Friday, June 19, 2009

SBNR Language: Gender, Age and Diversity

Over the last ten days, 201 people completed the language survey. Participants were asked to check the selections that best captured their sense of the phrase “Spiritual but not Religious”.

A few notable highlights of the results include the following:

- The two most popular phrases were “Inclusive and open vs Separatist and closed” and “Personal discovery vs Orthodox beliefs”. Both were chosen by 41% of participants.
- 46% of men chose “Inclusive and open vs Separatist and closed” compared to 39% of women.
- 53% of men chose “Personal discovery vs Orthodox beliefs” compared to 34% of women.
- 51% of people aged 31 to 45 chose “Inclusive and open vs Separatist and closed” compared to 33% of people aged 46 to 64.
- The third most popular phrase was one that was suggested by a Founding Contributor in the original Survey. It was “Journey of growth vs statement of truth.”
- The fourth most popular phrase was “Values such as love and peace vs Beliefs such as afterlife and atonement.”

Here is a selection of the many thought provoking alternative suggestions offered by participants:

Work in progress vs Quick fixes
Hopeful vs Fearful
Connected to all vs Separate from some
Vibrating with the universe vs Religion by recipe
Responsible creator vs Passive victim
Responsible Freedom vs Stifling Control
Personal belief not Group belief
Synchronicity vs Division
Goodness - for its own sake
Compassionate as opposed to Judging
Listening as opposed to Telling/declaring
Responsive as opposed to Stagnant
Wondering rather than Knowing
Mystery rather than Certainty
The meal vs. The menu

I especially appreciated the one participant who, with brutal honesty, suggested the following:
NewAgey rather than Rigorous.
Vague rather than Specific.
Fashionable rather than Encompassing complexity.

One participant offered the phrase, Burned by organization but open to spirituality. My heart aches at this response, as I know the pain of being burned by the church. My deepest desire is that those of us in the SBNR movement who are hurt by the church can find healing. As we create a community of love and acceptance, we will be a force for healing in the world.

Thank you to all who participated. It has been most helpful, and I intend to use many of the new phrases. All perspectives are valid. Thanks for sharing.