Published by The Critograph on March 23, 2016
Katherine Graves, Staff Writer-
Lynchburg College‘s new Spiritual but Not Religious (SBNR) group explores spirituality through open discussion.
“I started the group because we noticed that there were a lot of young people who felt they were spiritual but didn’t belong to a specific religion,” Writing Center Director and English Composition Professor Jeremy Bryant said.
Bryant started the group with junior Shelby Voorhees because they felt the LC community needed a group where people could explore spirituality without the pressure to convert to a particular religion.
“I think Lynchburg College does a really great job with offering support for people of specific religions. But what happens to the student who doesn’t feel like they fit into a particular religion, but they still want to be satisfied on a spiritual level?” Bryant said.
Bryant hopes that the group will provide students with an opportunity to examine different spiritualties in an open environment.
“It might help them to make a decision about where they want to go spiritually, or they may just remain very open to different paths. But it’s basically a safe zone for them to ask questions and explore without feeling like they’ve got to convert to a specific path,” Bryant said.
Bryant will often lead the meetings, but the group also plans to have meetings with guest speakers. Bryant is working on bringing in speakers who practice Wicca, Judaism, Daoism and Shamanism.
“We also want guest speakers to come in and share so that people can see how the spiritual path impacts that person’s everyday life,” Bryant said.
Bryant said the meetings are informal. Before the meetings the group decides a topic. The group examined the topic of heaven and hell for their first meeting. There are also plans for a discussion on gender.
After the topic is decided, Bryant or a student researches the topic and presents to the group how a religion views the topic. Then group members can voice their opinions in an open discussion. There are snacks and tea offered at the meetings.
“It’s a good, just open discussion where people don’t feel pressure. No one’s going to judge them for their beliefs or lack of beliefs,” Bryant said.
The SBNR group will have its next meeting Tuesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. in the basement of the Spiritual Life Center. The group will continue to meet twice a month, every other Tuesday.