5.21am on Tuesday 16 July 2024

The Sacred Secular Divide

Whether consciously stated or not, an implicit divide has developed in our thinking between the sacred / spiritual and the secular. This dualism has taken centuries to form and it can have a subtle impact on the way we imagine God and our faith.

What do you see as the difference between sacred and secular?

Take a look at the sequence of images below and decide which are more sacred and which are more secular.

You may be very clear about some of the images and less so about others.

Think about the way you make your choices.






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When Christians describe the difference between sacred and secular they often use these kinds of definitions.


  • Anything relating to God
  • Anything to do with the church
  • Things religous
  • Other worldly
  • The most important sphere of life
  • Ideal form of work is full time Christian work


  • Everyday things that have little or nothing to do with God
  • Less important
  • Secular is out there in the world
  • About earning money
  • You can witness to your non-Christian workmates in a secular world
  • Some forms of secular work have a spiritual value
  • Doesn't count for much

Is this separation at all helpful to us in living out our faith or does it just get in the way?

"If we are to see the true significance of all work we do we simply must deal with the dualism that dominates our view of the Christian life. It's simply not biblical -and so is counterproductive to our aim of seeing God at work in this world of his.

It is only as we learn to work with God, learning to see that what we do is connected with what he is doing, that we will close the false gap between secular and spiritual."

Alistair Mackenzie from Where's God on Monday?

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having a human experience".

Teillhard de Chardin Scientist and Theologian

What about your work?

In what ways are you aware of a divide between the sacred/spiritual and the secular in your life?

What would it take for you to see your work and world as sacred?

Share your thoughts about how you see the sacred in your work

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