And so, Paul is admonishing believers in Corinth for living with the same mindset: “This life is all we have, so let’s live a little! We aren’t going to be resurrected, so let’s make this life all that it should be!” And, because of this mindset, they were spending time with those of “bad company,” which was clearly corrupting their morals. The rend result was that the witness of their faith in Christ was indistinguishable from those with whom they were spending time.
I am gifted with a great imagination, and an analytical mind, and getting out of the boat, like Peter, to walk on the water toward a promise God has given me, makes me realize just how big those waves of doubt and uncertainty can be. Like a heads up display, I see every possible scenario, both good and bad, with its probability firmly floating above the wave, either granting hope, or threatening impending doom.
As adults we often don’t realize just how many of our decisions are based on similar attempts at fitting in, at defining our identity, at finding our role within our social context. Did I come to this church because it provides the best theological teaching, or because it offers the best programs, or the best adult groups? Did I take this job because I love doing it, or because this type of job pays more money than one that I love to do – and by extrapolation, more money will allow me to get what I really crave?
So, to me, for someone to say that they are “spiritual, but not religious,” means that they are saying something to the effect of “I’m a human being.”
Of course, I’m being deliberately obtuse with my own question, because what people generally want to convey with that statement is that they simply do not subscribe to any form of organized religion, and prefer to find their own method of making sense of the world; that they do not find any meaning in the structures others have created, but prefer to create their own order within the chaos.
It is entirely possible to do the will of the Father without being moved by what we are doing. We can follow all the requirements of a good and just society, without caring about the interests of others. We can do all of these things, but care only about looking good, which is precisely the opposite of what Paul was asking of the believers in Philippi.