Spirituality of generation Y

The Spirituality of Generation Y day at LICC was great. The unpacking of the research has come quite a way since the preliminary findings were presented at the CTE day last year and we got into more reflection on implications today! The intervening 18 months have also seen a better understanding of the way that Phil Rankin’s research and that of Sylvie and Bob Mayo’s, complement each other.
The two different types of spirituality that Bob flagged up last April (2005) were still the main foundations that the exploration was built on, those of
1.Formative Spirituality (a private, often unarticulated approach to life, prayer etc)
2. Transformative Spirituality (A spirituality that affects public areas of life)
buried spirituality.jpg Today the concept of a “Happy Midi-narrative” was a key theme. That Young People look for and believe in the possibility of happiness, that this is their prevelant worldview. This may possibly bury the formative spirituality beneath this world view and leave it unexamined. What was clear however is that there was very little evidence that young people thought they had a need for a transformative spirituality and therefore, that the “God shaped hole” that needed filling was a myth (at least in the experience and quest of young people), Bob referred to this gap between these two spiritualities as a ‘black hole’ to emphasise the vast gulf. The “Happy midi-narrative” posed some interesting speculations as to what happens when a young person fails to achieve happiness? Is the gap between the worldview and what a young person is experiencing when hurting a cause of self harm etc?
Phil Rankin was usefully able to show how willing young people are to talk about their spirituality providing it’s on their space and that us REALLY listening is the goal. Bob was also very interested in both the right space and place to move toards the transformative, but further than this believed that the ‘when’ and the ‘with whom’ were vital pieces and it was at the place where these met the ‘where’ that the move towards transformative might happen.
The over-riding question of the day though (that was both examined and left with us) was

How do we enable a bridge to be made between Formative Spirituality towards that of Transformative Spirituality?

I’ll write more as I get the day clearer in my head! Great to see so many youth minister friends there.
Other reports and reflections:

Deep Thought

Ben Bell
Tim Abbott
And finally: Mark Berry was asking related questions to passers by in Telford today.

6 Replies to “Spirituality of generation Y”

  1. Thanks for this great summary Ian, I thought much of the day was good (although I confess to leaving early after dropping off a number of times during the panel discussion). I have been reflecting on the ‘Happy Midi-narrative’ findings and the suggestions that young people may find it hard / unacceptable / confusing to explore unhappy feelings. I wonder whether a role for youth work could be to facilitate a safe space in which young people feel able and supported to explore these issues. If people deny the struggles then the ‘Good News’ is less obvious (maybe).

  2. I’m both pleased and reluctant to say, Ben, you right in both points. It was really good but the panel was not a good part of it. Some of the panel members had REALLY good things to say but the way the panel worked meant that they were hard to pick out of the discussion. I’m sure it being in the afternoon didn’t help but surely as informal educators we should all know that something like that would be difficult to engage with for a large room full of people.

  3. LOL 🙂 Every single person on that Panel was someone I respect and would want to listen to …. BUT I didn’t stay for that bit as I struggle to concentrate when it’s Panel time. I nunc-dimitus’d and had a great pedal back to Paddington reflecting on the day (and racing Taxi’s!)
    My thanks to LICC for hosting a very important day and making it varied, interactive, fun AND with the opportunity to question (even if I didn’t utilize all of those opportunities). The variety of voices working around a well thought out framework was great.

  4. wish I’d been able to go to this, but London is quite a long way from Sheffield….grrr…..
    sounds like the assumption is being made that formative spirituality alone is not sufficient, and that transformative spirituality is more important. perhaps this is me just being cynical, but that’s how it sounds.
    i’m not saying we shouldn’t be seeking transformative spirituality, but if we focus only on the transformative do we run the risk of overlooking, ignoring, mis-interpreting what exists in terms of formative spirituality???
    sounds a bit like we must be seeking tangible, categorisable spirituality. not quite sure how i feel about this, if it is, in fact, the case.

  5. was a good day, particularly the morning. It has left me with various challenges and it has been interesting to hear different responses from those not there and the people present.
    The transformative and formative stuff was interesting – wonder if sometimes some youthworkers operate more in the formative whilst the vicars/ministers want them to operate in transformative stages? Just a thought!
    Most of the debates also seem to be around semantics – isn’t that always the case in christendom – so tell me Ian, what is spirituality? You have a think and I am off to hug a tree – LOL

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