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Stages of Faith


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In A Search for What Makes Sense/Finding Faith, I outlined four stages of faith development. I tried to synthesize the major theorists on moral, intellectual, and faith development into a simple but comprehensive schema: simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and humility/harmony. These are the powerpoints to the talks I give on the subject. Someday I'd like to put this presentation into a dvd format for group use. We'll see....

Published in: Spiritual, Technology
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Stages of Faith

  1. 1. making disciples: stages of faith development
  2. 5. four stages of faith development
  3. 6. Stage 1 Simplicity
  4. 7. Stage 1 Simplicity You’re either for us or against us. It’s all or nothing.
  5. 8. Stage 1 Simplicity Focus : Right or wrong? Good or bad? Motive : Pleasing authority figures, being an insider “us” Perception : Dualistic
  6. 9. Stage 1 Beliefs -everything is known or knowable; there are easy answers to every question -good authorities/us are the ones who know the right answers -the bad guys/them are wrong
  7. 10. Stage 1 Authorities Godlike, God’s representatives, they know and give answers
  8. 11. Stage 1 Simplicity Life is a war.
  9. 12. Stage 1 Identity: In my leader or group. Relationships: Dependent or co-dependent
  10. 13. Stage 1 Simplicity God is … The Ultimate Authority Figure or Ultimate Friend
  11. 14. Stage 1 Simplicity STRENGTHS: highly committed, willing to sacrifice and suffer. WEAKNESSES: Also willing to kill or inflict suffering. Arrogant, simplistic, combative, judgmental, intolerant
  12. 15. Stage 1 Simplicity
  13. 16. Stage 2 Complexity
  14. 17. Stage 2 Complexity There’s more than one way to do things.
  15. 18. Stage 2 Complexity Focus : Effective or ineffective? Technique, winning, success Motive : Reach goals, being effective Perception : Pragmatic
  16. 19. Stage 2 Beliefs: -anything is doable -there are many ways to reach the goal -authorities/us are the ones who know how to do it -the bad guys don’t do the right stuff
  17. 20. Stage 2 Authorities Coaches. They help you grow and succeed with know-how.
  18. 21. Stage 2 Complexity Life is a game. Learn the rules. Play to win.
  19. 22. Stage 2 Complexity Identity: My cause or achievement. Relationships: Increasingly independent.
  20. 23. Stage 2 Complexity God is … The Ultimate Guide or Coach
  21. 24. Stage 2 Complexity STRENGTHS: Enthusiasm, idealism, action WEAKNESSES: Superficial, naïve, overly pragmatic
  22. 25. Stage 2 Complexity
  23. 26. Stage 3 Perplexity
  24. 27. Stage 3 Perplexity Everyone has an opinion. Who knows who is right?
  25. 28. Stage 3 Perplexity Focus : Honest or dishonest? Authentic or inauthentic? Motive : Being honest or authentic Perception : Relativistic, critical
  26. 29. Stage 3 Beliefs -little/nothing is known or knowable; everybody has an opinion -good people are honest about their questions
  27. 30. Stage 3 Authorities are ... Controllers The Enemy Trying to impose easy answers on the naïve Trying to use the naive
  28. 31. Stage 3 Perplexity Life is … a joke mystery or search
  29. 32. Stage 3 Identity: In solitude, or among a small band of similarly alienated friends Relationships: Counter-dependent
  30. 33. Stage 3 Perplexity God is … mythic authority I’ve outgrown mysterious reality I’m seeking or opiate of the pathetic masses
  31. 34. Stage 3 Perplexity STRENGTHS: depth, honesty, sensitivity to suffering, perhaps ironic humor WEAKNESSES: cynical, uncommitted, withdrawn, critical, depressed, elitist
  32. 35. Stage 3 Perplexity
  33. 36. Stage 4 Humility
  34. 37. Stage 4 Humility Seek first God’s kingdom … love God, love neighbors … in essentials unity … focus on a few grand essentials
  35. 38. Stage 4 Humility Focus: Wise or unwise? Fulfilling potential Motive: Serve, contribute, make a difference Perception: Integrated, synthesizing, sympathetic
  36. 39. Stage 4 Beliefs -some things are known, many are mysteries; life is a quest -there is no “them”
  37. 40. Stage 4 Authorities people like me imperfect sometimes doing their best, sometimes dishonest, sometimes sincerely misguided
  38. 41. Stage 4 Life is ... What you make it (with God’s help)
  39. 42. Stage 4 Identity: In mutual relationships Relationships: Interdependent
  40. 43. Stage 4 God is ... Knowable in part, yet mysterious, present yet transcendent, just yet merciful (able to hold truths in tension -- “paradoxy”)
  41. 44. Stage 4 Humility STRENGTHS: May exhibit strengths of previous stages, plus stability, endurance, wisdom WEAKNESSES: May display weaknesses of earlier stages
  42. 45. Stage 4 Humility
  43. 46. Stage 1 Simplicity
  44. 47. Stage 2 Complexity
  45. 48. Stage 3 Perplexity
  46. 49. Stage 4 Humility
  47. 50. How do we lead multi-stage churches?
  48. 57. An observation: Cults and “bad faith” or “toxic” religion can be seen as groups which require people to revert to a Stage 1 status and stay there. Stage 1 is easier for the leaders and followers … in a way.
  49. 58. An observation: Whole denominations or parachurch organizations seem to specialize in certain stages, and fail people in other stages.
  50. 59. An observation: Leaders seldom lead people in a stage beyond their own.
  51. 60. An observation: Stage 3 is tough on everybody -- leaders and followers.
  52. 61. An observation: Jesus models working with people in each stage, and always brings them farther on the journey.
  53. 62. A question: How do we minister to people with such contrary expectations, needs, issues, and desires? A direction: Explore Jesus as teacher … not just in content, but also in method.
  54. 63. An important reminder Remember that you are a person in process too. Pastors are allowed to be ... Growing Christians.
  55. 64. An important reminder You don’t stop being a disciple when you become a pastor.
  56. 65. disciple Dis*ci"ple, n. [OE. disciple, deciple, OF. disciple, fr. L. discipulus, fr. discere to learn (akin to docere to teach; see Docile) + prob. a root meaning to turn or drive, as in L. pellere to drive (see Pulse).] One who receives instruction from another; a scholar; a learner; especially, a follower who has learned to believe in the truth of the doctrine of his teacher; an adherent in doctrine; as, the disciples of Plato; the disciples of our Savior
  57. 66. We need a new “methodism.”
  58. 67. Practical considerations Integrating … regularity with intensity community with solitude contemplation (finding God in normalcy) and charisma (finding God beyond normalcy)
  59. 69. Lectio = reading Ruminatio = rumination, chewing Meditatio = meditation Contemplatio = contemplation Oratio = oration, spoken/communicated prayer