian; I need community and worshiping in a group at Eucharist (Mass)--whether Sunday and/or weekday. I need the interpersonal, human contact AND friendship with God. Friendship with God is not sterile; I can cry and lament, praise, say thank you and even rant when necessary. If/when I don't share what I believe with other people--particularly in actions and not in words--what's the point of saying I have a relationship with God. The reciprocity with other people is absolutely as important. And I find great comfort and challenge in liturgy and ritual, music and litugical arts. The sounds, the visuals, sometimes the "smells and bells"--incense and either small bells rung at various times in the liturgy and/or a handbell choir. As well as scripture, prayers and other writings--historical and contemporary.

What I feel I hear in Pastor Robinson's article, is irritation at the disrespect and ignorance some non-institutionally churched people have for organized religious institutions. And as he says, some church folks absolutely negate the love and challenges that Jesus Christ brings us; he's sure not always warm and cuddly--what about when he challenged the bankers (money lenders) about their unfair business practices, and then literally turned the tables and called them a den of thieves. (Maybe could be a whole 'nother riff on current business practices....scripture can definitely point out current as well as ancient social ills.) And clergy aren't always warm and cuddly either. Their job is to love, to challenge, to lead by example, to demonstrate God's love (and we are too) to people who may never know God except through their example, study, and in other ways too numerous to mention. AND--clergy ARE human and have all human foibles, imperfections, ability to screw up and sin really big--as well as, I hope, to transcend and love big time. And to be pissed and ticked off and irritated. Just like you and me.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 9:05 a.m. Inappropriate

If this lady can call other people deluded, in so many words, I guess we can call her deluded. It goes both ways. And who knows where the courage point came from...is she suggesting that non-believers are "afraid" to have a certain belief? Are all choices or opinions about fear of the alternatives?

As for speaking out, a lot of christians think the soapbox, or even the quiet conversation, is theirs alone. It's them being right plus a bunch of people who need to hear more about jebus. People with other ideas are targets for conversion...who would be very rude if they tried the same thing in reverse! How dare they!

Thankfully this doesn't come up in conversation much. Talking about religion is not typical in Seattle. When it does, and somebody asks, I don't mind saying with a chuckle that I don't believe that stuff.

mhays

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 9:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Most airplane conversations are dull, whether it's baby pictures or your seat-mate's spiritual journey. Many of life's most important experiences and insights are common: the marvel of childbirth, coming of age, breaking your leg are not unique, but what is special is that it happened to you. The fact that most people can't make it interesting to strangers is not their fault, nor does it make those experiences and the insights gained from them any less important. It's not narcissism, it's life. Not every flying companion is going to be able to make the spiritual-but-not-religious or nature-wonder arguments like John Muir or Emerson, companions who might have made the pastor's journey more enlightening. I think Tony makes an excellent point about the richness of religious traditions, and the importance of continuity. But nature-worship, as one example, is not entirely devoid of these.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 9:52 a.m. Inappropriate

Traditions can be beautiful things, but they can also be stifling, boring, irrelevant, or just plain silly and wrong.

What religious people, including your friend Lillian, seem to really resent is that those of us who are SBNR do not grant to them a position of authority or superiority in the spiritual realm. In my case, I have found a path that allows me to experience God and God's love - an experience which otherwise would not take place because I find it impossible to turn off my critical thinking long enough to accept the pigheaded silliness religions often try to foist off as truth.

So us SBNR folks just might be thinking of you religious chumps - "Why the need to refer to some other authority to experience God? Why such a lack of individual courage?"

And by the way, my SBNR is very much engaged with my community at large - sharing with those whose life has followed a similar path and developed a similar need to find God's grace. You really are not Holier than thou, got it?

wschroer

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 9:59 a.m. Inappropriate

I don't even call myself "spiritual but not religious". Perhaps what these people mean is...I'm a good person, I lead a good, exemplary life, but what I believe is personal, it's not something to shove down someone else's throat. I don't feel the need to proselytize (sp), share, convert, wear what I believe on my sleeve like it's the only way, and you should believe what I believe. I once had a good friend sit in my living room and tell me that if I wasn't "born again" I was going to hell. I ushered her to the door and never invited her back again. Miz Lillian, there is not just one way. We are a diverse people, and many ways should be accepted. Yours is not the only way.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 10:25 a.m. Inappropriate

What's "smug" is the "churched" who can't be bothered to actually LISTEN to why we're that way. For many of us, it's not the "smorgasbord" of the world's religions, but that we want to follow Christ while having deep seated issues with what claims to be "Christianity".

It can't be "Christianity" if it's not following Christ. Christ wasn't angry and filled with hate. He didn't hate women and think we should be men's possessions, there mostly (or entirely) for the purposes of sex and taking the brunt of the man's anger nor is she there for being abused if she does anything "wrong" in the man's eyes. We're not here on the earth to pursue money; but to pursue Christ, worship God and love each other. And this is just a short list. As my Grandmother's people put it: we think you likely talk of Christ but you clearly aren't following his teachings.

Christianity is really in a sad state when non-believers and others who aren't openly practicing can teach the professed "Christians" more about Christianity than they actually know and practice.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 11:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Alaska Airlines is in the habit of putting a little spiritual (religious) message on its food tray, when there is a food tray. When there was a Continental Airlines, it did something similar. Perhaps these messages also appear on other airlines These are always from the Old Testament, often psalms, sort of innocuous, obviously selected to avoid offending anyone in the Judeo-Christian demographic.

I am always offended by these little cards. Perhaps they are telling me that the plane may crash at any moment, and I better be ready for whatever oblivion hands me. Kind of. But in a nice way. Just safer to cover all your bases.

Before security measures were tightened, I would often read these verses aloud, in a strong but respectful voice. Just to be safe. The airline seemed unsure, and if they were worried, I was worried. Spiritual. Religious. Couldn't hurt.

Once a flight attendant asked me to refrain from doing this. I replied that it was the airline's prayer and surely I was being asked to participate, understanding that anyone who wished to remain silent could respectfully do so. Still, it always seemed to unnerve other passengers, most often my seatmates. I can understand this, so I stopped my vocal participation. Then it was out of respect for fellow passengers. Now, of course, it's also just smarter to keep my mouth shut.

gabowker

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 11:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Jeez, when I accused Crosscut of starting a religious war to up their comments and pageviews, I didn't think they'd take me literally.

I'm honestly curious: what was the editorial process that led to this article and the bicycle one? Did you feel these were under-covered topics or under-represented viewpoints that needed their day in the sun? did you think it'd be a good thing for the community to air them out and have a civil discussion?

fairly often I see pleas for donations to Crosscut; I'd be curious to know where the editorial board thinks articles such as these fit into Crosscut's mission. I'm not trying to be snarky; I read much of what I see on Crosscut, but I am really turned off by posts that seem intended just to provoke a (pageview-increasing) argument. Neither this article nor Kugiya's on bicycles contain new insight, any kind of serious argument, or even particularly good writing. I'd be curious to hear someone defend them.

optic

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 11:53 a.m. Inappropriate

The whole idea of Christianity is to have a relationship with others, implied in I Corinthians 15:33, "Bad associations spoil useful habits", and to gain a spirit through study of the Bible.Through this holy spirit, one can understand this through study and adapting the thoughts and inspirations from others. We strive to get to the point of having faith like is mentioned in Matthew 17:20, where "faith the size of a mustard grain" will work wonders. Faith is defined in Hebrews 1:1 where it says, "Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld". The writings from Paul , as written here, were done in a more stressful atmosphere than what we are used to in the present day. I just take what people say, which is usually said according to their own 'inspiration', and 'merge' it into my own.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 12:49 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow, I definitely would not want to be seated next to Reverend Lil holding her hand and saying prayers in my last moments!

DavidT

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 1:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Well I am not sure what to "label" myself as since we are all hung up on labels, but what I can say is Religion, Churches, or any other organization that labels, people have turned me off. Through my life I have explored churches and religions trying to find what was real. What I have found is all these so called christian religions fight between each other. The baptists fight with the protestants and the catholics fight with everybody. So which "church" "religion" is correct. Please Lillian tell me what is a christian and what should I believe in. Should I believe in multi-million dollar churches that snub people if they do not dress the way they think everyone should. Should I believe in churches that talk about community and spend millions on aquariums built into their churches (TV show Tanked). Every day I look at how people that believe in god barely survive in our economy but, they do not have money to pay their bills. Yet they still go to a church that preaches give us more money so we can help those in need. Those in need do not need multi-million dollar churches with aquariums in them. They do not need churches that act more like country clubs with exclusive membership for the wealthy. Please excuse my rant but, in today's society I have been turned off to religion and especially the "religious" by all the idol (huge churches) worshiping, snubbing the poor, and generally acting like they are better than others.

Broken

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 1:26 p.m. Inappropriate

One after note: Roseviolet thank you for your insight. I totally agree with you and thank you for your view.

Broken

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 1:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Interesting how much is assumed regarding both Rev. Daniel and Rev. Robinson. It's also clear that some have read this and have experienced some difficulty in seperating the two articles. The religious tradition that both ministers belong to would quite likely delight westomoon, Kathrynthegreat and roseviolet.

It does so greatly frustrate me that someone can so quickly write that being a Christian "these days means evangelical and "churched" in a manner that brings out the worst parts of the human psyche" Those folks do not speak for the majority of Christians. Unfortunately, the majority of Christians simply don't speak. There is a large portion of American Christendom that is, in fact, deeply offended by those who you describe.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 2:01 p.m. Inappropriate

and Broken.

Sigh. Somehow, the Christian Left has got to identify themselves in the public debate. What I hear from Broken and Roseviolet and Westomoon and Kathrynthegreat sounds much like what I hear from the pulpit on Sundays.

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 4 p.m. Inappropriate

I wrote 2 blogs related to Lilian Daniel's articles - they can be found here: http://revdavida.blogspot.com/2011/09/news-flash-jesus-was-but-not-religious.html
and
http://revdavida.blogspot.com/2011/09/all-religions-are-self-made-some-just.html

Posted Thu, Sep 15, 4:50 p.m. Inappropriate

If I am on a plane that is going down, I am going to fully recline my seat and lower my tray table. I am sure this "God" of which you speak will not expect me to die in the full upright position!

andy

Posted Fri, Sep 16, 9:12 a.m. Inappropriate

I hope that I never have to sit next to any of these people on an airplane. Airplanes (like schools, public transportation, workplaces, etc) should be a place where you don't have to listen to a minister tell you why you need to go to church. I suspect that the sunset lover was just trying to get the bible thumper off her back. Saying one is "spiritual" is a nice way of saying, "I'm not religious but don't think I'm close-minded, self-centered, lack morality, or don't relate to those who are religious."

I don't board the plane ready convince those who refuse to believe in scientific fact of their idiocy. Let's all keep the conversations about sports and weather, because I really don't need some kook I don't know questioning my morality for 2 to 5 hours.

jsisbest

Posted Fri, Sep 16, 10:19 a.m. Inappropriate

Chalk this phenomenon up to another example of the seemingly limitless human capacity to compartmentalize an irrational ideology behind layers of abstraction. People *are* indeed flocking to the label, "spiritual but not religious," as a way to preserve a flavor of identity that modernity, reason and the force of secular culture is making increasingly incompatible with reality.

The claim "I see God in a sunset" makes no more sense than saying "I see God in the entrails of a slaughtered goat" as a statement intended to communicate evidence of the theistic ontological claim. And as the label "religious" recedes into "spiritual," it falls further into the domain of the God of the Gaps: that which we can't explain is therefore God. In the end "god" is a placeholder for a supernatural force, order or the Universe itself.

And at this point, we may as well call god "The Invisible Pink Unicorn," because we've defined it into utter meaninglessness.

Posted Fri, Sep 16, 10:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I am all for religious and/or spiritual people going to whatever church or sunset they want and doing any kind of communing, smelling and belling.

Please just give up three things:

1) Stop the institutional raping of children.
2) Give up tax breaks and government subsidies.
3) Keep your religion out of politics.

andy

Posted Fri, Sep 16, 10:59 a.m. Inappropriate

I am attempting to raise my son with some defenses against religious/spiritual brain washing.

Richard Dawkins has written a children's book that may be useful in this regard:

http://boingboing.net/2011/09/16/richard-dawkins-explains-the-3-kinds-of-magic.html

I know--I am a arrogant, smug, atheist, bore... ;-)

andy

Posted Fri, Sep 16, 4:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Odd interaction that sparked the original post. If my seatmate happened to be a minister, I wouldn't dream of announcing that I was "spiritual, but not religious" (a term I wouldn't use to describe myself in the first place). Nor would I tell her I really enjoyed the works of Richard Dawkins (actually true) if I saw her wearing an American Atheists T-shirt. If it were Richard Dawkins himself, well, that'd be another matter.

I just don't see the point of getting into a potentially controversial conversation with someone with whom I am essentially trapped for a few hours. If I see we have something in common, perhaps yes. Perhaps "spiritual, but not religious" folks feel they have something in common with ministers of organized religions. I don't know.

The first excerpt is one thing. The second, where she slams people who don't belong to an organized religion, well, that's just not necessary. It's not as if—necessarily—those who consider themselves SBNR are completely solipsistic.

I'd hate to find out what she thinks of agnostics and atheists.

I do see the point of community, and I certainly see the point of tradition, being of Jewish and Confucian background myself. But to insist that they are the sine qua non—not saying you're saying that, Tony, but many do believe that—that I can't believe.

Institutions of all sorts, not just religious ones, are in trouble now, anyway. People are losing faith in them, whether they be governments, universities, churches, what have you. This goes far beyond religion.

But again, to return to the initial conversation, I don't know why it would have to happen in the first place.

Posted Sun, Sep 18, 8:11 a.m. Inappropriate

Lillian Daniel: another reason not to speak with strangers in the next seat.

Posted Sun, Sep 18, 11:19 a.m. Inappropriate

I actually enjoyed Lillian Daniel's piece (or what I've read of it, anyway, here in Tony Robinson's piece). It was a rant, but for one thing it made me aware that people say odd things to pastors on planes.I don't mean to take away from the beauty of anyone's sunset--but why would it be a good idea, ever, to tell a pastor you've just met that you don't like organized religion, while saying it in such a nice way that they can't really argue back? I can see why she doesn't enjoy having to sit there while someone obliquely insults her profession. Of course, she takes this risk when she tells strangers on planes what she does for a living. Next time, if she wants to avoid hearing yet another paean to churchless worship, she could say, "I don't want to talk about work right now. So what are you reading there?"

I also liked Tony Robinson's point, that people who are willing to put up with institutional religion--which as he understatedly says can be a "pain in the butt"--may be more tolerant of each other's foibles, too, and able to enjoy a sense of community based on a willingness to tolerate some human imperfection. I'm not sure I agree--some of the more tolerant people I know hail from the SBNR or at least NOYB (none of your business) camps--but I'm not sure I need to agree or disagree to find it a good question to think about.

Posted Sun, Sep 18, 4:03 p.m. Inappropriate

Saying one is "spiritual but not religious" is a copout. It means that they either have not bothered to look into any religion - or are afraid to commit to anything.

Posted Sun, Sep 18, 11:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Not being religious or spiritual, I know a parable when I see one. And most modern parables wound as well as instruct. Gotta go...get ready for the sunrise

dmark

Posted Mon, Sep 19, 7:25 p.m. Inappropriate

When Americans contrast "religion" to "spirituality" what many of us are in reality doing is contrasting the infinitely vicious tyranny of church with the implicit spiritual democracy of churchlessness.

The damning problem with church the Reverends Robinson and Daniels steadfastly refuse to acknowledge is not that "other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you."

It is instead (and just as I described it), "the damning problem": the fact theological nonconformity gets you damned by your fellow parishoners, ejected from their midst if not excommunicated from the church itself -- and in every instance damned also by their god.

This sort of oppression is the primary characteristic of every denomination of Christianity save Unitarianism. The same kind of zero-tolerance conformity is also the primary characteristic of Islam in any of its denominations and of Judaism in all save its Reformed denominations.

In many religious communities -- for example the Bible Belt South or the fundamentalist strongholds of rural Washington state – the reality is far more definitively Christian. Allegations of heresy will get your children tormented, your dogs poisoned, your gardens trashed, your tires slashed and in many instances your house burned.

Until recently the Christian religious police-agency of the Bible Belt was the Ku Klux Klan, known colloquially throughout the South as "the Saturday Night Men's Bible Study Class." In rural Washington state -- and I speak from (bitter) experience of conditions here as well as in the South -- the morality police of the American theocracy have no formal name but are effectively as vicious as the Klan.

Thus Christianity aka "religion" maintains its historical record as the most murderous dogma in human history even as those of us bold enough to divorce ourselves from its tyrannical agenda defiantly cling to the pagan/Buddhist/First Nations (and -- yes -- Unitarian) notion of spirituality as an individual quest.

(My apology for being so late to the fair. I was offline for a computer rebuild from the evening of 13 September until today.)

Posted Tue, Sep 20, 3:57 p.m. Inappropriate

I have always interpreted "spiritual but nor religious" to mean . "I believe in God, but don't belong to a church." In many cases that is because the churches they have attended have disappointed them for variety of reasons. I do belong to a church, but understand why many do not. I am working with others in my church to make sure all know that the door is open to them, literally and in terms of acceptance.

Powermom

Posted Tue, Sep 20, 4:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Excuse me for the typo. Spiritual but NOT (vs nor) religious. I type in haste, not my best mode.

Lorenbliss: Just as you would not appreciate all the uchurched being "damned" by those in churches, so I would suggest it unfair to paint anyone who refers to themselves as Christian or in a church which such a sweeping and angry brush.

Powermom

Posted Tue, Sep 20, 9:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Powermom, my indictment of Christianity would indeed be unfair had the so-called “mainstream” Christians denounced the Dominionists and the other avowedly theocratic and/or blatantly Jesufascist cults that characterize Christianity in the United States.

But that has not happened. Nor is it likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile the frightening truth about what is in fact becoming our national religion is revealed by a 2005 Rasmussen poll that found 63 percent of all U.S. residents "believe the Bible is literally true and the Word of God" (caps as in original, for which see http://legacy.rasmussenreports.com/2005/Bible.htm).

Not only is this belief the defining tenet of Christian fanaticism. It also explains better than any other one factor how the Republican landslide of 2010 instantly transformed itself into the newest expression of Christianity's perpetual war against women, sexuality, science and intellectual freedom whether secular or spiritual.

Note too how the red-herring argument over the distinction between “fundamentalist” versus “evangelical” is resolved by the “fanatic” label, which accurately describes all such denominations.

Meanwhile – with the notable exception of the Unitarians and a few brave individuals like Rev. Al Sharpton – the shrinking non-fanatical Christian community tacitly encourages the rapid metastasis of the fanatics by refusing to condemn either their actions or dogma.

Whether the resounding silence of the Christian “mainstream” is the result of fear or misguided ecumenism, I cannot say. But what is certain is its implicit surrender gives the fanatics' one more victory in their relentless effort to reduce the United States to a Christian variant of the sorts of zero-tolerance theocracies we routinely encounter in the Islamic world.

Posted Tue, Sep 20, 11:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Being trapped with a SBNR person can indeed be difficult because they all do seem to think they're the first person to declare such and you'll be vitally interested to know why they are SBNR. But I've found it just as difficult to be trapped with someone who notices I'm wearing a star of David and needs to tell me they have a third cousin who's Jewish, and they once read a book by some Jewish writer whose name they can't remember but it was really good, and they really like Barbra Streisand, and really, it's OK if we don't accept Jesus (at least not yet), they're sure we're good people anyway.

A sense of self-importance is not limited to any particular group.

sarah90

Posted Wed, Sep 21, 8:58 a.m. Inappropriate

I hate it too, when I tell the person in the next seat I work for Microsoft, & they proceed to let me know that they think Windows sucks, that they prefer the Apple OS, or Linux, or Ubuntu. Then they think I want to spend the next 3 hours defending Vista.

alally

Posted Thu, Sep 22, 4:58 p.m. Inappropriate

sarah90, I just love that band called the "beastie boys" ! ;-)

andy

Posted Mon, Sep 26, 10:08 a.m. Inappropriate

I think there's a bottom line here, and it isn't the good ol' American confrontational arrogance that kills real dialogue from every sector. When Daniel gets feisty she reinforces the general assumption that organized religion is indeed something to steer clear of. Fundamentalist closed thinking certainly permeates every stance, be it atheist, agnostic, SBNR, liberal religious, evangelical religious (of any religion). Whenever defensiveness trumps open listening to the heart of what's being said, it tends to relegate conversation and interaction to alienating debate rather than communication or fellowship with another human being. May we all stumble heavenward with greater humility.

oldguy

Posted Mon, Sep 26, 10:08 a.m. Inappropriate

I think there's a bottom line here, and it isn't the good ol' American confrontational arrogance that kills real dialogue from every sector. When Daniel gets feisty she reinforces the general assumption that organized religion is indeed something to steer clear of. Fundamentalist closed thinking certainly permeates every stance, be it atheist, agnostic, SBNR, liberal religious, evangelical religious (of any religion). Whenever defensiveness trumps open listening to the heart of what's being said, it tends to relegate conversation and interaction to alienating debate rather than communication or fellowship with another human being. May we all stumble heavenward with greater humility.

oldguy

Posted Mon, Sep 26, 10:08 a.m. Inappropriate

I think there's a bottom line here, and it isn't the good ol' American confrontational arrogance that kills real dialogue from every sector. When Daniel gets feisty she reinforces the general assumption that organized religion is indeed something to steer clear of. Fundamentalist closed thinking certainly permeates every stance, be it atheist, agnostic, SBNR, liberal religious, evangelical religious (of any religion). Whenever defensiveness trumps open listening to the heart of what's being said, it tends to relegate conversation and interaction to alienating debate rather than communication or fellowship with another human being. May we all stumble heavenward with greater humility.

oldguy

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