BOOKS I found Inspiring

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.
b)Specific Energy-patterns that give shape and form to the unfolding story. I align these energy-patterns with the seven charkas, enduring features of all forms of embodied existence from the cosmos to organic creatures. In this version of the Cosmic Story, I link the energy patterns with specific dates simply as a way of naming and celebrating their existence.

 In most versions of the Cosmic Story, only historically verified facts are cited. In this version I take the liberty of combining “logos” and “mythos” scientific fact and imaginative myth. I attribute equal importance to what I call the “stages” and the “energy patterns.” Evolution and Creation require both. Omit one, and the liberating power of the story is seriously undermined.

In narrating the story, it is important that participants have some experience of “walking the talk.” This can be done more easily outdoor. For indoor versions, one can trace the story with footsteps, or a long chord/string, or with a series of pictures along corridor walls.

 Some further ideas can be gleaned from these link pages:

 http://www.threeeyesofuniverse.org  

http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/cosmic.htm;

http://www.thegreatstory.org/timeline.html.



Welcome to Creation’s Story

1.    15 Billion Years Ago: From the restless emptiness of quantum space, creative energy exploded, bearing all matter, all dimension, all energy, and all time. The temperature exceeded one trillion degrees centigrade, cooling sufficiently within one-thousandth of a second to produce the first elementary particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. The earth is still so radioactive from this initial explosion that its core is kept hot by continuing nuclear reactions, and all over its surface, many atoms are still exploding – in rocks and trees, and even in our own bodies!

2.    14 Billion Years Ago:  Cosmic dust filled the creative vacuum, and still does to this day. Although largely invisible to the human eye, the dust channels waves and particles in the elegant dance of the sub-atomic world. The dust helps to weave the intricate patterns without which the story would have ceased billions of years ago.

3.    13 Billion Years Ago: The paradox of creation and destruction shapes the evolving rhythms and patterns of the young universe. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth became the inspiring process that would endow creation for time immemorial. Chaotic and destructive at times, and often baffling to the human mind, creation’s paradoxical wisdom continues to beget the wonderful world we all inhabit.

4.    12 Billion Years Ago: The first stars illuminate the enveloping horizon. Many of the early stars were intensely hot. They flared up and exploded in brilliant supernovas, each as bright as an entire galaxy. The force of those explosions sent heavier elements hurtling through space, condensing over millions of new stars, begetting in time the sun and planet earth. And to the stars we owe the ingredients of carbon-based life, without which none of us could savour the wonders of the night sky.

5.    11 Billion Years Ago:  The seventh chakra, marking the gift of LIGHT! We celebrate the resilience of the creative Spirit weaving creation through the paradox of light and darkness, illuminating the mystery through which all creation thrives, enlightening our understanding of how creation works, and brightening our future with hope and purpose.

6.    10 Billion Years Ago:  The sixth chakra, marking the gift of WISDOM! We celebrate the wisdom and intelligence which is innate to creation at every level of its unfolding story, the well-spring which endows everything in creation to act wisely for the good of the whole, and the source from which human intelligence also emanates.

7.    9 Billion Years Ago:  The fifth chakra, marking the gift of COMMUNICATION. We celebrate creation’s potential to relate and communicate, to articulate the richness of its life and meaning – in a narrative imbued with complexity and wonder. Our human capacity for speech and word belong to creation’s innate potential to communicate and articulate meaning.

8.    8 Billion Years Ago:  The fourth chakra, celebrating IMMUNITY and the capacity for right relating. We celebrate creation’s capacity for healthy and wholesome living, facilitated through mutually enriching relationships with the diverse creatures that constitute the canopy of universal life.

9.    7. Billion Years Ago:  The third chakra, marking the invitation to mutual EMPOWERMENT. We celebrate the mutuality through which interdependence thrives, empowering every aspect of creation towards the realisation of its true potential, liberating freedom and hope for future possibility.

10.  6. Billion Years Ago:  The second chakra, marking GENERATIVITY and erotic birthing. In a creation of prodigious fertility we celebrate the fruitfulness and creative abundance we see around us, and we give thanks for the pleasures and joys of sexual intimacy.

11.  5. Billion Years Ago:  The base chakra, GROUNDING our presence in the earth and in the body. At every level of creation energy begets form, and all form assumes embodied presence. The cosmos, the galaxies, the earth, landscapes, persons, and bacteria are all embodied expressions through which the presence of living Spirit becomes grounded in creation.

12.  4.5 Billion Years Ago:  Cosmogenesis irrupted  in a new range of supernova explosions releasing a spiralling cloud of gas , which we now call the Solar System. One spiral in this new irruption, namely the Milky Way, was to become home to the planets and to the many stars that illuminate our night skies.

13.  4 Billion Years Ago:  The Sun ingratiates creation. Born out of an explosion of 10,000 stars all at once, with a volume one million times that of our earth, the sun is earth’s primary source of heat and energy, of nourishment and vitality, for all earth’s creatures. Through the process of photosynthesis, the sun’s energy enters the food-chain, gracing every organism with nurturing abundance.

14.  3.8 Billion Years Ago:  Our home planet, the Earth, is born. Uniquely poised relative to the sun’s influence on complex molecules, and endowed with a creative balance of gravitational and electromagnetic forces, Earth brings forth cosmo-genetic powers unknown in any other region of creation. Home today to millions of species, the Earth seems to be endowed with an infinite capacity for innovation and creativity.

15.  3.5 Billion Years Ago:  The rich array of cosmic liquids and chemicals formed a new alliance, birthing forth the earliest life-forms: tiny bacteria that thrive even to our time. And from these simple organisms emerges the canopy of life-forms that adorns creation today.

16.  350 Million Years Ago:  With flowers adorning the landscape, and trees towering above the earth itself, plants on earth and fishes abounding in the waters, the sea mammals move on to land, and the complexity of embodied life reaches a new apex of elegance and beauty.

17.  7 Million Years Ago:  Africa gives birth to the Human Species. Evolving out of Africa humans inhabit the entire planet, bringing forth new mental and spiritual powers through which matter becomes conscious of itself. Evolution moves to a new spiritual threshold with humans, as a young species, still struggling to make sense of their awesome existence.

18.  39 Years Ago (1969):  Humans visit another planet for the first time. Glancing back from their base on the moon, humans see the Earth as a blue-white pearl, illuminated by the Sun. This iconic image has changed our perceptions forever, inviting us to forego our addiction to power and reclaim our place as cosmic-planetary creatures whose essential vocation is to treat creation with the reverence and care it deserves.

Concluding Reflection:

"What is particularly striking is the lack of repetition in the developing universe. The fireball that begins the universe gives way to the galactic emergence and the first generation of stars. The later generations of stars bring into being the living planets with their own sequence of epochs, each differentiating itself from the rest. Biological and human history, with the ever fresh expressions of creativity, continue the differentiation of time from its beginning.
Indeed all 15 billion years form an epic that must be viewed as a whole to understand its full meaning. This meaning is the extravagance of the creative outpouring, where each being is given its unique existence. At the heart of the universe is an outrageous bias for the novel, for the unfurling of surprise in prodigious dimensions throughout the vast range of existence."

(Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, The Universe Storyp.74)
 

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.


The following topics can be explored via:

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.

 

TOPIC 1: THE NEW COSMOLOGY:

Its scientific, cultural and spiritual significance today.

Key Texts:

1. Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry (1992), THE UNIVERSE STORY.

2. Judy Cannato (2006), RADICAL AMAZEMENT.

3. Richard Scaine (2013), DISCUSSIONS IN THE NEW COSMOLOGY

4. Brain Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker (2011), JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE.

5. Excellent web page: http://www.evolutionarychristianity.org

 

  

TOPIC 2: EVOLUTIONARY FAITH: 

How the story of evolution, - in terms of cosmos, earth, and humanity - unravels the benign mystery within which everything is held in being.

Key Texts:
1. Ilia Delio (2013), THE UNBEARABLE WHOLENESS OF BEING.
2. John F. Haught (2010), MAKING SENSE OF EVOLUTION.
3. Diarmuid O'M
urchu (2008), ANCESTRAL GRACE. 
4. Phipps, Carter (2012), EVOLUTIONARIES.

5. WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT? (Journal) (Jan-Mar, 2007).
Web page:www.evolutionarychristianity.org

 

TOPIC 3: ENCOUNTERING GOD IN OUR HUMAN STORY:

The sacred at work through our 7,000,000 year evolution, and its significant implications for spirituality and theology.

Key Texts:

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

 

 

TOPIC 4: MYSTICISM FROM A COSMIC PERSPECTIVE:

Exploring the awakening sense of mystery in the contemporary world.

Key texts:
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

 

 

TOPIC 5: THE CHANGING NATURE OF CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY:

And the implications for how we understand religion today.

Key Texts:

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

TOPIC 6: The KINGDOM OF GOD:

The heart and soul of our Christian Faith

Key Texts:

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

 

 TOPIC 7UNDERSTANDING JESUS IN THE LIGHT OF MODERN CHRISTIAN SCHOLARSHIP

The challange of Christology today - theoretically and pastorally. (sometimes combined with topic 5 or 6 above).

Key Texts:

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

 

 TOPIC 8: JESUS IN THE POWER OF POETRY

An experiential workshop, exploring how poetry and other arts can illuminate Gospel wisdom. Some advanced reading is advised.


Key Texts:
1. Borg, Marcus (2008), JESUS.

2. Boulton, David (2008), WHO ON EARTH WAS JESUS?

3.  Bourgeault, Cynthia (2008), THE WISDOM JESUS.

4. Diarmuid O'Murchu (2009), JESUS IN THE POWER OF POETRY.

  

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.

Key Texts:

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



TOPIC 10: QUANTUM THEOLOGY:

"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.

 

 
TOPIC 11: The GREAT EARTH MOTHER GODDESS:

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.

Key Texts:

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)

 

 

TOPIC 12: NEW UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

Based on my book, In the Beginning was the Spirit

Key Texts:
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

 

TOPIC 13: PARADIGM SHIFTS / READING THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES:

Exploring the nature and impact of contemporary change in terms of both systems and persons.

Key Texts:

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

 

TOPIC 14: CONSCIOUSNESS & THE POWER intention:

The psychic energy that underpins everything in creation. As conscious beings, humans appropriate consciousness from the conscious universe

Key Texts:

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.
5.
Web-page: http://www.theintentionexperiment.com


 TOPIC 15: BEING ADULT IN OUR FAITH:

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.

Key Texts:

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.

Key Texts:

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.

 

TOPIC 17: THE RELIGIOUS-MONASTIC LIFE (The vowed life) Modules:

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.

MODULE 6: Paradigm Shifts and the Future of Religious LIfe.

Key Texts:

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. 

Diarmuid O'Murchu

 

 

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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.

                                                           Introduction

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

THE CONTEXT

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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