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How is Formative Spirituality Related to Paradigms of Human Growth?

How is Formative Spirituality Related to Paradigms of Human Growth?

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Published by John Sobert Sylvest
integral, transformation, ken wilber, béatitude, theosis, lonergan's conversions, intrasubjective integrity, integral buddhism, jung, maslow, lonergan, erikson, piaget, kohlberg, self actualization, individuation, human development, john of the cross, keating, teresa of avila, way of perfection, ad majorem dei gloriam, amdg, magnificat, fowler, integral way,
sartre, addiction, suffering, nietzsche, camus, codependence, theodicy, richard rohr, julian of norwich, brian mclaren, corrie ten boom, abandonment to divine providence, theosis, divinization, viktor frankl, nihilistic, immaculee ilibagiza, existential nihilism, trustful surrender, disordered appetites, philip st romain, shalomplace, john sobert sylvest
integral, transformation, ken wilber, béatitude, theosis, lonergan's conversions, intrasubjective integrity, integral buddhism, jung, maslow, lonergan, erikson, piaget, kohlberg, self actualization, individuation, human development, john of the cross, keating, teresa of avila, way of perfection, ad majorem dei gloriam, amdg, magnificat, fowler, integral way,
sartre, addiction, suffering, nietzsche, camus, codependence, theodicy, richard rohr, julian of norwich, brian mclaren, corrie ten boom, abandonment to divine providence, theosis, divinization, viktor frankl, nihilistic, immaculee ilibagiza, existential nihilism, trustful surrender, disordered appetites, philip st romain, shalomplace, john sobert sylvest

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Published by: John Sobert Sylvest on May 05, 2013
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How is Formative Spirituality Related to Paradigms of Human Growth?
Formative spirituality has too often become over-identified with human growth, development andpotential paradigms. They are clearly related but must be distinguished.Spirituality has much to do with flow dynamics, our letting the Spirit flow through us. So, perhaps a greatmetaphor to complement that of the body, as used by Paul in I Corinthians 12, might be a system of conduit, which is more closely analogous to that of the vine and branches, as employed by Jesus.Conduit, nowadays, comes in an endless variety of types (more or less flexible or pliable), materials(galvanized steel, nickel-plated, plastic) and fittings (Y-connectors, T-connectors, elbows). Throughouthuman development, each human person is being variously fashioned, shaped and fitted for a particularrole as a bit of conduit. Each human conduit is fitted with a valve, the human will, which opens andcloses, alternately facilitating or cutting off the flow of the Spirit.Human growth and development, then, refashion, reshape and refit each person into a particularconfiguration of conduit. Formative spirituality helps us keep our valves clean and open and makes ourbit of conduit ever more flexible and pliable, whether we
re short or long, straight or elbowed, evenyoung or old.I considered using an Internet bandwidth metaphor, which would distinguish persons as variouselectronic devices (phones, tablets, computers, media servers and such) but that analogy was reallymuch too robust, offering much too fine a distinction between one person and the next vis a vis ourrelationships to the Source. It
s far more accurate to conceive the magnitude of our differences in valueto the Kingdom in terms of differently shaped pipes than in terms of differently designed electronics.This is to suggest, for example, that there simply is no really big difference in Kingdom value to berealized by one who has attained manifold quadrants, levels, lines, functions, dimensions, hierarchies,stages and so on and a child just beginning life
s journey. The former has a different set of valvecleaning and opening challenges, to be sure, which have emerged along with increasing complexity andwhich formative spirituality must treat. Both otherwise continue to grow in holiness, receiving beatitudeand giving greater glory to God, much more so through the cleaning and opening of the valves of theirhuman will and much less so because their respective bits of conduit have otherwise been refashioned,reshaped and refitted, although that certainly results in
ad majorem Dei gloriam
in its own way (inpolydoxic. polypathic and polypraxic terms, contributing to reality
s beautiful diversity).This is all to observe that too many recent religious humanisms have wrongly overemphasized or, again,even over-identified, human growth paradigms with theosis or divinization. All cooperation with graceand docility in response to the Spirit
s gentle coaxings and polite promptings does bring us along variousgrowth trajectories. It is all supernatural and all graced. But, in discerning holiness and fruits of theSpirit, what will be tell-tale is much more the love revealed in each surrender, each yes, each fiat, andeach magnificat, as the valves of our will open, and much less what constellation of quadrants, levels,functions we
re employing as we enjoy enneagram redemption, Jungian individuation, Maslovian self-actualization, Keating
s levels of consciousness, Wilber
s integrality, Lonergan
s conversions and such, as
 
the pipes of our conduit get refashioned. The refashioning of the conduit is a by-product and indirectlyindicative of all manner of cooperation with grace. The valve opening is, in and of itself, the end-product, as the goal of the Spiritual life is directly revealed in the love of Mary
s
be it done to meaccording to Thy word,
in the poverty of spirit of St Francis, in the
Little Way 
of the Little Flower, in thepractice of God
s presence by Brother Lawrence.Love, alone, is the answer. Each level of consciousness has its own distinct love encounter of reality.Each moment of love, at any stage of human growth and development, at any level of consciousnessand in any dimension of reality, is supremely and absolutely valued as it issues forth from an absolutelyvalued child of God. Should one
s conduit get refashioned through various growth forms, each such loveencounter will get assimilated without subjugation by each successive level, which is to say that everyvalve opening is supremely valued and does not get disvalued or devalued just because a piece of conduit gets redeployed for now this purpose, now that.Finally, each bit of conduit plays its own indispensable role
like a branch on a vine, like a member of the body
We already know this but, sometime, we seem to forget. Those who understand how, inSpiral Dynamics, each value system is not better or more correct, only different, will more easily graspwhat I am suggesting herein. Those who understand the participatory dynamics of reality, how eachplays a distinct part with none pretending to emulate the whole, will better grasp this approach, too.There will always be those who aspire to and pretend to enjoyment of various stages and level s anddimensions of reality and who
ll defend their attainments with rather arational, gnostic appeals andsubtle tautological reasonings, who lose sight of the exquisite simplicity of love as revealed to reality
s
little ones,
perhaps because an all too human pride and prestige covers some nakedness, which theyfear, or even out of simple flawed thinking. For example, there is a creative tension that presents in allof our great traditions between a profound intuition of our intraobjective identity with God, which cangift us with a phenomenal experience of 
unitary being
, and a profound intuition of our intrasubjectiveintimacy with God, which can gift us with a phenomenal experience of 
unitive striving
. Both intuitionsand experiences are relational but the former recognizes no barriers while the latter encountersboundaries. Some overemphasize their experience of unitary being and construct a reality that sees- notonly no barriers between us and God, objectively, but, also - no boundaries between us and God,subjectively. Others overemphasize their experience of unitive striving and construct a reality that sees-not only boundaries between us and God, subjectively, but, also - barriers between us and God,objectively. It is beyond the scope of this present consideration to explore the full implications of theseerrors, but there can be profound practical consequences for the life of prayer and relationships withself, others, world and God for any who
d imagine they completely share God
s subjective experience of reality. So, too, those who conceive barriers between us and God where there are none vis a vis thedivine indwelling will experience self, others, world and God in a radically impoverished way. This, then,is a creative tension best held gently and not otherwise to be facilely resolved?

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