Category Archives: Books – Religious Education

Book | Stages of Faith by James Fowler

Fowler Stages of FaithFowler, James W. Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.

The Author

James Fowler

fowlerCharles Howard Candler Professor of Theology and Human Development at Emory University.

Stages of Faith

Infancy and Undifferentiated Faith

Stage 1: Intuitive-Projective Faith

Stage 2: Mythic-Literal Faith

Stage 3: Synthetic-Conventional Faith

Stage 4: Individuative-Reflective Faith

Stage 5: Conjunctive Faith

Stage 6: Universalizing Faith

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Selected Quotes

“In these pages I am offering a theory of growth in faith. At the heart of the book you will find an account of a theory of seven stagelike, developmentally related styles of faith that we have identified. A theory means an elaborate, dynamic model of very complex pattens in our lives. Theories can be exciting an powerful, giving us names for our experiences and ways to understand and express what we have lived. They can also become blinders, limiting our ability to see to only those features of phenomena that we can name and account for. Erik Erikson, himself a great theory maker, once said, ‘We must take our theories with a serious playfulness and a playful seriousness.’ In that gentle warning there is a kind of double faith—faith that we can in some measure grasp, clarify and work effectively with the most vital processes of our lives, but also faith that the reality of any such complex process will not be exhaustively contained in our theoretical frameworks.”[1]

“Speaking of religions as ‘cumulative traditions,’ [Smith] suggests that we see a cumulative tradition as the various expression of the faith of people in the past…Like a dynamic gallery of art, a living cumulative tradition in its many forms addresses contemporary people and becomes what Smith calls ‘the mundane cause’ that awakens present faith. Faith, at once deeper and more personal than religion, is the person’s r groups’ way of responding to transcendent value and power as perceived and grasped through the forms of the cumulative tradition. Faith and religion, in this view, are reciprocal.”[2]

“At critical junctures in our lives the normal fabric of our everyday patterns can be interrupted…We too wonder vaguely who or what has sent this into our lives. Our images of the character of the power(s) determining the ultimate conditions of our lives arise out of and are tested in these kinds of experiences…In the interplay between such invasions of ‘normality’ and the symbolic representations of the transcendent that have grasped us, we compose images (and perhaps beliefs about and concepts of) the ultimate conditions of our existence. We have varying degrees of consciousness regarding these working images of ultimate reality. But conscious or unconscious, they affect the setting of our goals, the relationships we make and maintain and the ways we respond to emergencies and crises. They have an impact upon the ways we make plans and on our efforts to live our lives with integrity. These are the triadic dynamics of faith.”[3]

 

Contributions from Piaget and Kohlberg:

  1. Epistemological focus. “The broad epistemological emphasis in the structural-developmental theories serves us well as a model for understanding faith as a way of knowing and interpreting.”
  2. Focus on the structuring of knowing as it gives form to the contents of knowledge.
  3. Rigorous concept of structural stages and with the actual descriptions of cognitive and moral reasoning stages. [Faith stages] provide generalizable, formal descriptions of integrated sets of operations of knowing and valuing…each new stage integrates and carries forward the operations of all the previous stages.
  4. Development as an interactional process. The interaction between an active, innovative subject and a dynamic, changing environment. Adaptation is invention.
  5. Normative features of stages. The more advanced stages are able to develop knowing that is ‘more true’ than the lower stages.
  6. Separation of cognition or knowing from emotion or affection. In light of this, Fowler distinguishes two forms of cognition: logic of rational certainty—objective, scientific inquiry—and the logic of conviction—there is a modification of the knower in the observation of the known.
  7. Their very restrictive understanding of the role of imagination in knowing, their neglect of symbolic processes generally and the related lack of attention to unconscious structuring processes other than those constituting reasoning.
  8. Neither has offered a theory of the epistemological or moral self.

Some serious limitations:

“ A structural-developmental theory of faith must be a theory of personal knowing and acting. This means neither an individualistic theory, nor one that gives up the commitment to generalizability. Rather, it means a commitment to take seriously that our previous decisions and actions shape our character, as do the stories and images by which we live. It means a commitment to take seriously the fact that we are formed in social communities and that our ways of seeing the world are profoundly shaped by the share images and constructions of our group or class. It means, further, a commitment to relate structural stages of faith to the predictable crises and challenges of developmental eras and to take life histories seriously in its study.[4]

“If Piaget and Kohlberg have given us impetus to study the structuring activity of faith, Erikson has helped us in many ways to focus on the functional aspect of faith, the expected existential issues with which it must help people cope at whatever structural stage across the life cycle.”[5]

The Contents of Faith

“Our faith orientations and our corresponding characters are shaped by three major elements of what I have been calling the ‘contents’ of our faiths:

  1. Centers of value. What we worship and give worth. We may exhibit polytheistic, henotheistic, or radical monotheistic patterns.
  2. Images of power and the powers with which we align ourselves to sustain us in the midst of life’s contingencies.
  3. Master stories.[6]

Conversion

“A significant recentering of one’s previous conscious or unconscious images of value and power, and the conscious adoption of a new set of master stories in the commitment to reshape one’s life in a new community of interpretation and action.”[7]

A Haunting Paragraph for those of Us Raised in Fundamentalism

The context for this paragraph is Fowler’s list of six types of conversions as they relate to his construction of 6 stages of Faith. Conversion type #6 contains the haunting words:

“6. Conversional change that blocks or helps one avoid the pain of faith stage changes—as when a boy or girl of seven to ten is led, in a fundamentalist Christian environment, to a powerful conversion experience that brings assurance of forgiveness and salvation when the child has been convinced of her or his sinfulness and by images of the destructiveness of hell. Such a childhood conversion can lead to what Philip Helfaer has called ‘precocious identity formation’ in which the child takes on prematurely the patterns of adult faith modeled in that church. In such cases the growing boy or girl goes through no adolescent identity crisis. And short of an extraordinarily disruptive young adult ‘breaking out’ of those cast-iron images of identity and faith formed in childhood, the person remains in that stage for life.”[8]

A faith community that provides for the nurture of ongoing adult development in faith will create a climate of developmental expectation.”[9]

“ I believe that the sequence of stages as now described does reflect a developmental process in human beings that makes both ontological and ontogenetic sense. Here I introduce two terms, both built on the Greek word ontos, meaning ‘being.’ To say that the stage theory makes ontological and ontogenetic sense means that it brings to expression the structural characteristics of a sequence of developmentally related systems of constitutive knowing by which we construct (an therefore ‘know’) self-others-world as related to transcendence. With the phrase constitutive knowing I mean to suggest that being—in others, in self, in world and in God—becomes real to us as we construct it in our knowing in response to the sense data and symbolic representations that impinge upon us. Put more simply, we constitute our own subjective experience of others, self and world as related to transcendence. The stages give us a model by which to represent and examine the evolution of the systems of operations by which we do this constitutive knowing.”[10]

“Perhaps the most important thing that can be said in concluding this book is that our study of faith development, so far, underscores the fact that we human beings seem to have a generic vocation—a universal calling—to be related to the Ground of Being in a relationship of trust and loyalty. That vocation calls us into covenantal relationship with the transcendent and with the neighbor—when the neighbor is understood radically to be all being. Faith development studies confirm the judgment that human beings are genetically potentiated—that is to say, are gifted at birth—with readiness to develop in faith. Perhaps our studies and the account of stages of faith this book has offered will enable us to see something of how we can become co-responsible with God for the quality and extensiveness of faith on earth. It is my hope that this book results, for those who read it, in an enlargement of that awareness and of gratitude for the gifts of God’s grace—both ordinary and extraordinary. I hope that it leads to enlarged commitment to be part of God’s work of righteousness and faithful liberation in our world.”[11]



[1] James W. Fowler, Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), xiii.

[2] Ibid., 9.

[3] Ibid., 96-97.

[4] Ibid., 105.

[5] Ibid., 109.

[6] Ibid., 276-281.

[7] Ibid., 281-282.

[8] Ibid., 286.

[9] Ibid., 296.

[10] Ibid., 297.

[11] Ibid., 303.

Book | Christian Conversion by Walter Conn

71xB+vwspSL._SL1500_Conn, Walter E. Christian Conversion: A Developmental Interpretation of Autonomy and Surrender. New York: Paulist Press, 1986.

 

The Author

Walter E. Conn is Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. He is also the editor of Horizons, journal of the College Theology Society.[1]

My Thoughts

Walter Conn explores the idea Christian conversion through the filter of developmental psychology.

“Because the great advances in psychology of the last half century have added enormously to our knowledge of moral-religious consciousness, demonstrating conclusively that it must be understood developmentally, Chapters 2 and 3 will root this study’s interpretation of conscience and conversion in a psychological context of personal development drawn from the research findings and theories of Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, James Fowler and Robert Kegan. They will show how these psychological theories implicitly use self-transcendence as a criterion of mature personal development. They will also argue that these psychological theories establish the normative meaning of self-transcendence in a concrete and especially illuminating fashion, and thus provide an integrated model of self-transcending subjectivity.”[2]

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He moves beyond the descriptive models of developmental psychology and—through the work of Bernard Lonergan—posits that Christian conversion is the movement toward self-transcendence. This movement stands in contrast to the notion of self-denial on the one hand and self-fulfillment on the other. Lonergan claims that one must come to the realization of the individual self before one can authentically transcend the self and enter into the other-oriented nature of interdependent love. This is the ultimate goal of Christian Conversion.

Conn demonstrates his ideas by connecting them to the specific story of Thomas Merton. Merton’s “conversion” was a long process that went through the cognitive, affective, moral, and religious phases that Conn details. Ultimately Merton experienced a religious conversion that moved him beyond religion and into union with God . Conn summarizes:

“In turning life and love upside down, however, religious conversion does not destroy the authentic moral autonomy of personal responsibility. Indeed, the criterion of both religious conversion and the development of personal autonomy is self-transcendence. Justice, universalizing faith, generativity, and interindividual intimacy all insist on mutuality as the norm of authentic autonomy. Only the inauthentic notions of absolute autonomy and self-fulfillment are contradicted by the self-transcending lvoe and surrender of religious conversion. Christian religious conversion is not the antithesis but the completion of personal development toward self-transcending autonomy.”[3]

Importance for my Study

This book is important for my study for many reasons. First, I am interested in spiritual formation. Conn offers helpful language and cognitive structures within which to discuss spritual formation beyond the parochial boundaries of the faith community. Second, Conn directly engages Robert Kegan’s work, which is an important part of my research. Conn suggests that Kegan’s fifth order of consciousness is akin to the self-transcendence that Lonergan proposes. Third, Conn speaks to the psychosocial dimension of conversion in that the calling of the Gospel is to interdependent, self-transcending love. I believe this is the heart of the social Trinity and perichoretic power.

Selected Quotes

“Properly understood, on surrenders not oneself or one’s personal moral autonomy, but one’s illusion of absolute autonomy. But such total surrender is possible only for the person who has totally fallen-in-love with a mysterious, uncomprehended God, for the person who has been grasped by an other-worldly love and completely transformed into a being-in-love. Such religious conversion is not only rare, it is not even religious in any ordinary sense. One need not be ‘religious’ to experience it; indeed, when it is experienced by an explicitly religious person, such radical transformation might be best understood as a conversion from religion to God.”[4]

“From on important angle, Kohlberg’s interpretation of Stage 6 can be seen as explicating the critically converted conscience’s structure of reasoning. The moral reasoning of the critically converted conscience at Stage 6 is universal, impersonal, consistent; it is rooted in the intrinsic dignity of the person and in fully reversible justice as normative for relationships among persons. The universalizing demand works against both self- and group-serving deceptions. This is particularly important in establishing a critical definition of the authentic or humanly normative conscience, for even the unconverted person—indeed, especially the unconverted—will appeal to his or her conscience as the final word. Still, postconventional reasoning is the structure of committed, loving care of real persons in the complexity of concrete situations. Converted from the illusory pursuit of certainty to the open-ended search for the concrete good, its universalizing intent appreciates the relativity of human reality as well as the limits of its own perspective. Understood in this sense, postconventional reasoning’s middle name is humility—the cognitive dimension of the fully personal humility which presses for continuing conversion.”[5]

“Conversion and development, then, though clearly distinct realities, are intimately connected. The adolescent and adult crises of psychosocial development occasion and provide the necessary existential conditions for conversions as well as for major structural stage transitions. In turn, optimal resolution of psychosocial crises requires conversion, as, for example, the critical moral conversion necessary to fully realize all the possibilities of adult generativity. And key structural shifts occur as the unconscious counterparts to conscious conversions, as, for example, in the correlation of the shift to the Interindividual stage with affective conversion. At key points, then, development requires conversion, and conversion always occurs within a developmental process.”[6]

“From the angle of conversion and content, now, we see again…that at the highest stages structure and content come together. Any adoption of a Christian perspective that is not accompanied by the minimal personal development specified above is a merely verbal or at best conceptual reality supported by emotional enthusiasm, not the integrated cognitive, affective, and moral transformation of one’s personal being that is the authentic Christian conversion demanded by the Gospel. In the terms that we noted in Chapter 4 about cognitive, moral, and affective conversions, in genuine Christian conversion one’s being is transformed so radically that one begins to follow Jesus in a direction diametrically opposed to the spontaneous, instinctive way of narcissistic self-fulfillment. One commits oneself to and seriously engages the personally reflective life of love. In Christian conversion, of course, serious commitment does not mean grim determination. As Häring stresses, the good news is the possibility of returning to God’s unconditional love; this transformation to a life of love is experienced as a joyous homecoming to the integral life our underdevelopment/sin had been frustrating.”[7]

We believe that an authentic Christian interpretation of conversion must be rooted not in self-sacrifice or self-fulfillment but in an understanding of the dynamic reality of self-transcendence as normative for the spiritual life. As an image suggestive of the authentic dynamism of the Christian spiritual life, self-transcendence stands in total opposition to any notion of self-sacrifice as a denial, renunciation, abnegation, or other negation of the self. Without a self, there is no self-transcendence. At the same time, the dynamic image of self-transcendence stands firmly against any idea of self-fulfillment which understands the self as a collection of desires to be fulfilled — essentially a passive receptacle whose happiness lies in being filled. In contrast to both self-sacrifice and self-fulfillment, self-transcendence proposes the paradoxical claim that authentic self-realization consists, not in the self-centered and illusory attempts either to deny the self or to meet its desires, but in a dynamic movement beyond oneself toward the good of others. After a brief further consideration of self-transcendence, we will look to the life of Thérèse of Lisieux to see how a concrete instance of conversion can be interpreted in terms of self-transcendence.[8]

One of the most profound and precise interpretations of self-transcendence has been presented by Bernard Lonergan.(3) According to his analysis, self-transcendence occurs whenever we respond to the radical, questioning drive of the human spirit for meaning, truth, value, and love. As dynamic components in this exigence for reality, questions for understanding seek meaning. But we are not satisfied with just any meaning, for once attained, we critically search for verifying evidence through reflective questioning heading for true judgments. Further, when understanding and judgment are not just speculative but oriented toward action, there follows the moral question of responsibility: Given my best value judgment of what the situation requires, what am I going to do? And last, since actions never occur in isolation but within the total cognitive and affective context of one’s character, there remains the fundamental question of one’s radical personal orientation: To what, finally, am I going to commit myself in love?[9]



[1] https://wipfandstock.com/author/23495 (accessed August 10, 2013)

[2] Walter E. Conn, Christian Conversion: A Developmental Interpretation of Autonomy and Surrender (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), 25.

[3] Ibid.,  268.

[4] Ibid.,  31.

[5] Ibid.,  131.

[6] Ibid.,  157.

[7] Ibid.,  210.

[8] http://www.spiritualitytoday.org/spir2day/823442conn.html (accessed August 10, 2013)

[9] http://www.spiritualitytoday.org/spir2day/823442conn.html (accessed August 10, 2013)

Book | Sharing Faith by Thomas Groome

sharing-faithGroome, Thomas H. Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

The Author

Areas of Interest:

His primary areas of interest and research are the history, theory and practice of religious education, pastoral ministry and practical theology.

About:

Thomas-GroomeDr. Thomas H. Groome was born in County Kildare, Ireland. Professor Groome holds the equivalent of an M.Div. from St. Patrick’s Seminary in Carlow, Ireland, an MA from Fordham University and a doctoral degree in religious education from Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University.[1]

My Thoughts

The term comprehensive in the sub title of this book is an apt description. Sharing Faith is Thomas Groome’s meticulous and comprehensive articulation of the philosophical underpinnings of his pedagogical methodology that he calls Shared Christian Praxis. The book moves in three sections. Part One traces the contours of the history of epistemology in Western culture. Groome draws upon great thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume, but cautions against the reductionism into technical rationality and individualism that so dominated the Enlightenment era. Groome draws heavily from the hermeneutical turn found in Hegel, Marx, Heideggar, and Habermas.

The core concept of Groome’s philosophy is the term conation. His concept of religious education is grounded in “epistemic ontology [which] treats people as ‘agent-subjects-in-relationship.’”[2] Conation is more than the acquisition of cognitive knowledge. It is what happens when “the whole ontic being of ‘agent-subjects-in-relationship’ is actively engaged to consciously know, desire, and do what is most humanizing and life-giving (i.e. ‘True’) for all.”[3] The close synonym for conation is wisdom.

Simply put, Groome is trying to move away from the classic Western pedagogy that viewed the teacher as the primary agent who held the power to create meaning, derived from a received past arsenal of knowledge, and filled the passive minds of the student. Freire called this the banking model of education. Groome’s phrase “epistemic ontology” revisits both what it means to know something (epistemic) and what it means to be in the world (ontology). The answer is shared praxis. We know things by entering into constructive dialogue with each other, the world, our history, our culture, and ourselves. This is what it means to share. That dialogue is an action in itself, and that action leads to acting in time and space in the world. We act, then we reflect on that action to make meaning out of it, and then, in turn act upon this newly refined understanding of meaning. This cycle of action-reflection-action is called praxis. We, as human beings, exist within time. History has shaped our present with Story and Symbols and the future shapes our present with hope and expectation. This is what it means to “be in time.” We are embodied creatures in time who are interconnected with all things and are propelled toward the future. The Christian Vision and Story defines our hope and shapes our being. When all these things come together it forms the basis of what Groome means by ‘agents-subjects-in-relationship’ who are defined by “epistemic ontology.”

Part Two identifies the practical methods of Groome’s Shared Christian Praxis. He proposes that pedagogy for conation in Christian faith does five things:

  1. Engage the “being” of people in their self-identity as “agents-subjects-in-relationship”
  2. Engage the “place” in which people’s “being is realized
  3. Engage people’s “being in time” and the faith tradition of the Christian community over time
  4. Engage people’s dynamic structure for conation
  5. Engage people in decision for their “truth” in Christian faith[4]

Groome provides a concise definition of Shared Christian Praxis:

“[It is] a participative and dialogical pedagogy in which people reflect critically on their own historical agency in time and place and on their sociocultural reality, have access together to Christian Story/Vision, and personally appropriate it in community with the creative intent of renewed praxis in Christian faith toward God’s reign for all creation.”[5]

The process plays out in the following movements:

  • Focusing Activity
  • Movement 1: Naming/Expressing “Present Praxis”
  • Movement 2: Critical Reflection on Present Action
  • Movement 3: Making Accessible Christian Story and Vision
  • Movement 4: Dialectical Hermeneutic to Appropriate Christian Story/Vision to Participant’s Stories and Visions
  • Movement 5: Decision/Response for Lived Christian Faith

Section Three demonstrates how the Shared Christian Praxis methodology is not limited to the traditional Religious educational context. It is, in fact, a model for Pastoral ministry. Groome reminds us that Jesus’ ministry was a form of Shared Praxis and that, by all indications, the early church was as well. The church slowly morphed into a hierarchical structure in which the magisterium became the primary agency and only one of Aristotle’s three “lives”—theoria—was counted as worthy of the educational process. When the church reengages with shared praxis it can transform all of pastoral ministry, including Liturgy, Preaching, striving for Justice and Peace, and Pastoral counseling.

This book has been very helpful for my research and my personal call to pastoral ministry. It is helpful to my research because it is based, partly, upon the Critical Social Theory of Habermas and his communicative rationality. Shared Praxis is an embodied way to express the perichoretic power of the social Trinity that I am trying to flesh out in my research. The book is also helpful in my own call because I am a religious educator and a preacher. Groome’s words have both affirmed and challenged my current pedagogical praxis to continually maintain a dialogical approach that is grounded in community.

Selected Quotes

Shared Praxis in Preaching

“In the Sunday assembly, the general purpose of preaching is to place in dialogue some aspect of participants’ present historical reality and some aspect of Christian Story/Vision from the Scripture readings, so that people can come to see for themselves what their Christian faith means for their lives and renew commitment to living it…A shared praxis approach to preaching suggests the following principle: The sermon is a dialogue that actively engages the assembly.

“To create the dialogue, the preacher needs to draw upon four sources of reflection and perspective: (1) the preachers’ story/vision, (2) the stories/visions of the congregation, (3) the social and ecclesial context of the community’s life in place and time, and (4) a Story/Vision of the faith community, especially as reflected through the Scripture readings of the day…[the preacher is a] ‘story-teller’ and  a preaches a ‘shared story.’”[6]

Groome’s Pedagogical Creed[7]

Article 1: Agent-Subjects-in-Relationship

I believe Christian religious educators are to promote an understanding of persons as “agent-subjects-in-relationship’ who reflect the image of God by whose self-communication they have their very ‘being,’ and our pedagogy should help to realize this understanding by educating people to be free and responsible historical agents of their own becoming ‘fully alive’ to the glory of God.

Article 2: Communal Subjects in Right and Loving Relationship

Christian religious educators are to teach persons as communal beings who are to grow in right and loving relationship with God, self, others, and creation. Our pedagogy should honor and help realize the conviction that at the heart of us there is a transcendent disposition that leads us out of ourselves into relationship and interdependence; that ultimately our reach for relationship is to return us to eternal union with the relational God (Trinity) whence we came.

Article 3: Both Capable of Sin and Graced

The praxis of Christian religious educators is to reflect a realistic understanding of persons as capable of and prone to sin and an optimistic image of ourselves and others as more capable, by God’s grace, of freely choosing to do the good and true and of contributing within history to the coming of God’s reign.

Article 4: Transcendent Mystery and Immanent Love

I believe the praxis of Christian religious educators is to reflect and promote understanding and images of God: as Ultimate Mystery and Transcendent ‘Ground of Being;’ as Immanent One of absolute closeness who lovingly sustains and cares for all that is and who is present to our favor in the depths of existence, in creation, in history, in the everyday; as unconditional Love, both within Godself and toward all humankind; as the only God we are to honor and worship as the ‘center’ of our lives.

Article 5: God Reveals Godself

In both content and process, the pedagogy of Christian religious educators is to reflect the conviction that God has revealed and continues to reveal Godself to humankind in history, and that we are capable of encountering, recognizing, and appropriating God’s revelation as our normative source of meaning and ethic of life. Our pedagogy is to make accessible the saving truths of God’s primordial revelation that began for this community with the people of Israel, reached its high point for Christian faith in the event of Jesus Christ, and has continued over time as a living tradition in the community of Jesus’ disciples, the church. Our pedagogy is also to enable people to discern and appropriate God’s disclosure of Godself and will that they existentially encounter in present historical praxis.

Article 6: God as Life-giving and Faithful Partner in Covenant

Christian religious educators are to teach that and as if God completely favors humankind and wills justice and peace, love and freedom, wholeness and fullness of life for all (God’s reign); that God is active through human history opposing all that denies life and promoting the realization of God’s intentions’ that God calls all humankind into partnership (covenant) with Godself and one another to live according to what God wills—shalom.

Article 7: Divine and Human

The praxis of Christian religious educators should reflect and encourage the conviction that Jesus, the Christ, is the fully God and fully human One who, made flesh in time and place, is God’s irrevocable promise and our hope that humankind can come into at-one-ment with God, ourselves, others, and creation that in Jesus we encounter the summit of God’s self-disclosure to us and of us to ourselves.

Article 8: Model and Liberator

The pedagogy of Christian religious educators should enable people to symbolically encounter the historical Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection as the model of Christian discipleship and as the liberating Christ of faith—God’s anointed and effective agent of ‘liberating salvation’ in history, who empowers people to live as disciples for God’s reign.

Article 9: Source of Our Faith

Christian religious educators are to employ pedagogical processes that reflect the conviction that the Holy Spirit is the dynamic source of people’s faith, the One who enables people to recognize and faithfully respond to God’s offer of grace, and to God’s self-disclosure in Scripture and tradition and existentially in their present praxis.

Article 10: Source of Communion and Mission

The pedagogy of Christian religious educators is to reflect and teach the conviction that the Holy Spirit calls and empowers people to authentic community and to right and loving relationship with God and one another, and that the Holy Spirit is the genesis and animator of the Christian community that is to carry on Jesus’ mission of ‘liberating salvation’ in the world.

Article 11: Inclusive Community of Partnership

Christian religious educators are to teach that and as if the church is to be a community of partnership and fundamental equality that welcomes all people to full participation as disciples of Jesus; we are to educate for ‘church’ so that through the ministry of all its members, according to their gifts, the community will be an effective symbol of God’s reign by teaching the faith handed on (kerygma), by worshiping God for the life of the world (leitourgia), by witnessing in its communal life to the kerygma it teaches and the hope it celebrates (koinonia), and by serving on all levels for fullness of life for humankind and the integrity of creation (diakonia).

Article 12: A ‘Mixed Body’

Christian religious educators are to educate people in ecclesial identity with a ‘realistic’ faith in the church: as constituted by divine and human partners; as called to continuity with its apostolic roots and to change its ways toward greater faithfulness to God’s reign; as capable of nurturing people in Christian faith and as constantly in need of education and reformation.

Article 13: A Stance of Faith, Hope, and Love

Christian religious educators are called to reflect and promote in their pedagogy cherishing of Christian Story/Vision as gift and challenge that comes out of the rich heritage bequeathed by God’s activity among our mothers and fathers in faith; faith in its possibilities to reveal God and ourselves to us and thus to be a reliable framework of meaning and ethical norms for our lives; hope that its life-giving memories can be constantly rediscovered, critically appropriated, and developed by ongoing generations of Christians as a source of new life in every age.

Article 14: “Leading Learners”

Christian religious educators are to be ‘leading learners’ in the pedagogy of Christian faith, people who enter subject-to-subject relationships with other participants in faith education events and communities and who render the art of enabling such events and communities but always as learning participants.

Definition of Spirituality

“Christian spirituality is people’s conscious attending to God’s loving initiative and saving presence in their lives and their response to the movement of God’s Spirit, who moves their spirits to freely commit themselves through a Christian community to God’s reign of fullness of life for all, by living in right and loving relationship with God, self, others, and creation, according to the way of Jesus.”[8]

Notes


[1] http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/stm/acadprog/faculty/groome.html (accessed August 6, 2013)

[2] Thomas H. Groome, Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis, 1st ed. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 9.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.,  85-86.

[5] Ibid.,  135.

[6] Ibid.,  372.

[7] Ibid.,  429-450.

[8] Ibid.,  426.