Occasionally one comes across a book that proves to be an inspiring read. I guess such gems should not be kept for oneself. So, I will happily share a few from time-to-time.
Aslan, Reza (2017) GOD: A HUMAN HISTORY OF RELIGION. An inspiring and freshing read for adult faith seekers, challenging particularly the monopoly often attributed to monotheism. The human search for God and divine meaning is a great deal more complex.
Boff, Leonardo (2014), COME HOLY SPIRIT. Some ground-breaking and original insights on the emerging theology of the Holy Spirit today, largely inspired by Quantum physics and the New Cosmology.
Delio, Ilia (2019), BIRTH of a DANCING STAR. This is Ilia's autobiography. An intersting and informative read. I found Chpater 13, on the interface between humans and modern technology especially informative and helpful.
Ehrman, Bart D. (2018), THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY. Contrary to popular understanding, Christinaity has for long been a religious with a diverse set of beliefs around God and spiritual meaning. An insightful read!
Wes Howard-Brook (2016), EMPIRE BAPTIZED. An incisive and informed critique on how values of Empire has so seriously undermined the primary commitment to Creation which he rightly claims is central to the Judaeo-Christian faith.
Johnson, Elizabeth (2018) CREATION AND THE CROSS. An admirable attempt to shift the understanding of the Cross (and crucifixion) beyond the human ficus to include all the other organisms, and their sufferings, in our understanding of the Paschal Journey.
Orobator, Agbonk E. (2018), RELIGION AND FAITH IN AFRICA. For many body involved in Christian ministry in Africa this is essential reading, by a Jesuit scholar who thoroughly understands African spirituality from within.
Spong, John Shelby (2016), BIBLICAL LITERALISM: A Gentile Heresy. Excellent resource for adult-faith interpretation.
This version of the Cosmic Walk traces Creation’s story in a two-pronged approach:
a)Specific Stages identified with a particular date, based on current scientific knowledge.
Some further ideas can be gleaned from these link pages:
I am a workshop-leader and group facilitator. In professional terms, I am NOT a spiritual director, theologian or Scripture scholar (despite an intense interest in all those subjects), and I am not professionally trained to facilitate RETREATS. I list below the topics I am happy to explore and facilitate with any audience, religious or otherwise.
a) An EVENING LECTURE: providing a general outline of the topic and some practical implications for our time.
b) A ONE DAY SEMINAR: This provides a more detailed overview and an opportunity for dialogue and participation.
c) A THREE-DAY or WEEKEND WORKSHOP: The best format for a more thorough exploration with maximum opportunity for participant involvement.
5. Excellent web page: http://www.evolutionarychristianity.org
How the story of evolution, - in terms of cosmos, earth, and humanity - unravels the benign mystery within which everything is held in being.
1. Ilia Delio (2013), THE UNBEARABLE WHOLENESS OF BEING.
2. John F. Haught (2010), MAKING SENSE OF EVOLUTION.
3. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2008), ANCESTRAL GRACE.
4. Phipps, Carter (2012), EVOLUTIONARIES.
5. WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT? (Journal) (Jan-Mar, 2007).
The sacred at work through our 7,000,000 year evolution, and its significant implications for spirituality and theology.
1. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2008), ANCESTRAL GRACE
2. Ann Gibbons (2006), THE FIRST HUMANS
3. Steve Taylor (2005), THE FALL
4. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (Special Edition), Vol.16 (No.2), 2006
5. Web page: www.becominghuman.org
1. John Horgan (2003), RATIONAL MYSTICISM.
2. Amy Corzine (2008), THE SECRET LIFE OF THE UNIVERSE
3. Kathleen Fischer (2009), LOVING CREATION: CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY, EARTH-CENTRED AND JUST.
4. Brian Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker (2011), JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE
5. Web page: http://www.wccm.org
1. Ursula King (2009), THE SEARCH FOR SPIRITUALITY
2. Gordon Lynch (2007), THE NEW SPIRITUALITY: An Introduction to Belief beyond Religion.
3, Miriam Therese Winter (2009), PARADOXOLOGY: Spirituality in a Quantum Universe
4. Matthew Fox (2000), SINS OF THE SPIRIT, BLESSINGS OF THE FLESH.
5. Kathleen Fischer (2009), LOVING CREATION: Christian Spirituality, Earth-Centred and Just.
6. Web page:http://www.integrativespirituality.org
1. John Dominic Crossan (2007), GOD AND EMPIRE.
2. Stephen J. Patterson (2014), THE LOST WAY: How Two Forgotten Gospels are Rewriting
the Story of Christian Origins.
3. John Selby Spong (2016) BIBLICAL LITERALISM: A Gentil Heresy.
4. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2012), CHRISTIANITY'S DANGEROUS MEMORY
(2014), ON BEING A POSTCOLONIAL CHRISTIAN
The challange of Christology today - theoretically and pastorally. (sometimes combined with topic 5 or 6 above).
1. Boulton, David (2008), WHO ON EARTH WAS JESUS?: The Modern Quest for the Jesus of History.
2. Bourgeault, Cynthia (2008), THE WISDOM JESUS
3. Jose A. Pagola, (2009), JESUS: An HISTORICAL APPROXIMATION.
4. F. Segovia & R. Sugirtharajah (2009), A POSTCOLONIAL COMMENTARY ON N.T. WRITING.
5. Wink, Walter (2002), THE HUMAN BEING: JESUS AND THE ENIGMA OF THE SON OF MAN.
6. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2012), CHRISTIANITY'S DANGEROUS MEMORY
An experiential workshop, exploring how poetry and other arts can illuminate Gospel wisdom. Some advanced reading is advised.
1. Borg, Marcus (2008), JESUS.
TOPIC 9: JUSTICE-MAKING:
Including an overview of globalisation: an exploration of the challenge to work for justice today, the spirituality underpinning it, and a review of practical strategies.
1. Walter T. Anderson, (2004), ALL CONNECTED NOW: LIFE IN THE FIRST GLOBAL CIVILISATION
2. Rosemary Radford Ruether (2005), INTEGRATING ECOFEMINISM, GLOBALIZATION AND WORLD RELIGIONS.
3. John Cavanagh (Ed.)(2002), ALTERNATIVES TO ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION.
4. Margaret Swedish (2008), LIVING BEYOND THE "END OF THE WORLD".
Web Pages:5. International Forum on Globalization: http://www.ifg.org
6. Excellent Resource on Ethical Investment: http://www.eiris.org
"The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" is a central principle of Quantum Physics with major implications for every field of learning including theology.
Key Texts: 1. Adrian Smith (2008), GOD, ENERGY, AND THE FIELD
2. Miriam Therese Winter (2009), PARADOXOLOGY: SPIRITUALITY IN A QUANTUM UNIVERSE.
3. Lothar Schafer (2013), INFINITE POTENTIAL: WHAT QUANTUM PHYSICS REVEALS.
4. Jude Currivan (2017), THE COSMIC HOLOGRAM.
5. Paul Levy (2018), THE QUANTUM REVELATION.
A fiction of our ancient past, or an enduring archetype haunting the contemporary spiritual imagination? I opt for the latter interpretation and explore its context and meaning for our time.
1. Carol Christ (1997), THE REBIRTH OF THE GODDESS.
2. Rosemary Radford Ruether (2005), GODDESSES AND THE DIVINE FEMININE.
3. Paul Reid-Bowen (2007), GODDESS AS NATURE
4. Tim Ward (2006), SAVAGE BREAST: One Man's Search for the Goddess (www.savagebreastbook.com)
5. FEMINIST THEOLOGY, (Journal) Entire Volume (Vol 13.2, Jan.,2005)
1. Mark Wallace (2005), FINDING FOD IN THE SINGING RIVER
2. Kirsteen Kim (2007), THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WORLD
3. Denis Edwards (2004), BREATH OF LIFE
4. Wolfgang Vondey (2010), CELEBRATING THEOLOGY: Christian Doctrine from a Spirit-driven Perspective.
5. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2011), IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE SPIRIT.
6. Leonardo Boff (2015), COME HOLY SPIRIT.
7. John C. Haughey (2015) A BIOGRAPHY OF THE SPIRIT
1. Margaret J. Wheatley (1994), LEADERSHIP AND THE NEW SCIENCE.
2. Walter T. Anderson (2004), ALL CONNECTED NOW: LIFE IN THE FIRST GLOBAL CIVILISATION
3. Margaret Swedish (2008), LIVING BEYOND THE "END OF THE WORLD"
4. Gerard Loughlin (2007), QUEER THEOLOGY: RETHINKING THE WESTERN BODY
5. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2013), GOD IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE.
6. Web-page: http://www.paradigmshifts.iwarp.com
The psychic energy that underpins everything in creation. As conscious beings, humans appropriate consciousness from the conscious universe
1. Wayne W. Dyer (2004), THE POWER OF INTENTION
2. Jan Phillips (2006), THE ART OF ORIGINAL THINKING
3. Mark Epstein (2005) OPEN TO DESIRE.
4. Pim van Lommel (2010), CONSCIOUSNESS BEYOND LIFE.
Passing on the faith is widely seen as a pedagogy with the focus on children and youth, but one of the most urgent needs of the present time is a faith pedagogy for Adults honouring the principles of Adult Education.
1. James Fowler (1982), STAGES OF FAITH
2. Nicola Slee (2004), WOMEN'S FAITH DEVELOPMENT
3. F. Segovia & R. Sugirtharajah (2009), A POSTCOLONIAL COMMENTARY on the NEW TESTAMENT WRITINGS.
4. John Shelby Spong (2016), BIBLICAL CRITICISN: A Gentile Heresy.
5. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2014) ON BEING A POSTCOLONIAL CHRISTIAN
(2015), INCLUSIVITY: A Gospel Mandate
TOPIC 16: THE TRANSFORMATION OF DESIRE:
Desire is a word with several ambiguous meanings, an aspect of human existence which we need to reclaim and rehabilitate as we grow more deeply into a fresh sense of our planetary and cosmic identity.
1. Wayne Dyer (2004), THE POWER OF INTENTION.
2. Mark Epstein (2005), OPEN TO DESIRE
3. Wendy Farley (2005), THE WOUNDING AND HEALING OF DESIRE.
4. Veronica Goodchild (2001), EROS AND CHAOS.
MODULE 1: Historical Insights to the Current crisis in Religious Life.
MODULE 2: Major Issues Facing Apostolic Religious Today
MODULE 3: Liminality and the Prophetic Horizons of the Vowed Life.
MODULE 4: Understanding the Vows in the contemporary World.
MODULE 5: Coping With decline and the death of an old model.
1. Sandra Schneiders, FINDING THE TREASURE (2000); SELLING ALL (2001); BUYING THE FIELD (2013).
2. Fiand, Barbara (2001), REFOCUSING THE VISION.
3. Joan Chittister (2005), THE WAY WE WERE.
4. Michael H. Crosby (2005), CAN RELIGIOUS LIFE BE PROPHETIC?.
5. Sarah McFarland Taylor (2007), GREEN SISTERS: A SPIRITUAL ECOLOGY
6. Brenda Peddigrew (2008), ORIGINAL FIRE:The Hidden Heart of Religious Women (order via www. amazon.com; www.amazon.ca)
7. Elizabeth Rapley (2011), THE LORD IS THEIR PORTION: The Story of Religious Orders and how They Shaped our World.
8. Diarmuid O'Murchu MSC - see the section: My Books.
What is Adult Faith Development ?
(This is a brief overview of the wisdom for empowerment that I seek to communicate in all my work and writings. Like all adult learning this is an interactive process on which I always welcome feedback).
“No anthropology can yet be written because humanity is not yet human.” Walter Wink.
All religions and churches emphasise that humans are:
-weak and sinful while God is strong and holy
-totally dependent on the all-providing God,
-servants of God to whom we owe absolute allegiance,
-children of a Father God and a Mother Church
-called to be humble and obedient to the parent-like divine power.
The metaphor of the child is extensively used in conventional spirituality. Phrases like “childlike trust,” “loyalty,” “obedience,” “under authority” all denote a sense of dependency that is not congruent with adult maturity. The tendency to structure religion in patriarchal-type institutions, with a strong focus on those who govern from on high, breeds co-dependency rather than mutual interdependence. Such metaphors and systems militate against the emergence of wholesome, adult people.
Much more serious and less obvious to the naïve observer, is the tendency of religions to alienate people from the planetary and cosmic web of life. The dualism of the sacred v. the secular truncates nature’s invitation to live in a convivial, cooperative relationship with the earth and its living systems. Properly understood, earth-life systems function best when humans treat other life-forms with a sense of adult care and responsibility. But this experience of being human, in an integrated planetary and cosmic way, is largely unknown to people of our time
Adult Faith Development wishes to reclaim our integral place in creation:
- There is a cosmic dimension to our lives, elegantly illustrated in the fact that
stardust is essential to our existence and all sources of nourishment ultimately belong to sunlight.
- There is a planetary/earthly dimension: our very existence is dependent on the
healthy functioning of the earth’s bio-systems.
- There is an organic dimension, highlighted in the bacterial foundations of all life, thriving primarily on cooperation, not via competition.
- Our own human existence belongs to an amazing creative story of some 7,000,000 years, often dismissed by academics as primitive and barbaric.
- Contextually, we are an integral part of a greater whole that confers on us our integrity and dignity, forever calling us to mutual engagement with the evolving life-forces of cosmic and planetary life. Because of our disconnection from the larger context, we end up condemning ourselves to a contrived, minimalistic, childish participation in the great enterprise of universal life.
AT HOME IN CREATION
Creation is our true, authentic home, the houshold of all life, including those who have gone before us. The afterlife does not exist outside creation, but within it, a realm in which our departed loved ones inhabit a different level of being - within the one cosmos.
Religion’s negative regard for the created order is responsible for much of the meaningless suffering in the contemporary world. Because this suffering is often so overwhelming, many people throw themselves at the mercy of God. Although an understandable response, and often the basis of survival against heavy odds, this is an abdication of our call to be co-creators with God in enhancing the growth and development of God’s creation.
RECLAIMING ADULT FAITH
Faith in our time requires us to grow up and learn to relate with God in a new way. As co-creators with our creative God, we are invited and challenged to relate as adults to an adult God, modelled for Christians in the adult life-example of Jesus. This requires that we replace:
-The patriarchal sky-God with the divine life-force we encounter in the miracle of God’s creation.
- Hierarchical top-down dependency with a sense of mjutual eqaulity and interdependence.
- Power-over with power-with (empowerment).
-Parental-type, controlling relationships with those based on mutuality (as modelled in the Trinity).
-A product mentality in which everything is essentially predetermined with a process outlook that respects the divinely inspired evolutionary nature of life.
- Faith communities where the focus tends to be on control and top-down governance (priest, imam, rabbi), to one centred on people and programmed for mutual empowerment.
PRINCIPLES OF ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT:
In contemporary cultures – secular and religious – calling forth the adult is either construed as a non-issue because, allegedly, adulthood is already fostered and protected, or it is subverted as dangerous propaganda. For the religions, in particular, it is quite a new concept with consequences that are likely to be perceived as threatening and dangerous for the status quo. In promoting a culture of adult faith the following principles are crucial:
1.Faith is a process of life-long learning, not some magical, divine product bestowed by church or religion.
2.Grace builds on nature (St. Anslem; St. Thomas Aquinas); consequently, appropriation of faith at different life-stages needs informed attention (see the pioneering work of James Fowler).
3.Adults learn by doing in a dynamic, interactive and co-operative endeavour in which educator and learner are equal partners.
4.In adult learning, everybody is endowed with wisdom and all are beneficiaries of divine revelation. Both educator and learner have joint responsibility for the awakening and appropriation of faith.
5.Story-telling is a central strategy in articulating a meaningful faith. Discernment skills arise from this context.
6.Adult faith matures when life experience is honoured, and the ensuing challenges are explored through mature adult conversations (stories).
7.Adult faith tends not to be incapacitated by perfectionism. It is much more at home in soulful realism in which paradox is honoured , vulnerability is protected, questions are respected and dogmatism gives way to trust and dialogue.
8.Adults commit to faith-based structures in which power is shared equally and justly at the service of empowerment.
9.Adults desire transparency through open dialogue, pursuing truth that is always in the process of being realised.
10. Adults seek to change co-dependent metaphors, images and language into more imaginative and intuitive constructs that challenge people to act as adults, faithful to an adult God, modelled on the adult life-example of Jesus.
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