Friday, February 13, 2015

Faith Development: As seen in scripture...

I'm really enjoying Richard Rohr's thoughts this week via his emails. Today he talks about 'An Evolving Faith'. I have always been fascinated by exploring Faith Development and found it a relief as I discover more of who and where I am!

Rohr suggests that 'the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures show an evolutionary development, a gradual coming to see how God acts in human life.God is not changing; it is our comprehension of God that is changing.' He identifies in 'Israel's growth as a people is a pattern of what happens to every person and to every people who set out on the journey of faith. They go through stages and gradually come to see how God loves them and what God's liberation does for them.'

"In the first stage, people start to experience the reality of God and God's love as more than abstract concepts. At the same time, however, they tend to believe that God's love is limited to just themselves, a select few such as a chosen people or the one true Church.

In the second stage, people begin to respond to God's love, but they perceive God's love as rather totally dependent on their ideal response. They believe that grace is a conditional gift, that God will love them if they are good, that God will save or reward them if they keep the commandments. 

In the third stage, people begin to see God's love as unlimited and unconditional, but they do not see further than that. They acknowledge that God loves them whether they are good or bad, and that God is gracious to the just and the unjust alike. But they still think that God is doing that from afar, from up in heaven somewhere. They do not yet see themselves as inherently participating in the process. 

In the fourth stage, they make the breakthrough to seeing that God's grace and love is present within them, through them, with them, and even as them! The mystery of incarnation has come full circle... It is all one stream of Love! 

... As Ken Wilber so brilliantly says, "Religion starts elitist, but ends egalitarian. Always!" I think it is almost a necessary pattern, but far too many stop half way."

I guess this is fits somewhere with a Thomas Merton quote I am chewing over

"He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centred ambitions, his delusions about  ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas"

Merton, T. (1973:178-179) Contemplation in a World of Action 

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