Monday, December 13, 2010

Hagberg on Faith Development 1/6

Janet Hagberg's Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company is an unknown classic. I came across it by accident but haven't seen her referenced too much, it might have something to do with the price of the book in comparison with other similar books. Her approach to faith development is refreshing and really insightful and one that I have found probably the most helpful, not least for the reason of perspective and warning she brings.
"In each of us a wide mixture of behaviour both wise and unwise, healthy and unhealthy, appears.... when that behaviour begins to dominate or when we become obsessed with how we need to behave or how others need to behave, then we have a clear sign that we are becoming caged. Another sign of stuckness is having to be right abd convincing others of our rightness.... rightness becomes more important than the journey." pp11
Summary of Stage 1 - The Recognition of God - humbles us

This first stage is all about faith as the discovery or recognition of God. Driven by a desire or an aching need for greater meaning in life it is characterised by a sense of awe and a sense of innocence. Hagberg speaks about people within this stage of faith being held back or 'caged' by feelings of worthlessness, spiritual bankruptcy, martyrdom, ignorance and to move on there is a need in discipleship to align with a strong group to find a charismatic leader to follow in order to discover the way. This is the beginning of forming within the tribe that becomes what Fowler calls significant others. Through this there is a move from isolation as self worth is accepted.

Hagberg's key questions at this stage  are:


How and when did you first recognise God in your life?
How do you experience God most, by awe, a sense of need, nature, or a search for greater meaning?
When have you recognised or felt God strongly in your life?

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 49

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