Spirituality and religion

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between faith and spirituality. I’ve finally nailed down a definition that makes sense to me. Spirituality is a sense that there’s something bigger, transcendent in the universe. This is religion:

Enter Sam: I got sober, I got pregnant, don’t ask me how that works, it is just the way it was. And as some of you may know, there were these tiny little problems. For instance, the father was — comment se dit — not that enthusiastic about my having a baby, and I had no money. But I’d been going to this little church for a while by then, and when I announced during worship that I was pregnant, people cheered. All these old people, raised in fundamentalist houses in the Deep South, cheered. It was so amazing. They almost immediately saw me as the incubator who was going to bring them a new baby, to have and to hold. So they set about providing for us. They brought clothes, they brought furniture, they brought me soul-food casseroles to keep in the freezer, they brought me assurance that he was going to be a part of this family. And they began slipping me money.

Go read the whole essay. It’s amazing.

Another nail in irony’s coffin

So, a Vietnam war veteran decides to give his Purple Heart to President Bush:

Thomas said he and his wife came up with the unprecedented idea to present the president with the Purple Heart over breakfast one morning a few months ago as they discussed the verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, the commander in chief has withstood during his time in office.
“We feel like emotional wounds and scars are as hard to carry as physical wounds,” Thomas said.

OK, it’s a free country. Whatever. The surreal thing is that President Bush invited Mr. Thomas to the White House to present him the medal.
Mr. Thomas’ remark after the ceremony: “He said he didn’t feel like he had earned it.”
Gee, ya think?

Money Cometh

Rafe Colburn links to an article in the Washingon Post about the self-help phenomenon The Secret. I was not previously aware of this hit book, but as soon as I read it, I thought: this sounds like it appeals to the same type of people who are attracted to the Gospel of prosperity. Two sides of the same coin. Interesting.
(NOTE: I’m only linking to pages that are critical of the respective movements. I don’t want to give google karma to the proponents.)