You are on page 1of 31

All of the

Non-Traditional Faith
Approaches & Deepening
the Life of Faith
m Ohat is inclusive spirituality?
m God-in-everything
m Deep respect for all beings
m Care for people and planet
m Ohat inclusive spirituality is 
m Giving up your own voice
m Losing your tradition
m Comparing practices
iart I: Ohere Does Our
Faith Begin?
As human beings, we come hard-wired to do
certain things. Oe live, we love, we grow. Oe begin
to make sense of our surroundings. Establishing a
sense of relationship with something greater than
ourselves is a natural part of healthy development.
Ohat Oe Share
m Life
m ilace
m Love
m Meaning-making
mA sense of something bigger
Making Meaning
m Earlyon, we learn naturally and by
m As we mature, we learn new things by
taking in information and direction from
our environment
m Our social culture helps us make meaning
and belong to the group
m Shared meanings create community and
give us a sense of support and identity
Seeking Understanding
m The challenge of learning something new
is that in order to understand and
integrate what you·re learning, you need
to experience it
m Take a class about French; read a French
primer; until you speak it³perhaps with a
native speaker³you don·t really
understand. Your learning is limited.
Finding Our Oay
m Learning about the bigger something³
developing faith³is partly acculturated,
partly discovered within.
m Oe can learn the steps, memorize the
prayers, go through the motions.
m But it·s at the point of understanding that
our relationship with God takes root.
Ohy Does Faith Matter?
m It·sa part of our identity
m It gives us hope«
m Strength
m Comfort
m Support
m Values
m Connection
m Helps us to create a good life
uestions for Reflection
m In what way does my faith practice feel
m Have I had questions about my tradition?
m Did I have support for those questions? Ohat
did I do about them?
m How do I feel when others question their
faith or their tradition?
m How do I feel when others question {
iart II: Following a iath
Finding your own way can feel risky when you are
going it alone. If your growth is drawing you to a
sense of deeper spirituality³or to better understand
others who are seeking³you can turn to your own
source of inner wisdom and find outward support.
m Five key practices can help develop our
spiritual relationship with our God:
m irayer and meditation
m Listening within
m Reflecting (alone or in community) on our
emotions and experiences
m Expressing gratitude in words, song, prayer,
artistic works, exercise, or dance
m On-going learning
Seeking a Unique iath
m Listening deeply enables you to hear
what draws you³your intuition
m You may be led to music, color, prayer,
other traditions, books, movies, something
that resonates with your spirit
m You·ll feel love, quiet, okayness, a sense of
m This doesn·t mean you·re leaving your
tradition³your roots are getting deeper
Others May Misunderstand
m The hardest thing about participating in a
nontraditional approach is that others
may worry
m Remember what you share.
m Speak to what you hope to find.
m Chances are they will be able to grasp
the sense of spirit·s leading³and if not,
know that your first task is to listen.
If Your Tradition Has
Oounded You
m Sometimes we are hurt by people in traditions
we used to be a part of
m Or we feel judged or rejected by those in a
particular tradition
m Know you·re not alone
m Know that your spiritual path is your own
m Turn to God in prayer for comfort and healing
m Let God show you how to forgive and find your
m Be gentle with yourself
m Find someone who supports your spiritual growth
Discerning New Leadings
m You may feel drawn to something new. How can
you tell whether it·s a prompting from God?
m iray about it.
m Is it consistent with what is found in your sacred
m Ohat do your community members³the ones who
understand your heart³think about what you feel
led to do?
m Give yourself time and space to listen deeply and
well. If the answer isn·t coming into focus and you
feel unsettled, talk about it with your pastor or
spiritual director.
Spiritual iractices To Try
m Contemplation
m Centering irayer
m Tonglen (breath meditation)
m Daily Examination of Consciousness
m Zazen (sitting meditation)
uestions for Reflection
m How do I feel about my relationship with God
right now?
m Have I added at least one new spiritual
practice to my life in the last year?
m Do I have a fresh sense of God·s leading in
my life?
m Ohat can I do to deepen my relationship
with God?
m Do I have wounds that need to heal so I can
forgive and move forward?
iart III: Traditions and
Ohen we meet others from different faith traditions, we
may experience a rainbow of emotions. ierhaps we·re
curious; maybe suspicious. Oe could be completely
comfortable or very uncomfortable. Learning the
basics of different traditions can help us reach out with
some understanding.
m Monotheistic tradition
m „ : Jesus of Nazareth, considered by
followers to be the son of God
m J 
Although this varies
widely among denominations, traditions
include the Eucharist, baptism, and
anointing as part of the Sacrament of the
m J

The × 
m Monotheistic tradition
m „  G_d, through Abraham
m J 
Sabbath is from
sundown Friday night to sunset on
Saturday; lighting of J  candles,
attending synagogue, study of Torah,
prayers, dietary laws
m J

The Y 
m Non-theistic tradition
m „  Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama, ~ 563
m J 
Detailed study of existence,
related to cause and effect (karma). All
suffering caused by unvirtuous actions of body,
speech, and mind; happiness caused by
virtuous action. Meditation, presence, ethical
treatment of all beings.
m J

Four Noble Truths, the Eight-Fold
Noble iath
Native Spirituality
m Nature traditions, varied
m „ 
Mother Earth/Creator/ Life Force
m J 
A belief in the
interconnectedness of all natural things, all
life forms. Ceremony and ritual involve elders
or shamans who have wisdom and gifts.
Community is important for spiritual and
cultural life.
m J

Stories, ceremony, oral traditions
m Monotheistic tradition
m „ 
God through Muhammed
(peace be upon him)
m J 
Basic creed: ´There is
no God but Allah and Muhammed is His
messenger.µ irayers five times a day,
pilgrimage to the holy land, fasting for
m J

The   ( )
m Monotheistic tradition
m „ 
God, or Brahman
m J 
From iersia beginning in
1700 BCE; Brahman is a personal, loving God
who manifests in different ways³there are
many faces of God. Meditation and personal
practice are valued more than community.
Believe all religion is one: ´Truth is one; paths
are many.µ Acceptance and harmony are
m J

The 0,   ,  
m Monotheistic tradition
Baha·u·llah, 1844
m J 
Unity and harmony with
God is a core philosophy; belief in the value of
life and equality leads to goodness for all.
Religion and science are inseparable. Belief that
each person finds the truth him- or herself. No
priesthood or sacraments; fasting the first three
weeks of March from sunrise to sunset.
m J

m Monotheistic tradition
m „  Guru Nanak, 14th century
m J 
God·s name is ´Truth
Eternal.µ Humanity through the cycle of rebirth
becomes an ever-improving vehicle for God·s
grace. Salvation is liberation from rebirth; values
include truth, contentment, compassion,
patience, and humble service. Rituals for prayer,
meditation, bathing.
m J

m iolytheistictradition
m „ 
Lao-Tzu, around 570 BCE
m J 
The Tao is the eternal
´way,µ honoring nature, allowing the
universe to unfold, humans are good by
blinded by their need to ´do.µ Hold in
heart the three treasures: Love, frugality,
and non-ambition.
m J

Y Y  
m iolytheistic or neo-pagan tradition
m Founder: May have European Celtic
influences; no clear founder
m Special traditions: Earth-honoring tradition
that is very diverse in practice; use of
magic; emphasis on the divine feminine
m Sacred texts: Oral traditions, stories, songs,
uestions for Reflection
m Have I met others who participate in any
of these traditions?
m Ohich traditions am I most drawn to?
m Ohich traditions seem far from what I
m Ohat question would I like to explore with
a person who practices a tradition
different from my own?
m Joseph, Judith C.    { .
m Sacred Texts: http://www.sacred-
m Daily Examination of Consciousness (St. Ignatius of
m Centering irayer and other contemplative
About the author
Katherine Murray is a writer and spiritual
director, with a degree in pastoral care
and counseling from Earlham School of
Religion. A life-long student of western
and eastern spiritual traditions,
Katherine is a contemplative person
Katherine Murray, M.Div who knows first-hand how helpful loving
  conversation can be as we seek a
317-985-5070 deeper spiritual understanding of our
experiences. Katherine has served as a
chaplain with St. Vincent·s Hospitals in
Indianapolis and currently offers spiritual
direction to individuals and families.

Thank you! And peace ù