Many people see religion as being primarily concerned with a separate spiritual reality. This creates a difficulty for modern thinkers who are used to the kind of empirical 'proofs' provided by science. Personally, I am left unsatisfied with the view that simply affirms that everything about the spiritual life simply needs to be taken by faith and that the use of logic or the intellect are barriers to faith. At the same time, I must acknowledge that science does not provide the tools to answer questions of faith - not surprising given that the questions of science are generally very different in character.
William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, suggested that we should abolish the distinctions between acts of compassion and religion - that it should be considered a spiritual act to feed a hungry person. This is the best starting point that I have found to understand the nature of spirituality. What we do in this life doesn't impact on a separate plane of existence, but it encompasses in this reality that aspect of life which we call spirituality.
This gives an exciting and liberating view of the place of social services within The Salvation Army. They are an integral part of the spiritual life of the organisation; all who take part in extending the compassionate hand of God towards those who are in need are performing a spiritual service. It may even be that a rediscovered correlation between spirituality and social service has the potential to helpfully reunite our dual mission.