Showing posts with label Spiritual formation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual formation. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Stages of spiritual development.

The stages of spiritual development have many names depending on the author of the model being described. While the names may be different the forms and content of the stages are approximately the same. The model that seems most basic is one based on the hierarchy of six human needs outlined by Abraham Maslow: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, self actualization, and transcendence.

The views of god held by human beings are anthropomorphic projections based on the felt needs at each stage of development. Church and religions exist and thrive to the extent that they help humans satisfy these needs throughout the human life cycle. Each stage of spiritual development subsumes the previous stage into the larger subsequent stage. These stages get repeated for each individual human being as well as for their groups whether they be  family, community, regions, nations, societies, and global. Currently, at a societal level there is a transition from the belongingness stage, stage 3,  what the integral philosophers call ethnocentric, to an esteem stage, stage 4,  where the self worth of all humans is being recognized and acknowledged so that ethnocentric boundaries are crumbling creating fear in people stuck at the belongingness stage, stage 3, of development.

A question that might be asked is “To what extent do churches and religions facilitate spiritual development or impede it?” Churches and religions that have been barriers and obstacles to spiritual growth are dying with attendance and membership dropping significantly in the last few decades of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

If you go to church and identify with a religion, to what extent and in what ways does your church and religion facilitate your spiritual growth?

Let’s look at the stages of spiritual development outlined above based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and assess the degree to which various cultural beliefs and traditions, and societal institutions facilitate spiritual growth of the members of society.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Spiritual intelligence: Definition

The mission of the church, of religion, is to facilitate the development of spiritual intelligence in its members. What is spiritual intelligence?

Spiritual intelligence is the awareness and workings of the Transcendent Source of all creation. This Transcendent Source goes by many names none of which do the idea of Transcendent Source justice. Some call it “God.” Some call it “Tao.” Some call it “Mother Nature.” Some call it “The Force.” Some call it the “Oneness.” Some call it the “Eternal Nothingness.” Some call it the “Eternal Infinite.” The names we call it vary from culture to culture, from religion to religion, and from one developmental  stage of life to another.

When people would tell John Buehrens, a Unitarian Universalist minister and former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, that they didn’t believe in God, John reportedly  would ask, “What  god is it that you don’t believe in?”

Giving up the belief in God of our youth is like giving up the belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. It comes with a developmental growth in cognitive processing. With this understanding of developmental growth,  the idea of spiritual intelligence comes with the idea of stages of understanding and belief systems. What kind of understanding was present at one stage of growth is outgrown and subsumed within later stages of growth. A good church, a good religion, understands this developmental and evolutionary model and is able to address the needs of its members at their various stages of growth.

What are the stages and where are you presently in the developmental model?

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