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Perspective

Perspective. The human and the spiritual together Spirituality is an inherent part of our human journey— not to see spirituality as “other worldly” or as “escaping” our humanness The self and God together, interrelated

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Perspective

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  1. Perspective • The human and the spiritual together • Spirituality is an inherent part of our human journey—not to see spirituality as “other worldly” or as “escaping” our humanness • The self and God together, interrelated • My humanbeing with God as a spirituality for the second half of life

  2. FiveParts • Adulthood and Spirituality • Midlife Challenges • Ways of Being • Adult Imaging of God • The Imago Dei

  3. I. Adulthood and Spirituality

  4. What does it mean to be an adult? Two essential hallmarks: integrity and mutuality • A mature adult is integral (itsownwhole). • This whole relates in consideredmutuality to the other.

  5. Integrity and Mutuality • Integrity and consideredmutuality always gotogether. (If I can be fully me, then the other can be fully other.) • Integrity and consideredmutuality define what it means to be fullyhuman. • Caution: we all have unfinished pieces and shortcomings. Integrity and relating in consideredmutuality need not be perfect, only “good enough.”

  6. A self that is integral • Has grown up, can stand on its own, is self-possessed. • Can own all of its “pieces,” the good and the bad, the welcome and the unwelcome. • Has its locusofvaluinginside and not with significant others outside. • Is its own cohesive, felt-from-within, self-authoring whole.

  7. What is considered mutuality? • Relating to whomever or whatever is other in a way that respects that other’s difference, individuality, and boundaries • Genuine concern for the unique character, particular history, and special needs of the other.

  8. So, considered mutuality… • findstheuniquewholenessoftheother • relates to an unique actual other, “this” other person, institution, or aspect of the environment. • two distinctive features of relating: - includes the culture, context, and circumstances of the other; - senses the nature or purpose or spirit of the other

  9. So, considered mutuality… 2. isloveandcarefortheother • “Becoming accomplished in the mutuality of love is the indispensable key to becoming human.” • And what is love? “Love is the thoughtful and deliberate practice of attending to the needs, concerns, and well-being of others.” • All of us need this kind of love that flows from integrity and consideredmutuality.

  10. So, considered mutuality… 3. isjusticefortheother. • Impels us to respond to the other in ways that are just. Often, this justice is framed in terms of the rights of the other or of equality under the law. • But if we are all equal, we are also all quite unique. Paying attention to the “inner” of the other is also part of justice. “A great deal of our integrity relies on how well we can listen to others.” Empathy and justice go together.

  11. Why talk about being an adult? • If we are mature adults, the human and the spiritual actually do go together. To be an adult is to be a spiritual person. • A spirituality groundedinthefullnessofthehuman is about wholeness and considered mutuality. • A fully human and fully embodied spirituality is always about integrity and respect, lovingcare, and justice for the other.

  12. Important Characteristics of Being an Adult As part of integrity and consideredmutuality, adults have: 1) their own voice 2) empathy for self and other 2) intimacy with the other 4) dialogue with the other

  13. Voice • From our integrity, from the wholeness of our embodied, experienced selves. • There are times we need to say (verbally or symbolically) who we are and what we attest to. • To have a voice is to have a self, and not to have a voice is not to be in adult relationship with the other. • Not to listen to the other’s voice is to withhold respect, loving care, and justice.

  14. Empathy • Self-empathy is feltintegrity, owning all the “pieces” of the self. To know and feel what we are feeling lets us be whole. • Empathy for the other—being “in the inner world of the other as if it were my own” • At the heart of integrity and of consideredmutuality • Makes intimacy possible

  15. Intimacy Welcoming the feeling and depth of the other into the feeling and depth of the self Without it, and the empathy that goes with it, we cannot know the “inner” of the other. “Crucial to a mature sense of mutuality is an appreciation of the wholeness of the other person, with a special awareness of the other’s subjective experience.” (Judith Jordan)

  16. Dialogue • Happens when voice, empathy, and intimacy come together • Wholeness of the self engaging the wholeness of the other, in respect, lovingcare, and justice. • Without knowing the “inner” of the other: • change and transformation do not occur, and • integrity and consideredmutuality of both parties is compromised. • Adults dialogue (voice, empathy, intimacy).

  17. ExamplesinAdultReligion • Adultprayer • Is there a way of praying that is adult? • Adultchurch • Is there a way of being church that honors and fosters a community of adults?

  18. AdultPrayer? • Allowing my whole embodied voice, coming from my feeling and the “inner” of myself, to be in conversation with the living God. • Listening for God’svoice to touch me in my feeling and depth, my “inner.” • Allowing the empathyof the living God to dwell within the “inner” of my self. • Prayer as a dialogue of voice, of mutual empathy, and of intimacy.

  19. AdultChurch? • A “place” where one can have a voice that is able to speak and be listened to • A “place” of mutual empathy and shared pastoral care • A “place” of intimacy, where the feeling and depth of the self and of the other are able to be honored • A “place” where dialogue is an official language, allowing religious experience to be shared and God’s voice of challenge and transformation to emerge and be heard

  20. Interlude • Can you talk very briefly (2-3 minutes) with one or two people around you? • Do the human and the spiritual go together? • Does any part of this understanding of integrity and consideredmutuality make sense for being an adult and a fully spiritual person? • Do you think voice, empathy, intimacy, and dialogue go together in adulthood and in an adult spirituality, religious or not?

  21. II. Midlife Challenges

  22. Midlife Age thirty-five or forty, and beyond: • A transition (easy or hard), a crisis for some and a liberation for others. • The major life transition between the first and second half of life; the midpoint between birth and death. • Often there is liminality, a “state of disorientation” as goals, identifications, values, and sense of self are in flux.

  23. MidlifeandSpirituality • “But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning—for what was great in the morning will be little in the evening…” (Jung) • The prizes for the first half of life are for “achievement,” not for “personality.” (Jung) • “Among all my patients in the second half of life—that is to say, over thirty five—there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlookon life.” (Jung)

  24. Four Challenges at Midlife(and a call to deeper spirituality?) 1. TheBody 2. TheDream 3. Evil 4. Death

  25. The Body At Midlife • May not be the “obedient servant” as before • Perhaps less stamina, the eyes less sharp, libido less strong, bones less dense, fat cells more autonomous, etc. • Perhaps feeling less attractive • Perhaps we have a major illness or loss or disability, or perhaps those we are close to experience these.

  26. The Body At Midlife MidlifeQuestion: Can I accept my body as it is now? Can I be my aging body? Am I more comfortable in my body now? SpiritualityQuestion: How do I embody my spirituality now? Is there something God is calling me to embody in my life now?

  27. The Dream At Midlife • As a young adult: what I will be as I become my own person • Usually about “love and work” • Where is thedream now? Did it bring what I hoped it would? Could I even live it out? • Am I disillusioned or depressed? • Is family life or marriage changing? • Is work and its meaning changing

  28. The Dream At Midlife MidlifeQuestion: Do I have a dream at this point in my life? If not, is there someone who can help me find it? Can the dream give me new life and draw me forward? SpiritualityQuestion: Is there something calling me now, perhaps something important in a way that is new or different? Is my faith part of the dream?

  29. Evil At Midlife • Evilintheworld and the evilintheself are not so easily ignored now. • In what ways do I need to stand against violence, hatred, and injustice? • If I made a list of things I can’t stand in other people, could it be that the list is also in me? • Can I say: “There but for the grace of God go I”?

  30. Evil At Midlife MidlifeQuestion: Can I accept the reality of evil in the world (violence and injustice) and in myself (injustices, vices, or addictions)? SpiritualityQuestion: Is there a way for “natural evil to be swallowed up in supernatural good?”

  31. Death At Midlife • Easily becomes a personal reality: “I am going to die.” • Death as culmination raises the question: “What is the meaning of my life?” • If it is mydeath, if no one can die for me, does that mean it is mylife, no one can live for me? • What goes into my understanding of death now? Is it loss, transition, annihilation, culmination, transformation, celebration, or what?

  32. Death At Midlife MidlifeQuestion: Can I accept the reality of death? What does it mean if I do that? What does it mean if I don’t? SpiritualityQuestion: What meaning can I now make of death and of the Paschal Mystery (the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus)?

  33. Interlude • Can you talk very briefly (2-3 minutes) with one or two people around you? • Is (or was) your experience of midlife more like a transition, more like a crisis, more like a liberation, or what? • Could coming to terms with thebody, thedream, evil, and death open me to a spirituality of compassion?

  34. III. Ways of Being in the Second Half of Life

  35. SecondHalfofLifeChoices • Many dialectical choices: waysofbeing that are very human and very religious • Jesus talked about some of these choices as waysofbeing • Three (of a number) of ways of being

  36. Being Fearful vs.Having Trust and Courage • Beingfearful: issues of health, physical harm, safety, financial concerns, concerns for family, wars, political unrest, etc. • Jesus talked about fear, and he kept talking about havingtrust and courage. • “Trust in God.” “Do not be afraid.”

  37. Being Judgmental vs.Being Forgiving • Beingjudgmental: all the things that are not the way they should be, the ways I have been violated, disrespected, etc. • Jesus talked about beingjudgmental and beingforgiving. • “Judge not that you be not judged.” “Forgive your neighbor, not seven times but seventy times seven.”

  38. Being Entitled vs.Being of Service • Beingentitled: all the things that should be mine, all the things I have worked so hard for, all that I deserve for what I have done, etc. • Jesus talked about beingentitled and about beingofservice. • “Do not take the first place.” “I came not to be served but to serve.” “The last shall be first.” The washing of the feet at the Last Supper.

  39. Interlude • Can you talk very briefly (2-3 minutes) with one or two people around you? • Why are beingfearful, beingjudgmental, and beingentitled so seductive in the second half of life? Is one of these or some other my favorite? • What helps me to go forward with trust, courage, forgiveness, and in service to others?

  40. IV. Adult Imaging of God in the Second Half of Life

  41. Imaging God • Develops as we ourselves develop and mature • In childhood and adolescence, while our imaging of reality is still developing, our imaging of God is usually childlike and adolescent. • In adulthood, as reasonably whole selves relating in considered mutuality, our imaging of God is atleastable to be adult as well.

  42. A “Superego God” • The God of childhood and adolescence. It has parent-like authority and a parent-like voice, and it is very interested in controlling how we should be and how we should act. • From the perspective of adulthood—it is an incomplete God, a God still forming, a God is which all the “pieces” have not quite come together.

  43. A “Living God” • The God of adulthood is a God of mutuality. We we can relate to this integral God out of our own integrity. A God of transformingmutuality in an adult relationship with us. • A complete God, a God of adult imaging, a God fully formed. • Imaging this “Living God” is best described by the saints and the mystics.

  44. Imaging the “Superego God” SupremeBeing—all-powerful, at a great distance from us, and yet all-seeing. GodofLaw—to obey the law is to be OK with God; we are guilty when we fail. God loves us when we are good and punishes us when we are bad. God of Belief—to have the right belief is to be right with God. God of Control—most of the things I really want to do are not allowed. God of the Group—church is the “place” where we worship the Supreme Being, the God of Law, the God of Belief, and the God of Control.

  45. Imaging the “Living God” • A transformation of the ways we image the SuperegoGod of childhood and adolescence. • We personallyexperience rather than knowabout this God. • An experienceofsalvation rather than its promise. • Close and intimate rather than distant. • Not interested in control but in our growth and flourishing as wholeadults who relate to creation in consideredmutuality.

  46. A “Living God” is… 1. a GodasThou • Transformation of the SupremeBeing • An intimate, personalrelationship: “What God asks is a living relationship, an ‛I am,’ an ‛I am who is,’ an ‛I am with you.’ What God wants is an answering ‛I am’ too, one that says, ‛Here I am too. I am with you.’” (Ann Ulanov) • “You are closer to me than I am to myself.” (Saint Augustine)

  47. A “Living God” is… 2. a GodofLove • Transformation of the GodofLaw • God of Unconditional Acceptance. Is there anything that can make God not love us? • God of Conscience and Personal Responsibility—respecting the “inner.” • In mutual indwelling with us, and we experience a synergy (or shared energy), an empowerment in God which makes us even more our own integral process.

  48. A “Living God” is… 3. a GodofMystery • Transformation of the GodofBelief • We dwell in the GodofMystery and the GodofMystery dwells in us. “In my childhood, your love was there waiting for me; As I grew up, it grew with me; And now it is like a great chasm whose depths are past sounding.” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux)

  49. A “Living God” is… 4. a GodofFreedom • Transformation of the GodofControl • Struggle for freedom from God is transformed into a freedom in God. • We surrender to a God who lets us be free, and our realization of the freedom comes from the surrendering. “Love God and do what you will.” (St. Augustine)

  50. A “Living God” is… 5. a Godof Community • Transformation of the GodoftheGroup • Church is the “place” where we celebrate GodasThou, the GodofLove, the GodofMystery, and the GodofFreedom • Deeply enlivening experience; we want to give back what we receive • Deepens integrity, mutual love, mutual caring, mutual respect, and justice—all reaching across boundaries.

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