Episode 17: Navigating Tension in Faith| Spiritual Development III

This is our third episode in an arc on Spiritual Development. We look closer at Stages II and III of M. Scott Peck's Stages of Faith, and how we can navigate tensions to this journey moving towards union with God.  It's important to evaluate what part of Christianity we try to protect out of fear. Our goal: "Life in the Spirit" (see Romans 8) meaning to move into union with God. 

Our guest music today is: Feel Your Love, by Still Spoken
You can find it on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/track/3wWxnAjCikcl6Ug9Fymr09

Reminder of the M. Scott Peck's Stages of Faith:
Stage I: Chaotic, Antisocial
Stage II: Formal, Institutional, Fundamental
Stage III: Skeptic, Individual, Questioner
Stage IV: Mystic, Communal

Part of the dark side of stage 2 is high boundaries, but because of fear, there's no openness to tension.

Sermon on the Mount reference re: murder, adultery and divorce: Matthew 5:21

Jesus is moving the focus of spirituality out of the rules into the center of our heart, where we need God to be transformed.
If faith is not marked with compassion, and is not moving you towards openness in God, then it'll become religious and legalistic.
The point of healthy boundaries is to lead you into LIFE.

Recommended podcast on Jewish & Hebrew culture: "Stuff Jews Should Know."

Examples of Stage II to Stage III transitions in the Bible:
-Galatians 6: Paul reframing the importance of circumcision vs. being transformed into a new creation through Jesus Christ.
-Peter having a vision about allowing "unclean" foods to be eaten. (Acts 10:9-16)
-Jesus breaking sabbath laws with healing, eating grain, etc.

This transition is usually a result of suffering. These "rules" or the way that God and the world make sense based on religion until suffering happens in life, and the rules stop making sense.

Matthew 12:1
A Discussion about the Sabbath
12 At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. 2 But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.”

3 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. 5 And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? 6 I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! 7 But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[a] 8 For the Son of Man[b] is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

Development is a process of maturing over time, through life stages. We can get stuck in different development stages, and never move past them.

From the therapeutic perspective:
Looking at the amygdala + limbic system, the amygdala triggers "fight or flight" in our reactions. Even though in our current culture, our lives are rarely threatened day to day, we'll continue to experience life day to day as "threatening."

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
Viktor E. Frankl

Our guest music today is: Feel Your Love, by Still Spoken
You can find it on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/track/3wWxnAjCikcl6Ug9Fymr09

Susette Magana
Episode 16: Spiritual Development II: Faith + How It Grows

Looking deeper at M. Scott Peck's Stages of Faith
M. Scott Peck, Stages of Faith
Stage I:  Chaotic, Antisocial
-Antisocial (not caring about community or others, but only own self-interests).
Stage II: Formal, Institutional, Fundamental
-Faith is part of the person’s life. 
-Can imagine this person giving a testimony in church.  
-Not only is belief the TRUTH, but the TRUTH is simple.  

Stage III:  Skeptic, Individual, Questioner
-Life is more gray than previously acknowledged
-There’s struggle here-- questioning what you thought was TRUTH, or why it was truth. 

Stage IV:  Mystic, Communal
Community/relationship focused
(see Jesus: Love God & your neighbor)  

Mark 12:30-31
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’  The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  No other commandment is greater than these.”

John 17:3
And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.


Brandon's interpretation: 
I Chaos  (Antisocial/Chaotic)
II Boundaries  (Institutional/Formal)
III Tension  (Skepticism/Questioning)
IV Union  (Mystic, Communal)

We talk divorce, sex and love addiction, and how to engage in boundaries in the midst of life events that we can't control. 

Christian worldview is about union with God in the midst of suffering. 

2 Corinthians 1: 4-6
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 

We talk about Rumspringa, an Amish + Mennonite rite of passage for adolescents.  

Check out a new favorite podcast: "Stuff Jews Should Know," 

Psalm 91
If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
 

Episode 15: Patterns of Spiritual Development

Every faith journey is different, but are there discernible patterns that are common among us?
Law was good, but it could never transform
It was good, it taught you that we live in a moral universe, you weren’t designed to live under a baby-sitter for ever, meant to mature and live by the Spirit
It’s openness to God that transforms, Jesus is the path to openness in God, in his death, he demonstrated his absolute trust—his absolute openness—to God and to resurrection life in Jesus.

There often will come a point where you have to get off the paved path. Often times it’s suffering or some sort of inner conflict, or a product of the Christian culture that we're living in today.

“If you ask anybody, ‘What’s the activity that you had that made you who you are?’ no one says, ‘You know I had a really great vacation in Hawaii.’ No one says that. They say, ‘I had a period of struggle. I lost a loved one. I was in the Army. And that period of struggle or that period of toughness made me who I am.’”

This idea of the dark night, some period where your faith seems inadequate or your suffering makes you ask, “Where is God?” is one of the key characteristics in the pattern of spiritual development

Every journey is different, but are there discernible patterns to the spiritual journey?
This can help us normalize our journey! We are not alone.
“It hurts to become real”
-The Velveteen Rabbit

SCRIPTURE
This development is actually normalized in Scripture
We are all being changed (2 Corinthians 3:18) What matters is becoming new creation

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Law-NT
Paul: law is a baby-sitter (Galatians 3:24)

Law was good, but it could never transform
It was good, it taught you that we live in a moral universe, you weren’t designed to live under a baby-sitter for ever, meant to mature and live by the Spirit
It’s openness to God that transforms, Jesus is the path to openness in God, in his death, he demonstrated his absolute trust—his absolute openness—to God and to resurrection life in God
Development in the nation of Israel
Jesus: Kingdom of Heaven: Mustard seed
NT Wright: every generation must wrestle with…
“We must stop giving 16th century answers…”

PSYCHOLOGY
James Fowler Stage of Faith

M. Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled
http://www.whale.to/b/peck1.html
-Stage I Chaotic, Antisocial
Antisocial in that it’s all “me” (perhaps Hedonistic)

-Stage II Formal, Institutional, Fundamental
Boundaries good
Dark side: very either-or, all-or-nothing. Have difficulty explaining, or comforting when experiencing suffering.

-Stage III
Skeptic, Individual, Questioner
Life is more gray than previously acknowledged

-Stage IV
Mystic, Communal
Open to God

Notice, Every pattern or theory of development we’re going to talk about today ends in some sort of “union”

It's possible, or probable to be in more than one at once. Not linear.
We may be in both or all at different times.

Exercise: In the midst of a painful thought, relationship or memory, asking God: "How can you be so good?"