What is Christian Spiritual Formation?
"Christian mysticism proclaims several exciting ideas about humanity -- about our
relationship to the cosmos, and our relationship to the loving Spirit who created us.
Spiritual formation is a process by which we allow the implications of these proclamations to become manifest in our lives.
Basically, these are the ideas central to spiritual formation:
"1. We have been formed by the Spirit of God: "you sent forth your Spirit, and it formed them."
"2. We are engaged in the process of having Christ formed in us by the Holy Spirit: "until Christ is formed in you.'...
"We human beings have been formed by the radiant spirit of the Most High -- therefore,
we are children of resplendent love ("God is love" -- I John 4:8, 16).... You have been formed by the Spirit of God.
while we are borne of Divine love, we also make mistakes, we miss the mark, we do things that cause pain and regret. This is
what the Christian tradition calls 'sin' -- perhaps an over-used and mis-used word, so we might also call it "resistance to love." We are borne of love, and yet we resist the love which formed us.
"Therefore, the process of formation -- God's formation of us, not our formation of ourselves -- is not yet complete.
... The mystical tradition proclaims that the Spirit continues to form us, a process which will continue until Christ is fully formed within and through us. The word
'us' is important, for Christ is being formed in us not only as individuals, but also as a community -- the community of the love of God is formed to be the
'body of Christ.' "
[By Carl McColman who
"invites you to explore the wonder and joy of visionary mystical
spirituality.... Carl's own path integrates the grandeur of Celtic
spirituality with the luminous practice of contemplative prayer, while
his teaching and writing explore the inner life from a universal and
inclusive perspective. Therefore, his work can support seekers of any
faith or spiritual persuasion."
The Academy for Spiritual Formation:
"The Academy for Spiritual Formation is an experience of disciplined Christian community emphasizing holistic spirituality -- nurturing body, mind, and spirit. The program is meant for all those who hunger for deep spiritual experiences.... Each Academy fosters
new spiritual rhythms -- of study and prayer, rest and exercise, solitude and relationship.
... At a personal level, participants find a time and space to discern direction, make covenants, and practice commitments."
"New Resource from the Office of Spiritual Formation - Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Take your time with this picture, and with energy, intelligence, imagination and love, allow a prayer to be evoked within you.
...This resource includes over two hundred pages of spiritual practices and disciplines, with dozens of methods intended for children and adults, individuals and groups."
Spiritual Formation - Spiritual Practices
(a list follows):
Center-L, Contemplative Outreach... Jesus Prayer, Lectio Divina, Introduction to
Readings for Lectio Divina.... The Sacred Labyrinth, "The Good Book" Bible Reading Plan
[no longer available],
World Community for Christian Meditation, Renovaré."
"Spiritual Formation Conference at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas.
Keynote Speakers were: Desmond Tutu, Phyllis Tickle, Alan Jones (Find his
Our Father in Heaven or Our Mother the Earth?, Thomas Keating, Joan Borysenko, and Walter Wink.
"Wrestling with Culture: C.S. Lewis and
J.R.R. Tolkien as Spiritual Mentors:
(Camp Allen Retreat and Conference Center Navasota, Nov. 19-21) Nationally recognized lecturers, Louis Markos and
Joseph Pearce, are the featured speakers for the weekend. Other special delights include an evening of unforgettable theater featuring one of Atlanta’s leading actors, Tom Key, in an intimate one-man performance of C.S. Lewis on Stage."
Read about Joseph
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings:
Truth, Myth or 'Discovered Reality'?
The Ministry of Spiritual
"If you think that God may be calling you to be a spiritual director, you might consider the Center’s two-year course entitled
"The Ministry of Spiritual Direction." This program will enable you to:
- Test your calling...
- Clarify your graces;
- Claim the disciplines required for the work of caring for souls in love.
Upon completion of this program, you will have:
- Acquired basic instruction in the disciplines related to developing a sensitivity toward, and insight and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
- Developed the skills necessary for listening to others’ stories, needs, struggles and aspirations...
- Accepted your personal weaknesses as a basis for authentic compassion.
Pacific Center for Spiritual Formation:
"...a small group of Bay area friends and fellow students at Shalem Institutes spiritual directors training program... were moved by the work of Gerald May and Tilden Edwards among others, joining the Western
spiritual direction tradition, contemplative and meditative practice, and the possibility of
helping people access a personal, unmediated experience of God. Edwards book called it practicing the Presence. Our own Fran Geddes speaks of having
'a raw experience of the Holy.'....
"On Saturday, October 23rd, Pacific Center staff will offer a day of opportunities for experiencing, developing, and renewing spiritual practices, new forms of
self-discovery, and new forms of creative expression. "Please join us!"...
"Such events range from presentations by special speakers such as Marcus Borg and Houston Smith, to yearly retreats for spiritual deepening.... In the coming months, PCSF will be exploring ways to offer interfaith opportunities for spiritual practice and dialogue.
Center has become an Affiliate of the
United Religions Initiative whose world headquarters is in San
Francisco. In the coming months, PCSF will be exploring ways to offer
interfaith opportunities for spiritual practice and dialogue.
Benefits of Interfaith Spiritual Practice:
"With our times marred by growing fundamentalist violence and hatred, we need to create interfaith communities of spiritual practice characterized by compassion and mutual understanding.
My own experience has shown me that it is possible for us to deepen our own spiritual practice and live out our divine inheritance by sharing the Holy silence with people from other faith traditions of the world.
"...a small group of us have discovered that we can participate in a spiritual fellowship of various religions without sacrificing the core beliefs of our own religious identity. We learned that we have more in common at the level of spiritual practice and experience than we have differences.
... The members include a Sufi (Muslim) originally from Iran, a Zen Buddhist priest, a
Roman Catholic lay person, a Reform Jewish rabbi, and myself as a minister in the
United Church of Christ."