There is a lot of conversation about the “spiritual but not religious” but not as much about why those seeking spiritual fulfillment are not finding it in church. The answers are many, and the article below helps to open up the questions that need to be asked.
In my thinking about this shift happening, Seekers pushing against the part of our faith lives that we sometimes squeeze to lifelessness in an attempt to hold on, I see one core theistic sensibility oozing out between those anxious fingers. Liturgy, worship, prayer — the meeting place between God and humanity. We who are religious should lift up every possible opportunity for human beings to meet the Spirit in public worship. That is what we do that is not done by anyone else. Our religiosity does not stop God trying to reach us, and in fact provides a path of ritual through which we open ourselves to Presence. Through water, wine, bread, standing shoulder to shoulder, in silence or surrounded by music, the occasion to meet God together not only binds the religious, but beckons to the seeker. So let us “pray without ceasing” (1Thess 5:17), … together.
“Religious but not spiritual: The high costs of ignoring personal piety
New research shows a sharp decline in the percentage of U.S. congregations reporting high spiritual vitality and a drop in the number of churches emphasizing spiritual practices such as prayer and Scripture reading. These trends conflict with growing evidence revealing the importance of congregations cultivating the spiritual lives of the faithful. The latest edition of Ahead of the Trend explores the relationship between personal spirituality and congregational growth and decline. The reasons for the disconnect are varied, but there is little reason for religious leaders to claim they don’t know any better. “ See the full article at The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) firstname.lastname@example.org, 10/26/11.