In Community, Alone, in Community: Towards an Understanding of Christian Faith for the Post-Enlightenment, Post-Evangelical, Post-1960s Revolution Generation
KeywordsChristian, faith-development, faith-modelling, community, isolation, dialogue, doubt
The Christian Creeds outline the central beliefs of Christianity, providing a universal statement of faith for Christians everywhere. This is an account of one perspective on the Creeds, which begins in a narrow Christian community, moves through isolation and solitude, and ends at the edges of a new community; a journey which edges towards the human goal of self-acceptance and understanding. The doctrines are often perceived as fact, but are there grounds for a more nuanced approach? Theologically, some insiders have developed new approaches to Christianity, while traditional Church theology maintains a stubborn outward attitude of non-compromise. Others who have attempted to develop a more existential approach have been often vilified and disowned by the Church. But is there a third way? One which encompasses neither theological technicality nor angry emotional rejection, but a gradual dawning, personal realisation that we are all moving from one type of community to another, and that the answers lie in doubt rather than certainty. This paper analyses internal and external dialogues the author has experienced, when moving from the confines of a small Evangelical Christian Church community, through solitude, to the tentative edges of a new multi-vocal community. Starting with an analysis of Fowler’s methodology as a tool to evaluate the faith narrative, the author will examine the multiplicity of voices that have informed her journey. She will stop on the way to challenge and encourage the young adult who has become an outsider, to acknowledge the voices of dissenters, to accept a different form of spiritual friendship, and to encounter an evolving community which accepts new voices of gender, doubt and radical interpretation. Finally, she will visit a new creed and ask whether, in the famous words of T. S. Eliot, ‘... the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time’.
Asher, K. G. (1995). T. S. Eliot and Ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bochen, C. M. (2000). Thomas Merton: Essential Writings. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.
Brueggemann, W. (1993). Texts Under Negotiation: the Bible and Postmodern Imagination. Minneapolis: fortress Press.
Coyle, A. (2011). Critical Responses to Faith Development Theory: A Useful Agenda for Change?. http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/25591/2/Faith%20Development%20Theory%20complete%20article.pdf [accessed 29.03.19].
Eliot, T. S. (1963). Collected Poems (1909-1962). London: Faber & Faber Ltd.
Erikson, E. (1980). Identity and the Life Cycle. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.
Fowler, J. W. ( 1995). Stages of Faith: The psychology of human development and the quest from meaning. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.
Fowler, J. W. (2000). Becoming Adult Becoming Christian: Adult Development and Christian Faith. San-Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Fowler, J. (2004). Faith Development at 30: Naming the challenges of faith in a new millennium. Religious Education, 99(4), 405-421.
Fowler, J. W. & Dell, M. L. (2006). Stages of Faith from Infancy Through Adolescence: Reflections on Three Decades of Faith Development Theory. In E. C. Roehlkepartain, P. E. King, L. Wagner & P. L. Benson (eds.), The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 34-45). Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Gold, J. M. & Rogers, J. (1995). Intimacy and Isolation: A Validation of Erikson’s Theory. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 35(1), 78-85.
Gordon, L. (2012). The Imperfect Life of T. S. Eliot. London: Hachette Digital.
Holloway, R. (1997). Dancing on the Edge: Faith in a Post-Christian Age. London: Fount.
Holloway, R. (2001). Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity? Edinburgh: Canongate.
Holloway, R. (2004). Looking in the Distance: the Human Search for Meaning. Edinburgh, New York, Melbourne: Canongate.
Holloway, R. (2012). Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt. Edinburgh, London: Canongate.
Jamieson, A. (2002). A Churchless Faith: Faith Journeys Beyond the Churches. London: SPCK.
Jamieson, A. (2009). Churchless Faith: Trajectories of Faith Beyond the Church from Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches to Post-Church Groups. International Review of Mission, 92(365), 217-226.
McDargh, J. (2001). Faith Development Theory and the Postmodern Problem of Foundations. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 77(3), 185-199.
Merton, T. (1961). New Seeds of Contemplation. Tunbridge Wells: Burns & Oates.
Merton, T. (1985). The Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious experience and Social Concerns, ed. William H. Shannon. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Merton, T. (1994). Witness to Freedom: Letters in times of Crisis, ed. William H. Shannon. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Niebuhr, H. R. ( 1960). Radical Monotheism and Western Culture with supplementary essays. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press.
Noddings, N. (, 2003). Caring: a feminine approach to ethics and moral education. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.
Orens, J. R. (2002). The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance. Anglican Theological Review, 84(4), 1053-1055.
Piaget, J. (2007). The Child’s Conception of the World. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Reid, B. E. (1996). Choosing the Better Part?: Women in the Gospel of Luke. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press.
Slee, N. (2003). Faith and Feminism: An Introduction to Christian feminist Theology. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
Soelle, D. ( 1995). Creative Disobedience. Cleveland Ohio: The Pilgrim Press.
Soelle, D. (1975). Revolutionary Patience. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Soelle, D. & Schotroff, L. (2002). Jesus of Nazareth. London: SPCK.
Smith, S. (1958). Not Waving but Drowning. Andre Deutsch.
Sowerby, E. (2019). Nel Noddings’ Caring: a critical analysis. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/29735599_Nel_Noddings%27_Caring_a_critical_analysis [Access: 8.03.19]
Tillich, P. (1949). The Shaking of the Foundations. London: Penguin.
How to Cite
Number of views and downloads: 1
Number of citations: 0