Abductive Columns

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Spiritual Formation

We live in a fast changing new world in which spiritual disciplines look very different. Harmoniously, human formation is being built around iPODs, streaming MPEG videos and CD-ROMs. With fewer practicing the spiritual disciplines at specific times or in particular settings the boundaries between the sacred and secular have morphed into a single continuum. They have become more holistic; of heart, mind, and body. Though the Bible is still at the center (not necessarily through print media) and the goal remains to bring people in closer relationship with Jesus the options are as varied as the species that inhabit the earth. Here are a few:

Holistic—Spiritual disciplines not only train the mind. They will integrate ones relationship with God, self, and intimate others. Spirituality and healthy living is interrelated. Physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being is the goal of discipline.

Lifestyle Based—Spiritual disciplines are oriented around life experiences as opposed to a curriculum. They not only adjust lifestyle but shape one’s lifestyle. Demographics, race, gender, martial status, age, attitude, and music customize individual disciplines.

Culture Customization—Spiritual disciplines never seek to fortify the will to resist the temptation of culture. Conversely, they shape an intuition that perceives God in, and through, culture. Ethnic orientation and cross-cultural ideas, practices and behavior make spiritual formation contextual and indigenous. Culture has become a vehicle, not a barrier, to the infinite.

Symbol, Metaphor, and Mantra—Spiritual disciplines are not the practice of a principle but seek to live out a metaphor. Spiritual disciplines are not about defending a theological perspective but about elaborating variations on a theme. Spiritual formation resembles jazz improvisation, not a Gregorian chant. Images and objects remove abstractions and dogmatic propositions as the focus of our mediations.


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