Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spirituality ~ Take Two

Filed under: Spirituality,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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This is for the believers, the non-believers and the others who aren’t quite sure.

I am a deeply spiritual person who is inclined to listen with interest to other’s beliefs, however, will always make up my mind about what will become a part of me. Spiritual beliefs are developed individually and quite often deal with issues of a more personal or intimate nature than those addressed by religious doctrine.

SpiritualityTake2I am not a religious person. Religion is a specific church’s organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of rules, narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, not unlike a “how-to” guide, that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to God or a higher power usually within that church’s denomination. Most religions and denominations are about conformity and the leadership has the right to demand such. However, it puts limits on us and often traps us in its dogma. God is too big to be confined to any one religion or denomination.

To me, spirituality means that, once one has accepted his or her faith in God, Great Spirit or a Higher Power (or whatever they choose to call it), how they personally choose to express it is their own personal choice not particularly what a church denomination chooses to impose on their followers. Spirituality is natural. We all have it, whether we know it or practice it, it is in us.

“Spirituality is NOT a Religion. Being spiritual just means you are in touch with your own divine self.” ~ Anna Pereira

Spirituality has to do with what we make of what religion offers us and what we make of our place in life relative to the Divine, to self and to others. Religion could be thought of, at least in very general terms, as a large shared human activity organized and passed along in time to help individuals in their relationship to the Divine and to one another.

Spirituality is all about finding the truth that resonates the highest with you. Religion is based on a fixed belief-system, and to be included (or to be saved) you need to adopt this belief system. There is a place for religion in society the same as spirituality. Spiritual people believe in God. Religious people believe in God. Both believe in God in different ways and I’m okay with that.

So to some, to be spiritual may mean the individual expression of their faith without religious interference from a church or any reference to God. It is only and always a personal choice. It is the connection we feel to something greater than ourselves. In a sense, spirituality is personalized religion. It also means that you recognize and acknowledge a power or sensibility within yourself and outside of yourself, beyond the purely physical or mental.

One of the reasons it is important for me to be clear about this is, because as an ordained minster, before I perform my “romantic” wedding ceremony, I always ask the bride and groom about their spiritual beliefs. I get a wide assortment of answers which often leads to some very interesting conversations. Some are believers, others are non-believers and there are others who aren’t quite sure.

I need to know what path they are on because each ceremony is always customized to their complete satisfaction. The more I understand what page they are on, the better I can design the ceremony. I also believe that it’s important for them to know who I am and what I believe to be true for me (which was the inspiration to write this article). The bride and groom always get to choose just how spiritual they want their wedding ceremony to be – or not. Sometimes we substitute the word Love for God. You believers know that God is Love, and those couples who choose to express their spirituality in a softer way have every right to do so.

My belief is that what is in the wedding ceremony should only and always be the choice of the bride and groom, not what any Minister thinks should be in it. I never push my beliefs off on anyone. I always respect their beliefs. And… they get to choose.

It is also my belief that you must never forget the importance of the spiritual side of your relationship. Just as we Celebrate Love we can also Celebrate our Spirituality in a way that never encroaches upon another’s beliefs nor do we become someone who believes that if you don’t believe my way you are going straight to hell. My God allows me to choose not to be that way.

I am content in my beliefs and no longer concern myself with what others think. Sorry, after I wrote that, I read it again and will acknowledge that it may have sounded a little cocky… I guess I just needed you to hear me say what’s true. 😉

Free at last! Free at last!

BONUS Article: Religion vs. Spirituality ~ Some of what I said in the above article, you will find there as well.
The Benefits of Integrating Spirituality into Your Daily Life
Holy! Holy! Holy!
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Vows, Parents & Religion: Conundrum!


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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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