I once walked 500 miles of Spain’s famous Camino de Santiago. Some 200,000 pilgrims now traverse this enormously popular route each year. Only a small fraction go for traditional religious reasons such as prayer, penance, and solitude; far more participate for the physical challenge, as an economical vacation, for a long-distance hike in good company, or for spiritual reasons other than traditional Christian motivations.
As I walked beside, listened to, and shared bandages and meals with seekers from around the world, I was impressed over and over again by how earnestly my companions were searching for deep, authentic ways of living. I came away from the journey less dismissive of folks who label themselves spiritual but not religious. I am convinced that Christians have much to learn from them and that we will remain foggy about our own Good News until we do.