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Holistic Spirituality - Wrapping it all up

19 June, 2003 10:01 PM

Thanks for your patience with me on this series of posts. I've found it helpful to write it down. I'm doing another camp next week on the topic so its been helpful preparation.

Here are the posts in the series one last time. INTRO - TRUTH - WONDER - ACTION - LOVE

In summing up I'll make a few last points:

- I'm not a 'Spirituality Expert' by any means at all - in fact in looking at the four quadrants I wonder if I've even really got off ground floor yet!

- The model is not perfect. The four areas overlap significantly and on the two dimensional diagram (pictured below) it is difficult to be strong on both Truth and Love or on both Wonder and Action.

- The model does not describe 'how it is' for all - rather its designed as a framework to think about spirituality - to evaluate the status quo and to inspire growth in new areas.

- This model is not only relevant for individuals but churches might also be able to identify their corporate strengths and growth areas on the model. The diagram pictured makes some gross generalisations about where types of churches MIGHT be able to be plotted.

- The hypothesis of the model is that we can all grow in each area and that a holistic spirituality draws on all quadrants (aims for the middle). Each of us will probably be able to identify one or more areas where we feel we are more comfortable, this might be due to personality, upbringing or experiences. Its fine to have a strong area, but the point of the model is to encourage us to not only celebrate our strengths but to spur us onto developing other ways to connect with God.

- There are dangers in going to the extreme in any area of the model. Individuals and communities can get dangerously out of balance at times - balance is so important.

- In looking at my own life I can plot myself on the model at different places at different times in my life. I suspect this is a normal and healthy thing, especially for young Christians making sense of their faith.

Here is the diagram - I have a word doc copy of it if you'd like a larger copy.

I'm very interested in your feedback on this last series of posts. What do you think of the model? Is it missing something? Does it over emphasise something? Where would you plot your strengths and growth areas? What ways do you use to keep balance?



Thanks for a most thought provoking and spiritually refreshing series Darren!

Richard Hall » 20 June, 2003 1:49 AM

I've found these posts thought provoking and refreshing simultaneously. I think we all need challenging from time to time in this area. I know I certainly do. Far too often "spirituality" is looked at with suspicion in many circles. These entries have given good guidelines for thought and study without any of the vague meanings usually attached to the word.

My church is situated in an area where many of New Age type beliefs congregate. What you have written would I am sure be appreciated by many in developing their own ideas on more biblical grounds than they are used to seeing expressed.

Thanks again, and I would greatly appreciate an email with the diagram. Thanks.

Jan » 20 June, 2003 9:19 AM

I think that a few years back I would've said that the truth has shown me actions of love and those results made me wonder...=)

Now i think that I would say that the wonder of love expressed over my soul has compelled me to allow love to pour out in action that reflects truth.

Funny how truth driven actions and love driven actions are two completely different things....

Darren, thanks for putting all of this together...

Jared Williams » 20 June, 2003 10:05 AM

Interestingly, all of these expressions are "positive" ones, the sorts of things that the church traditionally preaches (I am going somewhere with this).

In our humanity though, we experience God and draw closer to him through a whole range of experiences - for example those that fall within the category of pain, suffering, isolation, separation, grief, doubt etc.

I put positive in quotes because I don't see that these are "negative" emotions, I think for some people they are a large part of their spirituality, but I don't think they are valued as much by the church as expressions of faith.

I wonder if you could equally do a diagram about these less traditional ideas of spirituality. Just thinking out loud.

dan » 20 June, 2003 12:54 PM

Darren - could you send me the word diagram? That'd be great

Thanks mate

hamo » 20 June, 2003 12:55 PM

good point Dan - I wonder if some of it fits within this model though...personally i would fit the painful times in the the wonder and community sphere....maybe I should have worded things a little more 'negatively'....there is alot of truth in your thoughts...thanks

Darren » 20 June, 2003 1:12 PM

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