Stripping Spirituality Down to the Basics

A reader writes …

I finished reading Naked Spirituality yesterday (and met with our pastor immediately after :)). I read the book slowly and peacefully so that I could reflect and truly take the time to take it all in. This part of my life journey has not been easy…I’d kept my head high and pushed on…and in the tears and reflection, I am discovering who I am…the me that I was, the one I am now and the one I am becoming. I’d lost hope along the way…and I’d lost God, too…not intentionally or consciously and I truly felt I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other…but in trying to do it ‘all myself’, I lost important parts of my spirit. I still smiled and laughed and positively parented and tried to be the best wife…but I was so weary and my smiles and laughter were not from my heart… Your writing has meant so much to me…I am still healing and I will always be a work in progress…but I have peace…and I never had had that before. I am so raw now and stripping spirituality down to the basics has helped me discover a God that is different from the one I thought I knew before…
You’ve inspired me and have given me words to rediscover ‘me’…I am able to ‘be’ and listen to the silence…and that is so powerful.

This “stripping down” is what is behind the book’s title, of course.
In regards to that that stripping-down metaphor, I recently rediscovered a passage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison (in Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity After Religion – a wonderful book, by the way, available next month). I had seen this passage referred to many times before (most recently in Peter Rollins’ Insurrection – another excellent book):

What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience – and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving toward a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore. Even those who honestly describe themselves as “religious” do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by “religious”

But I had forgotten about this part:

What does that mean for “Christianity?” If religion is only a garment of Christianity – and even this garment has looked very different at different times – then what is a religionless Christianity?

That would have been a great epigram from Naked Spirituality. (By the way, NS will be available in paperback on March 6 – a little late for a Lenten study, since Lent begins Feb 22, but you could perhaps have two weeks of warm-up, then five weeks to read and practice with the book.)