I have long suspected . . . that people who identify themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’ are really opting out of the hassles of dealing with other people. I once heard a woman declare that she did not need church to find God; after describing at length some trails along a river where she went to meditate, she became angry when I asked, ‘What would happen if someone else showed up?’ Her unwillingness to even consider the question stands in sharp contrast to Saint Benedict’s response to a pilgrim who appeared at his hermitage explaining that he had brought a gift of food because it was Easter. Benedict replied: ‘I know that it is Easter, for I have been granted the grace of seeing you.’

Kathleen Norris, “Community,” The Word-Soaked World symposium in Image #75