All Of The Above


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A presentation I prepared for a workshop on inclusive spirituality, deepening your faith, and relating to people who have different traditions from yours. :)

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All Of The Above

  1. 1. All of the Above<br />Non-Traditional Faith Approaches & Deepening the Life of Faith<br />
  2. 2. Introductions<br />What is inclusive spirituality?<br />God-in-everything<br />Deep respect for all beings<br />Care for people and planet<br />What inclusive spirituality is not<br />Giving up your own voice<br />Losing your tradition<br />Comparing practices<br />
  3. 3. Part I: Where Does Our Faith Begin?<br />As human beings, we come hard-wired to do certain things. We live, we love, we grow. We begin to make sense of our surroundings. Establishing a sense of relationship with something greater than ourselves is a natural part of healthy development.<br />
  4. 4. What We Share<br />Life<br />Place<br />Love<br />Meaning-making<br />A sense of something bigger<br />
  5. 5. Making Meaning<br />Early on, we learn naturally and by example<br />As we mature, we learn new things by taking in information and direction from our environment<br />Our social culture helps us make meaning and belong to the group<br />Shared meanings create community and give us a sense of support and identity<br />
  6. 6. Seeking Understanding<br />The challenge of learning something new is that in order to understand and integrate what you’re learning, you need to experience it<br />Take a class about French; read a French primer; until you speak it—perhaps with a native speaker—you don’t really understand. Your learning is limited.<br />
  7. 7. Finding Our Way <br />Learning about the bigger something—developing faith—is partly acculturated, partly discovered within.<br />We can learn the steps, memorize the prayers, go through the motions.<br />But it’s at the point of understanding that our relationship with God takes root.<br />
  8. 8. Why Does Faith Matter?<br />It’s a part of our identity<br />It gives us hope…<br />Strength<br />Comfort<br />Support<br />Values<br />Connection<br />Helps us to create a good life<br />
  9. 9. Questions for Reflection<br />In what way does my faith practice feel “conventional”?<br />Have I had questions about my tradition?<br />Did I have support for those questions? What did I do about them?<br />How do I feel when others question their faith or their tradition?<br />How do I feel when others question my tradition?<br />
  10. 10. Part II: Following a Path<br />Finding your own way can feel risky when you are going it alone. If your growth is drawing you to a sense of deeper spirituality—or to better understand others who are seeking—you can turn to your own source of inner wisdom and find outward support.<br />
  11. 11. New Traditions and Ancient Roots<br />Five key practices can help develop our spiritual relationship with our God:<br />Prayer and meditation<br />Listening within<br />Reflecting (alone or in community) on our emotions and experiences<br />Expressing gratitude in words, song, prayer, artistic works, exercise, or dance<br />On-going learning<br />
  12. 12. Seeking a Unique Path<br />Listening deeply enables you to hear what draws you—your intuition<br />You may be led to music, color, prayer, other traditions, books, movies, something that resonates with your spirit<br />You’ll feel love, quiet, okayness, a sense of connection<br />This doesn’t mean you’re leaving your tradition—your roots are getting deeper<br />
  13. 13. Others May Misunderstand<br />The hardest thing about participating in a nontraditional approach is that others may worry<br />Remember what you share.<br />Speak to what you hope to find.<br />Chances are they will be able to grasp the sense of spirit’s leading—and if not, know that your first task is to listen.<br />
  14. 14. If Your Tradition Has Wounded You<br />Sometimes we are hurt by people in traditions we used to be a part of<br />Or we feel judged or rejected by those in a particular tradition<br />Know you’re not alone<br />Know that your spiritual path is your own<br />Turn to God in prayer for comfort and healing<br />Let God show you how to forgive and find your way<br />Be gentle with yourself<br />Find someone who supports your spiritual growth<br />
  15. 15. Discerning New Leadings <br />You may feel drawn to something new. How can you tell whether it’s a prompting from God?<br />Pray about it.<br />Is it consistent with what is found in your sacred texts?<br />What do your community members—the ones who understand your heart—think about what you feel led to do?<br />Give yourself time and space to listen deeply and well. If the answer isn’t coming into focus and you feel unsettled, talk about it with your pastor or spiritual director.<br />
  16. 16. Spiritual Practices To Try<br />Contemplation<br />Centering Prayer<br />Tonglen (breath meditation)<br />Daily Examination of Consciousness<br />Zazen (sitting meditation)<br />
  17. 17. Questions for Reflection<br />How do I feel about my relationship with God right now?<br />Have I added at least one new spiritual practice to my life in the last year?<br />Do I have a fresh sense of God’s leading in my life?<br />What can I do to deepen my relationship with God?<br />Do I have wounds that need to heal so I can forgive and move forward?<br />
  18. 18. Part III: Traditions and Practices<br />When we meet others from different faith traditions, we may experience a rainbow of emotions. Perhaps we’re curious; maybe suspicious. We could be completely comfortable or very uncomfortable. Learning the basics of different traditions can help us reach out with some understanding.<br />
  19. 19. Christian<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder: Jesus of Nazareth, considered by followers to be the son of God<br />Special traditions: Although this varies widely among denominations, traditions include the Eucharist, baptism, and anointing as part of the Sacrament of the Sick.<br />Sacred text: The Bible<br />
  20. 20. Jewish<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder:G_d, through Abraham<br />Special traditions: Sabbath is from sundown Friday night to sunset on Saturday; lighting of Shabbas candles, attending synagogue, study of Torah, prayers, dietary laws<br />Sacred text: The Torah<br />
  21. 21. Buddhism<br />Non-theistic tradition<br />Founder: Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama, ~ 563 BCE)<br />Special traditions: Detailed study of existence, related to cause and effect (karma). All suffering caused by unvirtuous actions of body, speech, and mind; happiness caused by virtuous action. Meditation, presence, ethical treatment of all beings.<br />Sacred texts: Four Noble Truths, the Eight-Fold Noble Path<br />
  22. 22. NativeSpirituality<br />Nature traditions, varied<br />Founder: Mother Earth/Creator/ Life Force<br />Special traditions: A belief in the interconnectedness of all natural things, all life forms. Ceremony and ritual involve elders or shamans who have wisdom and gifts. Community is important for spiritual and cultural life.<br />Sacred text: Stories, ceremony, oral traditions<br />
  23. 23. Muslim<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder: God through Muhammed (peace be upon him)<br />Special traditions: Basic creed: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is His messenger.” Prayers five times a day, pilgrimage to the holy land, fasting for Ramadan.<br />Sacred text: The Koran (Qu’ran)<br />
  24. 24. Hindu<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder: God, or Brahman<br />Special traditions: From Persia beginning in 1700 BCE; Brahman is a personal, loving God who manifests in different ways—there are many faces of God. Meditation and personal practice are valued more than community. Believe all religion is one: “Truth is one; paths are many.” Acceptance and harmony are esteemed.<br />Sacred texts: The Vedas, Upanishads, Gita<br />
  25. 25. Baha’i<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder: Baha’u’llah, 1844<br />Special traditions: Unity and harmony with God is a core philosophy; belief in the value of life and equality leads to goodness for all. Religion and science are inseparable. Belief that each person finds the truth him- or herself. No priesthood or sacraments; fasting the first three weeks of March from sunrise to sunset.<br />Sacred text: The Kitab-i-aqdas<br />
  26. 26. Sikh<br />Monotheistic tradition<br />Founder: Guru Nanak, 14th century<br />Special traditions: God’s name is “Truth Eternal.” Humanity through the cycle of rebirth becomes an ever-improving vehicle for God’s grace. Salvation is liberation from rebirth; values include truth, contentment, compassion, patience, and humble service. Rituals for prayer, meditation, bathing.<br />Sacred text: Guru Granth Sahib<br />
  27. 27. Taoism<br />Polytheistic tradition<br />Founder: Lao-Tzu, around 570 BCE<br />Special traditions: The Tao is the eternal “way,” honoring nature, allowing the universe to unfold, humans are good by blinded by their need to “do.” Hold in heart the three treasures: Love, frugality, and non-ambition.<br />Sacred text: Tao TeChing<br />
  28. 28. Wiccan<br />Polytheistic or neo-pagan tradition<br />Founder: May have European Celtic influences; no clear founder<br />Special traditions: Earth-honoring tradition that is very diverse in practice; use of magic; emphasis on the divine feminine<br />Sacred texts: Oral traditions, stories, songs, crafts<br />
  29. 29. Questions for Reflection <br />Have I met others who participate in any of these traditions?<br />Which traditions am I most drawn to?<br />Which traditions seem far from what I practice?<br />What question would I like to explore with a person who practices a tradition different from my own?<br />
  30. 30. Resources<br />Joseph, Judith C. A Chaplain’s Companion.<br />Sacred Texts:<br />Daily Examination of Consciousness (St. Ignatius of Loyola):<br />Centering Prayer and other contemplative practices:<br />
  31. 31. About the author<br />Katherine Murray is a writer and spiritual director, with a degree in pastoral care and counseling from Earlham School of Religion. A life-long student of western and eastern spiritual traditions, Katherine is a contemplative person who knows first-hand how helpful loving conversation can be as we seek a deeper spiritual understanding of our experiences. Katherine has served as a chaplain with St. Vincent’s Hospitals in Indianapolis and currently offers spiritual direction to individuals and families. <br />Katherine Murray, M.Div<br />Spiritual Director<br /><br />317-985-5070<br />Thank you! And peace <br />