Posts tagged spiritual development
Episode 21: Long Lost Friends: Faith & Human Development | James W. Fowler's Stages of Faith

How does our view of God & His love for us change as we grow from childhood into adulthood?  Looking at how our faith develops over the span of human development, using James W. Fowler's Stages of Faith.  We talk a lot of attachment theory, and how we have frozen in different developmental stages in a few ways.   

Debate: Who's the bigger nerd?  Susette or Brandon?

You can vote on our Desire Line Podcast Community on Facebook!

The OC Supertones "Found"

A Chart comparing Fowler's Stages of Faith with M. Scott Peck (see ep 15-18 of the Desire Line)

Information on this episode was taken from this article by Rose Anne Karesh (Thank you, Rose Anne!):

From the article:

James Fowler's Stages of Faith
Stage 1:
(3 to 7 years ) Intuitive–Projective stage in which children are beginning to be able to use symbols and their imaginations. However children in this stage are very self-focused and inclined to take very literally (and self-referentially) ideas about evil, the devil or other negative aspects of religion. The ability to sort out reality from fantasy is not well developed.

Stage 2:
(6-12 years, school age) Mythic–Literal stage in which information is organized into stories. These stories, along with moral rules, are understood literally and concretely. There is little ability to step back from the story and formulate an overarching meaning. Justice and fairness are seen as reciprocal. A few people remain in this stage throughout their lives.

Stage 3:
(adolescence to early adulthood, some people remain permanently in this stage) Synthetic–Conventional stage in which people believe without having critically examined their beliefs. Their beliefs are in what they have been taught and in what they see “everyone else” as believing too. There is a strong sense of identity with the group. People in this stage are not very open to questions because questions are frightening at this point of development. People in this stage place a large amount of trust in external authority figures and tend not to recognize that they are within a belief system “box” as their beliefs are internalized but have not been examined.

Stage 4:
(the earlier in adulthood the easier on the person) Individuative-Reflective stage in which a person begins to recognize they are in a “box” and look outside it. People in this stage ask questions and see the contradictions or problems in their beliefs. This can be a very painful stage as old ideas are now modified and sometimes rejected altogether. Some people give up on faith altogether at this point but faith can be strengthened in this stage as beliefs become explicitly, personally held. There is a strong reliance on the logic, rational mind and the self.

Stage 5:
(usually not before mid-life) Conjunctive stage in which a person who has gone through the deconstruction of the Individuative-Reflective stage begins to let go of some of the reliance on their own rational mind and recognize that some experiences are not logical or easily understood at all. The move here is from either/or to both/and; complexity and paradox are embraced. People in this stage are more willing to dialogue with people of other faiths, seeking further information and correction to their own beliefs, and are able to do this without letting go of their own faith.

Stage 6:
Universalizing stage. Very few people reach this stage, which is characterized by seeing all of humanity as one brotherhood and taking profound, self-sacrificing action to care for all humanity because of this view.

Article on Play Therapy:

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

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.

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…”

James Fowler Stage of Faith

M. Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled
-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?"

Episode 11: Salvation & The Church

Gospel is bigger than the "plan of Salvation" or bigger than the question of "where am I going to go when I die? Heaven or Hell?" The story of the Bible in big picture is to restore the original “Garden of Eden”, where we were able to walk with God daily, intimately, unashamed. Jesus came to restore that intimacy for all of us.
Jesus breaks down tribalism. We look at denominations, and doctrine, and how we tend to leave tension earlier than we should.
Check out the Welcoming Prayer, posted on Episode 6 blog post.
Contemplative prayer connected to focus, and Philippians 4:6+7.
Cultural understanding of individualized culture that we live in in the West, and using Susette's experience with her husbands family in Mexican-American culture in examples of family centered/collectivist culture that's closer to 1st century Judaism.
How have we interpreted the idea of salvation through our Western eyes, while trying to live by the Bible, who's authors do not come from a Western American perspective culturally?

“Despite its protests to the contrary, modern Christianity has become willy-nilly the religion of the state and the economic status quo. Because it has been so exclusively dedicated to incanting anemic souls into heaven, it has, by a kind of ignorance, been made the tool of much earthly villainy. It has, for the most part, stood silently by, while a predatory economy has ravaged the world, destroyed its natural beauty and health, divided and plundered its human communities and households. It has flown the flag and chanted the slogans of empire.
Wendell Berry

N.T. Wright: The Day the Revolution Began

Here's some video/podcast recommendations for N.T. Wright:

Scot McKnight: What is the Gospel?