The Value of Studying Spirituality

Urban T. Holmes names the value of pursuing the study of Christian Spirituality as it has been experienced throughout history.

“The answer should:

  1. broaden the limitations of our own horizons;
  2. free us to seek a pattern of discipline in the spiritual life that is most suitable to our own life-style;
  3. enable us to help others without demanding that they be like us;
  4. enlighten and inspire us by the examples of those who have practiced the presence of God in heroic ways–by the ‘hero’ is meant that person who in word and action illumines our consciousness, makes us more aware of who we are in the world and before God; and
  5. enhance our skills that we might become competent spiritual guides or companions to others.

In other words, the purpose of an historical analysis in spiritual theology is to provide the data for an interpretation of the tradition of Christian spirituality not for its own sake alone, but to enable today’s Christian to illumine his or her contemporary meaning of the experience of God in a manner that is meaningful and true.” ((Holmes, Urban Tigner. A History of Christian Spirituality: An Analytical Introduction. New York: Seabury Press, 1980. 3))

I would like to claim this as my purpose for pursuing the Deep in the Burbs Research project.