Category Archives: Religious Education

My Vocation as a Theologian

My Approach to the Vocation of the Theologian in the Field of Adult Spiritual Formation

by Steve Thomason

A Term Paper Presented to Professor Alan Padgett

Luther Seminary

As a Requirement in Course GR8620 The Vocation of the Theologian | St. Paul, Minnesota | 2012

How does one function as a scholar in the academy while maintaining, and more importantly, integrating a deep Christian conviction into that scholarly work? That is the question to which I will respond in this paper.  I will focus my response to the specific task of being a scholar within the field of Adult Spiritual Formation within the emerging missional church. This work will bring me into conversation with the broader academic fields of sociology, psychology, and andragogy. It is a difficult task to speak of spiritual formation in an academic arena that has a natural prejudice against it. Sociologists, psychologists, and andragogists tend to approach human development from an empirical, naturalistic perspective. Spirituality is most often viewed as simply a human construct at best. In this paper I will speak to this difficulty and outline my philosophy of how I can maintain my deep Christian convictions while also maintaining high academic standards within this scholarly pursuit. read more

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.


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] read more

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



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] read more

Book | The Practice of Communicative Theology by Scharer and Hilberath

communicative theologyScharer, Matthias Hilberath Bernd Jochen. The Practice Of Communicative Theology: Introduction To A New Theological Culture. New York: Crossroad Pub. CO. 2008.


The Authors — Matthias Scharer and Bernd Jochen Hilberath

My Reflections

Sharer and Hilberath are two German, Roman Catholic theologians who have adopted Ruth Cohn’s Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI) model as the means of doing theology. This pedagogy comes from a long history of Catholic theology and is rooted, most apparently, in Habermas’ communicative rationality. The combination of TCI and Habermas leads to their label: Communicative Theology. read more