I spent the weekend at a conference which explored what it means to have an “expansive spirituality” beginning by asking “Ever Wonder…”: what are the values on which I make my life choices? how do I understand, or even begin answering for myself, Life’s Big Questions? How, and with whom, do we sustain the counter-cultural values and vision of this world being more just, loving and peace-full than it is now? what it means to answer those questions without traditional – maybe without any – religious language and images?
Do you find yourself asking what’s life about? Why are we here? What kind of world do I want, and want my younger family and friends, to live in? How, and with whom, do I help build that? And how do I know something is true? Who, or what, am I in relationship with what is beyond me – Planet Earth, the others with whom we inhabit it, with whatever or whoever is beyond our planet home?
Those are spiritual questions. How we answer those questions form our belief system. And our beliefs ground our choices in life, how we behave towards our self, towards others, towards our Home of Planet Earth.
What do you base your values and choices in life on?
Religionless spirituality isn’t a new thought. It’s been around in Western scholarly spiritual work at least since the 1940s. One well-respected, highly educated, German Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, asked if humanity has developed to a point of requiring a “religionless Christianity”? From around the same time to now, other deep thinkers – from Roman Catholic monks to secular humanists – have offered non-traditional ways of asking and answering those questions.
This conference is part of this ‘chain of tradition’. Can one be Christian without the so-called “must-believe” doctrines, and mythical stories? What does it mean to be on a spiritual journey without requiring belief in any dogma, or an ‘outside agent’? What does it mean to have an expansive spirituality? And how does any of this help me to live my day-to-day life? And with whom can I struggle those question into a place that is Life-enhancing for myself, others, the planet?
Do you have those conversations? How and with whom? I am fortunate that, through my professional duties, I often get to be part of those conversations. I am honoured to be asked to share my experience, strength and hope (to borrow a phrase) of what gives my meaning and purpose to my life, what supports & sustains my belief that Life is Good, that love is better than hate, that the way things are is not the way they have to be, that the world can be a more just, loving and peace-full place for all of Earth’s inhabitants. And, since I was 23, what I share doesn’t resemble what I was taught as a child. (That story’s for another time.)
So thanks, folks who created the “Ever Wonder” conference. These are necessary questions as we wonder together how we shall live for the common good.