Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Maturing the Spiritual Formation Movement

Richard Foster has been at the forefront of this so-called modern spiritual formation movement for many years so he is the right person to comment on it.

He wrote in his Renovare November newsletter that

"The task of maturing the modern spiritual formation movement is complicated and will challenge our finest thinking and most creative energies.

There are two reasons, at least, for the complication. To begin with, the continuing popularity of spiritual formation today has meant that all kinds of writing and speaking has now gone forth on the subject. Frankly—and I hate to say it in such a blunt matter—much that has gone out under the name of spiritual formation has been done by people who simply have not thought substantively on the subject, and (dare I mention it) we have to wonder if they themselves have been spiritually formed to any substantial degree. Hence, a great deal of "Holy Baloney" is out there now, and the average person is quickly going to despair at attempting to distinguish the good from the bad.

Then, secondly, people in general and Americans in particular are a fickle lot, and they tire quickly. Many, in fact, are already going on to the next fad. And let's be honest: how many of us can truly wrap our minds around the notion of a forty-year journey into the subterranean chambers of the soul? That was Moses's experience of character formation in the Egyptian desert, you recall. Forty years! Are we not tempted to opt instead for a short-cut or two? Impatience is a primary spiritual problem in our day."

His recommendations?

1. We take the long view . . . always.
2. We refuse to think of spiritual formation in terms of various practices . . . ever.
3. We engage in spiritual formation for the sake of the Church universal . . . always.
4. We do not center on curriculum based solutions . . . ever.
5. We draw wisdom and insight from the ancient sources . . . always.
6. We do not aim at outward action . . . ever.
7. We are keenly aware that true inward transformation will incline our hearts toward suffering humanity . . . always.

A good reminder that spiritual formation takes time, involve wisdom and character formation, is not program-driven and is missional.

read more



Post a Comment

<< Home