Spirituality, God, And The In-Between

I came across a Facebook status that really interested me today. It was posted by a girl I used to work with, who I know from the things she posts on Facebook is a very religious Christian lady. This is what she said:

“It makes me angry & sad when I see a church that allows tarot card reading & yoga in a church!! Flame me all you want, it’s wrong!!!”

As a Christian who also practices yoga and meditation, this is very dear to my heart. I’ve found myself very attracted to what I feel are Buddhist principles, and have been conflicted over whether or not this is okay for me, given the beliefs I have been raised with. I think this conversation could apply to all sorts of spirituality, and don’t mean to narrow the conversation to the one’s that most specifically interest me.

So what do you all think? Where’s the line between Christianity and spirituality? At what point are we too stuck in our beliefs to be open to new experience? Does a new way of experiencing spirituality mean you have to give up your prior beliefs? Do Eastern practices conflict with culture? Are you any less of a Christian for being open to new ways of experiencing your own spirituality?

I’m really curious about what others think about these ideas. Remember, no attacking other people for their beliefs or values in the comments please!

[Edit: In case anyone would like more information about where this discussion came from, the woman who posted the status has referenced this site http://praisemoves.com/ for further inquiry]

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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

16 responses to “Spirituality, God, And The In-Between”

  1. TechChucker says :

    I can see the issue with Tarot readings at a Christian church, but the yoga part I’m indifferent about. I think we can all learn a lot from other religions and those who are not religious and shouldn’t feel our own spirituality is weakened because of that interest.

    I think we forget that religious practice and religious doctrine are the same, but really are not. You could, theoretically take yoga or other practices typically seen as eastern practices and apply them to your Christian worship. I see nothing wrong with that. The tarot thing still confuses me how it would apply though.

  2. Anna says :

    As someone raised Christian who later became a Buddhist (and learned a lot from Islam as well), I’d say the key distinction is that religions are social institutions while spirituality is your own relationship to the divine. Religions have rules, but only you know what’s right for yourself!

  3. Hanno Phenn says :

    I am raised as a Protestant .I can relate to Buddhism and Hinduism ,well I have some problems with the catholic way of believe but let them be as they are .I don’t see why it should force someone to change there religion just because he can relate to a other religion or form of religion.Be as you like and practice your believe the way you like.

  4. TheMitchNiche says :

    As I Christian and a Baptist at that, I see nothing wrong with the yoga aspect of the church. The tatrot card reading does seem wrong and that it would go against the doctrine of the church, but as for yoga I think it’s okay. I think the problem is that most people have very little knowledge of yoga and what it is all about.
    When I took a yoga class it was about the meditation and relaxation. Meditation does not necessarily have to be associated with one specific religion or way of life, although most people assume it is. For me it was a great way to relax and gather my thoughts. It can be used as a great tool to enjoy God’s creations, gather your thoughts, and get in shape while doing it.
    Although most people assume that yoga is all about the Buddhism (because it normally is and started that way) it does not always have to be. I read my bible in the morning and/or will sit on the porch and think, which is my way of relaxation and meditation, I see no difference between that and doing yoga.

  5. tgeorges1123 says :

    Jesus didn’t hang out with the people who ran the churches and went around showboating their faith to whoever would listen aka the Pharisees. He hung out with people who were real, people who jobs or hobbies that the Pharisees despised. So therefore, they despised him as well. So my immediate reaction anything posted like that is WWJD type thing. For instance – I am 100% certain that if Jesus had a facebook page, he would never post a picture that said “If you’re not afraid to tell the world you love my Dad, then repost this.” Nor do I think he would run a mega church that sold T-Shirts that said I Heart Jesus in the book store. Or have someone bring in a lion for a super special Sermon on the Mount. In saying all that – I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t care if you do Yoga or not. “This I command to you, to love one another.” – I fail to see the love in your friend’s post. And I also failed to find a verse where Jesus said “Don’t do yoga.” 🙂 Amen and Namaste.

  6. thefilmosopher says :

    It makes me depressed, though not in a pity sort of way, that these sorts of questions have to even be asked by someone who’s clearly super bright and talented. It’s of course no one’s fault though. Essentially there are too ways to approach religion, inclusive or exclusive. Christianity does both and then some at one point or another (the Bible is actually a historical record, but more so in that it demonstrates how those who were in power [the ones telling the stories] were coordinating society with religion). Ultimately though, Christianity is a spiritual cult that was institutionalized for the sole purpose of political control. For instance, there are books, greater in size than the bible, or texts written by the same authors or of equal religious authority, that were left out of the Bible for specific reasons. This created a very exclusive religion, since domination and oppression can only be maintained by fear, and dividing people creates endless fear among them. But at it’s heart, Christianity is inclusive, as most spiritual religions are, specifically because Christ’s word is typically taken with the most weight as he’s the namesake and origin of the whole religion, and he was most certainly an inclusive spiritual prophet.

    In the end though, I don’t honestly believe that we should be taking anything literally from the past—just think, for one example, how the advancements in technology alone have fundamentally changed humanity so immensely since then. Christ, and most spiritualists, preach finding your own path to God, and maintain that God is different for everyone. This scattering of the image, into the multitudes of subjective, personal communions with God, reflects the inclusive nature, and opposes the exclusive concentration of a singular image, doctrine, practice to contact.

    I define God likely very different from how you likely do, for me it’s like the universe itself is God—the idea that we’re all stardust, the very makings of the universe, literally the universe observing itself, is divine, transcendant in my mind, it answers that longing for the sacred. You likely imagine something closer to the Christian doctrine, but the point of spirituality is that that’s OK! We can both still discuss things about nature, whether it be in the poetic verse of the bible, musing over the philosophical implications of the myths, or the growing circle of light science casts over the universe, marveling at the intricacies, and comfortable with the growing circumference of darkness that follows (to borrow a metaphor from Einstein.)

    But don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself. READ! There are sooo many books about all this. That’s the great thing about society—you don’t have to think alone! There have always been great teachers and writers to expand our horizons of thought. Here are some personal favorites/suggestions:

    The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James—who argues FOR possible religious revelations in turn of the century psychology.

    Fingerprints of God by Barbara Hagerty

    All About Love by bell hooks

    Why Religion Matters by Huston Smith

    The Forgotten Bible by J. R. Porter

    Even if you don’t check out any of those (though I highly encourage you do if you’re invested in figuring this out) just remember, more than anything, keep an open mind, because after all, minds are like parachutes, they only work when open 🙂 Hope this helps!

  7. ccgrant2013 says :

    Yeah, I’m w/ tgeorges. I think fear makes folks do and say some strange stuff. I’m not all that familiar with Tarot, but I do know that it’s a deck of cards. Cardstock with graphics. If my faith isn’t strong enough to weather that, then I need a new faith. Yoga is a physical practice for me to get quiet enough to meditate and connect with my creator.

  8. chymeera says :

    I was born in a Catholic country but raised as an atheist and remain so…and sadly it is not something that I can always say openly as people who are religious tend to take offence or try to convince me of the errors of my way. I respect people’s religious beliefs, yet somewhat it appears it is ok for a lot of those people to disrespect my lack of belief in the same things as they do. I am a scientist at heart and believe in the world of science.
    Saying that, I find what thefilmosopher is saying very interesting on a philosophical point of you. Having religious beliefs and religion feel very different to me as a person looking in. Spirituality should be all inclusive and not dictated by something that was written so long ago that it probably has been edited so many times that truth and fiction are probably indistinguishable.
    As for the actual issue of yoga and tarot reading in a church, for me it shows that whomever is running that church as an open mind. Although tarot reading is a little out there (and definitely not in the category of things I would personally do), I don’t think it contradicts any laws of spirituality…but maybe it is just me.

  9. Christopher says :

    I was always of the opinion that Buddhism wasn’t actually a religion, but more a philosophy of life. I always kind of felt that Buddhism and it’s associated practices were able to be observed parallel to any other religious views held by someone.
    I suppose if that’s not how you feel about Buddhism then you might not be okay with Yoga or meditation or something. I can definitely understand a church not allowing Tarot readings though. Of course, I’m of the opinion that you don’t need to tell everyone how wrong something is when you don’t agree with it. Simply stating “I don’t agree with that” always sounds better to me than “That’;s wrong”.

  10. Lloyd Estrada says :

    I think the original tarot cards were used mainly for fun game-playing. Unfortunately, there are some who use tarot cards for divination, a practice that is condemned in the Old Testament because of its close association to witchcraft. So, as a Christian, I do not resort to tarot-reading in cultivating my spirituality. I do recommend the discipline of meditation. A cursory look into Church history would show some helpful meditation practices that are clearly and distinctly Bible-based.

  11. Steve S. says :

    Was an intresting read. 🙂

  12. examindlife says :

    TechChucker and Christopher have it right – practice v. doctrine. I usually teach Buddhism as a moral philosophy. Some later forms of Buddhism deify the Buddha but, at its heart, it’s about overcoming the self and extinguishing pain in the world. The Buddhist insight of no-self contadicts the Christian belief in an eternal soul but I’m pretty sure Jesus would have been happy to have met a Buddhist. he’d bless her for approaching the world with lovingkindness and interconnectedness. Thomas Merton was a 20th century Trappist Monk (Cistercian – very strict Catholic order) who is well known to have also practiced Buddhist meditation. Merton was a mystic, I think, so he probably found spiritual oneness with God in the Bhuddist experience of emptiness one can find in deep meditation.
    The Tarot card thing doesn;t make sense. Yoga? C’mon.
    Namaste’.

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