When we talk about someone using a "crutch" to perform a task it tends to take on a negative connotation. I don't believe that's necessarily true. A crutch in the literal sense of the word is that which helps someone support themselves when they are unable to do so unaided. If you are unable to walk then a set of crutches can allow you to stand and walk on your own, giving you both mobility and independence-a very good thing.
Every other Thursday, my wife and I head down to the home of our friends Tom and Katie. There is a group of us there to discuss various spiritual issues. Tom and Katie are both strong channels and healers. Tom generally channels for the group and topics flow from there. Some weeks ago, Tom said that ritual wasn't necessary and it made me think of crutches. Now, the funny thing about Tom is that when he hits on these topics, everyone has a slightly different take on exactly what it means. For me, I immediately thought of my Reiki practice. Reiki is filled with certain rituals, symbols and hand positions that the healer uses to channel energy to the one being healed.
This brought me to a realization. Ritual is a spiritual crutch. This is true regardless of the religion or spiritual belief. I am able to channel some really strong energy when I conduct a healing session and the time I spend in ritual preparation helps me to access that power. I really don't need the ritual but it helps me to make that connection and makes me that much stronger. That's a worthwhile crutch to have!