Exploring Spirituality

Photo Credit: chiptape via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: chiptape via Compfight cc

‘Spirituality’ – what does this word mean to you? I was invited to reflect on this question during the first session of the Spiritual Formation course that I have joined this year. I am beyond excited by this opportunity and so I expect it might be something that you hear a lot about from me during 2015! I feel so blessed that something like this is being run in my diocese. The definition that I settled on is:

By choosing to embrace & collaborate with God’s perpetual presence with us, and His active interest & concern with all that is happening in, and to, and around us; we can care for our souls & choose to grow in wholeheartedness.

Here are some definitions that we discussed on the day that struck a chord with me. First this one from David Runcorn. I’m drawn to the word pilgrimage in this definition; the sense of a journey and a quest.

Christian Spirituality is concerned with the whole of our humanity offered consecrated and transformed into the life of God. It is a pilgrimage into our true identity restored in Christ. This means learning to pray with all aspects of what makes us human – our personal story, sexuality and stages of life.’

From David Runcorn (2006) Spirituality Workbook, London, SPCK

And this one from Richard Rohr:

(The goal of Spirituality is) to strip away all the layers of pretence all that you or others have clothed yourself in over the years and get down to naked reality.

To lead the ‘naked’ person to stand truthfully before the naked God. The important thing is that we are naked; in other words that we come without title, merit, shame or even demerit. All we can offer to God is who we really are, which to all of us never seems like enough. I am sure that this is the way true lovers feel too.’

Fr. Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting go. Crossroad 2004

This nakedness feels key to the element of wholeheartedness that is important to me. There is such richness here. A week after this first session I am still chewing it over and nowhere near finished with my wondering and pondering.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on defining spirituality and what particularly resonates with you from these definitions?

About expectantlylistening

Writing about my contemplative journey to come closer to Jesus. I hope to inspire and equip others on their journey.
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15 Responses to Exploring Spirituality

  1. betsydecruz says:

    I think I liked your definition the best, Victoria. What a privilege to be taking a spiritual formation class. I hope you enjoy it and learn from it. I think spirituality is being real, transparent, and living our our hope and our beliefs day by day. Getting God’s word in so our faith can spill out! (That’s my new tagline for my blog whenever I can manage a new blog banner. 🙂 )

    • Thanks Betsy! I think it’s going to be a great course and, I’m praying, full of growth. I love what you wrote about living our hope and our beliefs day by day – I really appreciate your choice of words – living, day by day – spot on. And I really look forward to seeing your new banner flying high!

  2. Carolyn Studer says:

    I love the Richard Rohr quote and the emphasis on living authentically.

  3. trishamugo says:

    I like the first definition best. How we abide in Christ perplexes me. Spirituality to me means walking with deepening awareness of his presence which leads to trust. It’s childlike wonder and recognizes that as much doctrine as we know about God there’s more that we don’t understand. Spirituality says that’s ok and even chalks it up as another reason to worship God. He’s God; we’re not.

    I like your connection to the word wholehearted.

  4. The word ‘nakedness’ jumped out at me. Perhaps it ties in with my recent post. It is not so much about sexuality, although I guess that may be part of it. I think that sexuality and spirituality are closely linked. When you are wounded sexually, you are also wounded spiritually, if that makes sense. However, the main reason ‘nakedness’ jumped out was to do with that sense of being open and vulnerable and the ‘real’ you, warts and all. Nothing is hidden. Julia

  5. Hi,
    Hope you don’t mind my adding an amendment to my comment above. I am often blessed with after thought. When I mentioned being wounded sexually, I wasn’t thinking about sexual orientation. I don’t mind what sexual orientation you are. I was thinking about sexual wounding through abuse of power-harrassment, rape, sexual aggression- that kind of thing. I just wanted to clarify the point.

  6. They were naked in the garden, before they sinned. It is the shame of sin, therefore, that causes us to want to hide from the holy gaze of the Holy One. What scares me about the term “spirituality” is the way it is used by many to tap into a reality apart from the temporal, yet without the acceptance of the problem of sin. In other words, many people, when asked, say they are concerned with “spiritual things,” yet they are antagonistic toward biblical Truth. Just a thought.

    • Hi Anthony, thanks for this reminder about why nakedness feels so uncomfortable. I try to hide my sin from God, even though I know he knows! And I think another part of why I try to hide is that I don’t want to face it myself; it’s too uncomfortable and threatens my self-image.

      It’s so true that there is a rise in interest in ‘spiritual things’ often in the absence of thoughts about God. I think that’s part of what draws me to think how I would define it, so that I am ready to share with others.

  7. Your spiritual course sounds so wonderful! That’s great that you are able to participate. I’ve been reading more from Richard Rohr lately (Simplicity is actually in my drawer to read next). He really encourages me to go deeper. I look forward to hearing more about what you’re learning, Victoria!

  8. Hi Lisa, thanks I am really excited about all the course has to offer – next session is tomorrow! I love reading your book reviews, so look forward perhaps to hearing how you find Simplicity!

  9. Pingback: Three encouragements for Mums | expectantly listening

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