Saturday, September 02, 2017


I’m always struck by how many people feel the need to begin a conversation with me, or other clergy, with the words, “I’m not religious, but...”

Of course, they almost always are religious, at least in the sense that a significant part of their construction of meaning to life is found in something bigger than themselves, engaged with in community with others, according to highly prescribed rituals. Being committed to parkrun or being a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light would be two obvious examples.*

So when they say, “I’m not religious, but...” perhaps what they are really saying is, “I would not have imagined myself to be having a conversation with a priest, but...seeing as you are here, I have a question I've been meaning to ask.”

The fun is in the number of places you can put yourself, to be asked. And in the diversity of questions, which really do range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

*Moreover, I’d want to suggest that human beings are, by nature, not only religious but also worshippers. I would describe worship as the pursuit of glory, in hope of participating in that glory, and my interest is in making connections between the universal religious- and worship-impulse, and the distinctive person of Jesus.

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