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Online Spirituality Focus Group

6 November, 2003 11:32 PM

I took part in a fascinating focus group tonight on the topic of Spirituality. We had a great discussion on the topic and its got me thinking. I thought I'd post the main questions for us to discuss here.

1. How do you define spirituality?

2. How do you 'practice' spirituality?

3. What are some of the ways that help you discover/develop the spiritual aspects of your life?

4. What aspects of spirituality do you find hard to explore?

5. If we were running a 10 week university course on spirituality what would be the core topics you would want to include?

Feel free to answer some or all of these questions in comments below. I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

Comments

Page:

1. How do you define spirituality?

Spirituality for is being human. I do not see a spirituality as a separate category of existence. I do not believe in shutting myself off from the transcendent in every day life. I usually label myself a Christian existentialist.

2. How do you 'practice' spirituality?

I believe that living is practicing spirituality; I believe in holistic living. I try to live like God exists, every moment.

3. What are some of the ways that help you discover/develop the spiritual aspects of your life?

Blogging, prayer, bible reading/meditation and beauty all work to engage me more deeply with the transcendent. The world counteracts being fully human and keeps telling me to be 'secular' to live like only material things exist. I try to practice certain habits that exorcise these errant messages.

4. What aspects of spirituality do you find hard to explore?

I find the most difficulty in sharing my inner life in personal relationships or conversation. I am much more free in the written form--or oral presentation. I also have recently found self-denial, i.e. fasting, very difficult to fit into my current phase of life (new father).

5. If we were running a 10 week university course on spirituality what would be the core topics you would want to include?

:: Define terms and terminology
:: History of 'spirituality' from a Christian and comparative religion/philosophy view
:: Christian theology of existence as an open system (including the transcendent)
:: Supporting authors of this view
:: Practice of historic spiritual disciplines

Tim Bednar » 7 November, 2003 1:00 AM

1. How do you define spirituality?

That which is of "the other," that is outside ourselves yet accessible by us.

2. How do you 'practice' spirituality?

By developing a personal relationship with God through following His Son revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

3. What are some of the ways that help you discover/develop the spiritual aspects of your life?

Prayer. Study and meditation on God's Word. Offering my spiritual gifts to my local community of believers. Corporate worship. Reading Christian books. Music. Applying biblical and critical thinking to the culture.

4. What aspects of spirituality do you find hard to explore?

Fasting. Focused prayer times.

5. If we were running a 10 week university course on spirituality what would be the core topics you would want to include?

Yikes. That's a toughie. Just "spirituality" in general? Or Christian spirituality? The latter would be more my area of "expertise."

Jared » 7 November, 2003 2:04 AM

Seeing as how I'm highly interested in being a college professor one day, I've thought about this a great deal.

I can only give a couple ideas from the top of my head however.

If I were planning a 10 week course, I would divide up inward and outward spirituality in some way. Plus, I might talk about the difference between being spiritual and being religious.

ragamuffin minister » 7 November, 2003 7:53 AM

3. What are some of the ways that help you discover/develop the spiritual aspects of your life?

I would say that reading your Bible and listening to the Holy spirit. Going to church would be a help also..

Michael » 7 November, 2003 8:03 AM

Spirituality is a relationship with God who is Spirit. Relationship with Spirit; i.e. without the interaction of human senses, requires a disconnect from logic and a connect to faith - kinda like a train switching tracks.

Rene » 7 November, 2003 11:41 AM

I'm finding the 12 steps of AA to be useful to me at this point. Although I've been Christian and turned on to spiritual things most of my life, for some reason my Christian faith has not helped me to 'take hold' and take action. I'm finding that in the steps. I actually have to DO something. Imagine that! haha.

Laura » 7 November, 2003 2:36 PM

Been thinking about the university course thing. Depends how broad you want to make the range that "spirituality" course. And whether practical activities are included.

I did a thirteen(?) week 3rd year degree level course on Christian spirituality called "Historical and Contemporary Models of Spirituality". It was seminar and practical based. Topics included: early Church spirituality, Desert fathers & mothers, Celtic, medieval mysticism, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, mendicant spirituality, Julian of Norwich, creation spirituality, feminist spirituality, Lutheran spirituality, Pacific Island, and others. Each student would pick a topic.

Each week a student would give out reading for the class to do before doing a 1-2 hour seminar on their topic. Then the class would be given an individual practical exercise to do during the week relating to that spiritual tradition. Then at the end of the week the student would facilitate a group activity based on their tradition. (Oh, and we had to do a 4000-5000 essay on our chosen tradition)

On the whole it worked well. The lecturer did some introduction stuff and picked up the topics that weren't picked up by students.

I very much think that some historical content and context adds much rather than just "sampling" bit's and pieces. Also, seeing where traditions fit on the kataphatic/apophatic scale was helpful too.

Cheers.

Stephen » 9 November, 2003 1:50 PM

Dear all,

A small contribution to the spiritual world. I have developed a new spiritual website which I request you to visit,

http://www.thespiritual.org

I look forward to receiving your comments and feedback. If you find it useful, please pass on the link to other friends.

Thanks and regards
Vivek

The Editor » 18 March, 2005 4:32 PM

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