Thursday, December 29, 2005

re spiritual tourists/nomads

The Rev. John Simpson, General Superintendent of the Baptist Union of Victoria, Australia, warns in this article, that spiritual tourists are out there, on a mission to express their general angst toward religion and to prove that churches are wrong. If that is indeed their mission, then I believe that the Rev. JS has misnamed them: rather they are spiritual saboteurs or terrorists.

It seems to be a popular phrase of late, "spiritual tourists". Oriah Mountain Dreamer, a writer I had enjoyed in the past, used it also as a pejorative recently on CBC's Tapestry. What's wrong with spiritual tourists? At their most muddleheaded, they can't be worse than the ugly American who demands McD in every foreign city around the world. At their most sinister, they might even be the tourists whose tourist-dollars support the child-prostitution in far too many countries.

If religions are providing an equivalent of "child prostitution" to the spiritual tourists, shame on them, as well as the "tourist". God help us all!

However, I don't believe we need to sneer at spiritual tourists or nomads. There are many reasons why we have become nomads and why we are still searching.

I treasure the friends I have who do have a spiritual home. On many levels, we have agreed not to discuss our differences, because we do actually really love each other, even if we cannot agree on religion. In other words, I refrain from asking my questions, because I feel my friends who do belong within a religious community would be deeply hurt by my questions. Perhaps they have similar reasons for not pushing me. Despite all that, the prayers my beloved friend Lorraine has offered for me through her Catholic faith are among the most treasured gifts anyone has ever given me. (yes, she knows how I feel because I have told her many times!)

At ambivablog, Annie Gottlieb, writes aboutt those creatures, those spiritual nomads, of which I believe I am one. I really enjoyed the discussions that follow. Check it out.


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