Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's happening when what I believe is not what I used to believe...

This title was the name of the workshop conducted by Chris Brown, a psychologist and in pastoral care at Rusty Springs festivel.

Chris basically went though James Fowler's 'Stages of Faith', which Chris categorized as a part of developmental psychology.

The Wikipedia summarised these stages of faith as such::

  • Stage 0"Primal or Undifferentiated" faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurturance is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
  • Stage 1"Intuitive-Projective" faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche's unprotected exposure to the Unconscious.
  • Stage 2"Mythic-Literal" faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic.
  • Stage 3"Synthetic-Conventional" faith (arising in adolescence) characterized by conformity
  • Stage 4"Individuative-Reflective" faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for their beliefs and feelings.
  • Stage 5"Conjunctive" faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems
  • Stage 6"Universalizing" faith, or what some might call "enlightenment".
Some insteresting points brought out on the workshop on these stages were::

:: Fowler belives that %20 of Americans are in Stage 2
:: Fowler belivied that only 1.6% ever get to Stage 6
:: Some examples of Stage 6 given are Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King.
::The stages of faith is cross cultural, so it could be for a Buddhist or some other faith.

For me all this made a lot of scene. It filled a lot of gaps. It is interesting that part of the conversation was regarding fundamentalism/evangelicalism. It was agreed that this aspect of Christianity is in the stages 2-3. This would be what I saw in the Vineyard denomination. Although at Ranges I would say I saw people enter the church who where Stage 4 and 5, that they had not much Church background.

Interestingly a 'Crisis' is often the catalyst for people moving though a Stage. In my opinion they either go to Stage 5 or go backward to where things are safe Stage 3 or 4.

So what about myself. Well I reckon I'm Stage 4-5. A 'Critical self-evalutation' is taking place without the crisis. As my friend Bob says over at View from a Room, "I've sacked Jesus and looking for the real one."