top of page


Spiritual But Not Religious

This page offers some insights into "SBNR" taken from my own spiritual journey.  It is not to be taken as exhaustive by any means, but may offer some insight to the seeker.  From time to time I will add new references and ideas, so you might want to re-visit.


            Increasingly, people these days are identifying as spiritual but not religious (SBNR).  As traditional religions fail to meet people's needs or address the realities of contemporary life with the compassion they claim is their hallmark, unless people are comfortable being atheistic, they struggle in the gray area of sensing there is more to existence than just the material, but what does that "more" look like?  

The answer to that question involves nothing less than engaging in the timeless quest for the meaning of life.  Once we give up the security of the notion that "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world," we can feel pretty cast adrift.  Where we go from there expresses itself in a spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that run from extreme cynicism to giving over our minds and hearts to some self-deluded (and deluding) cult leader.  Most of us, however, flail around in some middle ground, exploring various theologies and spiritual practices without finding a home that fits as completely and satisfyingly as we'd like.  Or we end up shrugging, being content to say we believe in something but we're not sure what, and going about the busy material life our society rewards.

under the tree_edited.jpg

There are those, however, who do find something that sustains them, and others who find sustenance in the search, the journey, recognizing that, as Poet Laureate Joy Harjo says in her "Eagle Poem" "...know there is more that you can't see, can't hear, can't know except in moments steadily growing..."


            Some aspects of SBNR might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  •  Identifying with "Spirit" as essence rather than a personified "God." 

  •  Seeing the interconnection between all beings, and "spirit" as a river of energy that connects us all

  •  A desire to actively live our spiritual understandings

  • Valuing the spiritual prophets separate from the limiting religions that have developed around them

  •  Reconnecting with nature and feeling our soul/spirit connection to it

  •  Recognizing and honoring the sacred feminine (this should probably be first on the list!)

Some ideas I find  important to consider as one undertakes their spiritual journey.


  • From theologian Jon Sobrino, SJ -- An adequate spirituality begins when a person is "honest with the real."


  • From Jungian psychology (and others) -- working to understanding ourselves is spiritual work


  • From Improv -- 1st rule -- make your partner look good.  (Why not choose as a spiritual practice committing to making someone else look good every day?)

bottom of page