It strikes me that one of the more subtle temptations when mining through the spiritual tradition is what I will call “hobby spirituality.” Hobby spirituality is when one gives in to the temptation of curiosity. In this sense, aspects of the tradition, probably “new” to the individual, are grasped simply because of their newness. There is a thrill with practices and, sometimes, whole cultures that are foreign simply because they are foreign. People who give in to this temptation often saturate their lives with ancient practices and turn them into a hobby. As with any hobby, they become connoisseurs. Elitism develops, followed by disdain for those who don’t share their “understanding.”
I think this is a temptation many have succumbed to in the spiritual formation movement. The temptation here is to take one’s eyes off of Christ and turn them to becoming conversant within a niche group of spiritually interested people. It often leads to a failure to take the theology behind the practices and cultures seriously, adopting the fruit without paying attention to the roots. Spiritual hobbies, furthermore, tend to slowly and subtly share more in common with worldly spirituality than with Christian spirituality. Christianity becomes replaced with spirituality.
Have you seen this at all? Let me suggest one tell-tale sign. When people give up on the church, they are often succumbing to the temptation to turn spirituality into a hobby.