The difference between “religious” and “spiritual:” The former is a system of acts. The latter is a manner of living. The former is a routine. The latter is spontaneous and responsive to the minute.
Both are useful, but the latter is the stuff of living and breathing. Religion cannot make you spiritual, but godly sprituality can make your religious life dynamic. Religion is a teaching thing, and it builds a skeleton for your spirituality to grow on. Spirituality feeds the skeleton so it doesn’t get osteoporosis and collapse. (And there is plenty of fake spirituality out there that is so glamorous. Caveat Petitor—Seeker Beware.)
Right now (17-Jan-09), I believe it doesn’t matter what religion one is practicing, as long as it derives from your own clear relationship with the real God (the One who sent Christ). But it does matter which spiritual power is at work within you. It matters that it is a God spirit and not a man spirit. Even the most ethical and moral intentions cannot make a man spirit give life. It is the God spirit that gives life. The other spirit(s) “jam” the God spirit when they supplant it. (John the Baptist said “I must decrease…He must increase.”)
We can’t bring anything to God. We are good empty. This is how we need to be. The nearer empty we get the more He can supply us with the good stuff. It’s the business of swapping our man spirit with His God spirit – the Substitution that is spoken of in Paul’s writings: “…He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him…” Christ can bear our crud. He did and He does. We just need to deliver it to Him to make room for the good stuff he wants to come into us with. It’s what was going on at that crucial (cruxial) moment that was the pivotal point of His coming.
No matter how one comes to this, it is the spark of life. There’s nothing we can fill our emptiness with that is more exciting and nourishing and joyful than the spirit of God. This is not the stuff of pews and sermons. It is the stuff of our seconds and minutes and hours all the time all the time all the time.
“What comfort can a Savior bringTo those who never felt their woe?A sinner is a sacred thing,The Holy Spirit has made him so.” (as quoted by Spurgeon)