Young People & Spirituality

Was at a fantastic day on Youth Spirituality on Monday, led by a great (Australian) guy by the name of Dr Paul McQuillan. Haven’t blogged about it up until now as I’ve still been digesting it all. I scribbled notes on my IPAQ like there was no tomorrow but regrettably I failed to get it all down. For the moment I’ll just throw out some interesting stuff that I noted (it may not be word perfect):
Some research by Hay. The question was “Have you been aware of a presence or power, whether you call it God or not, which is different from you every day self?”
in 1987 48% said yes
in 2000 76% said yes
Paul picked up on the fact that we do not have a widely developed universal Spiritual language, the language of the Church and the way people express Spiritual experiences are completely different. This of course links in with and feeds the cultural belief that “Religion” and “Spirituality” are not related!
I was also struck by this list of Modern Divorces (missed the author I’m afraid):

     Modern Divorces

  1. Spirituality and Ecclesiology
  2. Religion and Sexuality
  3. Experience and Language

3 Replies to “Young People & Spirituality”

  1. Hmm, interesting! Write more, I’d be interested in unpacking the modern divorces points – there is potential for a good reflection on the positions and the potential impact on youthwork.
    As to the spiritual language bit, i think this does pose some interesting questions. The Church (universal – well, in GB at least!) doesn’t even have a common language for talking about spirituality, or a common experience of spirituality. I work in 2 Churches, one v trad, fairly high Church, the other fairly charismatic, and the conregations are poles apart, sometimes they seem to speak differnt languages. I personaly don’t think this is a bad thing, though. The diveristy is really important, as no one expression of spirituality is going to ‘fit’ everyone. Is it really the case that there is not a universal language for talking about spirituality, or it is the case that we have a continuum of languge for spirituality, the problem being that sometimes we can not (or do not) acknowledge the expression used by a spirituality that is not within our own individual or communal experience? Thus you get a Church which may not recognise the hand of God working in the secular world because it is not couched in Christian jargon, and you get a secular world which does not see Spirituality within the Church – because it has no incentive to look?
    If this is the case (which it may not be, I’m thinking out loud at the mo!) there are other question that this poses. Where do different expressions of Church spirituality sit on this continuum? How can we use the language which is accesible to those outside the Church bit of the spectrum to do a Paul, and name their spiritual experience with the name of Christ? How does the Church react and inter-react with expressions of Spirituality which may not be of God? How do we know which these are? Is there any common ground with the different Church expressions of Spirituality and secular expressions? Is there value in acknwleging that even within Christian Spirituality there is a diversity of language, and that it’s ok? Sorry, no answers, just musings. Feel free to contradict, challenge, or add. Interested to know thougths of others.

  2. Kathryn,
    Good Musings! Thanks for your thoughts. I Hope to flesh some stuff out a bit more in the next fews days around Missio Dei and “listening”

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