Thursday, January 29, 2009

stages of faith

Lots of potato varieties at a market in a small town in Peru. Peru is basically the birthplace of the potato and is known for its abundant varieties of potatoes!

"Human nature is to go to the bathroom in your pants." - Scott Peck in Further Along The Road Less Traveled. The man's a genius, I swear to God.

This blog may be somewhat rambling. I have to keep it short as I am trying to get work done on my book chapter "What is Truth." Profound aye? It talks about spiritual truth versus scientific truths, and in some of my book-reading-research, I stumbled back upon that genius quote by Scott Peck today, which cracked me up. It was in the chapter that probably had the biggest influence on my conversion from atheism to Christianity, Spirituality and Human Nature, in which he talks about the stages of spiritual growth. I swear that every human being should read these pages of that book, p. 119-126. They changed my life. In my book, I talk both about my conversion from atheism to Christianity, how that book played a very important role, and I also talk about Peck's stages of spiritual growth. I could talk about them here, but it would take too much time, and I need to write them up in my book not on my blog! But in short...

Peck took the 6 stages Theology professor and Methodist minister James Fowler had outlined in the book Stages of Faith, and simplified into 4 stages. Fowler's book relied on the work of classic psychology experts Piaget, Erikson, and others. And in my estimation the stages perfectly explain the culture war between science and faith. I mean, it is earth-shatteringly to a T a perfect explanation of why science and religion have battled for so long! And that is part of my book. So you'll just have to read it :)

Rereading the stages, I had a HUGE eureka about my personal life, today, actually. This may not make sense to anyone but me, but if I don't write it down I'm afraid I may forget it, and by putting this here now I can come back to it. I realized that one can be at a later stage of spiritual growth in most areas of their life, but still have a toehold (or more) in an earlier stage. In other words a person may have most of their life together, but there may be one particular habit or hangup or area of life in which you still just do not have control over - and hence are regressed in an earlier stage. The chapter AFTER the chapter on spiritual growth actually is about addictions, which was kind of interesting because I think that all put it all together. Peck talks about regressing, but he does not talk about how one person can have a toehold in another stage (except in the case of borderline personality disorder). But I think that one can be basically in a later stage of spiritual development, but still need to be "told what to do" (which is a characteristic of stage 2) in order to have control over the chaos (stage 1) of a particular stronghold, while in all other areas of their life they can be independent thinkers. I don't know if that makes any sense whatsoever, but... anyway. It makes sense to me, and is enough to remind me of my thoughts when I come back to it!

Another thing I have been pondering is to create little tributes to my friends. I love my friends so much. I have had a rough few days, and I can not tell you how much it means to me to have the friends there to talk to and listen to me, and this is the best part: they don't just agree with me but they argue the other perspective. You know your friends are true when they support you and love you and listen, but they also gently encourage you to see the other side. I have thought about how to do tribute to my friends for years. Over the years, I've thought about creating photo collages, or something written. And I thought the other day that I may create some blog entries with some thoughts and pictures here and there, as a tribute to some of my closest friends.

I was going to do one tonight but don't have time but I do want to leave you with a link to one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, and it is played by my best friend Daline! I've actually posted some of the lyrics here before, back when she played it live for men as she sat here with her guitar in my living room. She blogged the full lyrics at her new blog Pixie Dust World Tour. The song is Loud and Clear, and you can listen to it by downloading the file here.

One last thing, I am quoted in this article, Don't Feed the Beast! Ending the cycle of consumerism, credit and crisis, so wanted to link to it! The author T.M. Elkins actually didn't interview me, but took quotes from one of my favorite articles I've written, My 30 Days on Consumer Celibacy (OnEarth Magazine, Summer 2007). I'm quoted toward the end of the first page of Elkin's article, and then at the beginning of the 2nd page also.

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