Thursday, November 25, 2010

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 3/3

Continuing Hirsch and Frost's insight to faith development using Søren Kierkegaard they refer to a movement from a 'move from self-love, to love of others, to love of God' which then helps in our relearning to 'love self and others properly by loving God truly'.

This third stage is known as The Religious Stage:
"At this stage, the individual realizes that the eternal, ultimate good is not a static system of ethical rules, but a real, living being. One discovers that "there’s someone more to life". When an individual stands before God he no longer sees himself as self-sufficient. He recognizes his own inability to transform himself. The religious person strives to allow himself to be transformed by God. Thus one who lives in the religious stage lives in faith-upheld obedience to God. Since one’s commitment is to a living God, one must at times set aside social conventions (go against the flow), and even "suspend the ethical" for the sake of living in faith."
Faith Development's failure for me is in the description. H&F help us to understand the danger of perceiving these stages as a 'simple linear progression', the use of the word 'stage' does not help as the inference is one of progression. However, in the same way that there are implications in the way adults think as they mature, there are implications for our faith if our faith is to remain dynamic and we are to understand more of the depth, breadth and height of the God beyond our comforting notions. The transformation from inner selfishness to selflessness involves a rugged journey as we discover what it is to flourish and be human.
"... the real challenge of evolving into true humanity lies in the fact that the person must deliberately and courageously choose to engage the risks of life, negotiate personal crisis, bravely confronting even despair when necessary, in order to move from one stage to another."
I'm looking forward to being able to reference H&F properly when their  book is published.

Hirsch, A. and Frost, M. (2011) The Faith of Leap: A Theology of Adventure and Risk and the Implications for Discipleship, Mission, Leadership, and the Church.

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 1/3
Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 2/3

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