Paul writes – I’ve been thinking more about the content of the recent Richard Rohr workshop.
Alan (Jamieson), while focusing on church-leavers in his paradigm-changing book A Churchless Faith, effectively describes something of the landscape and terrain of a journey toward God in conversation with James Fowlers “faith-stages.” (Incidentally, Paul Wilson has a good book review here).
Bit by bit on that journey of maturation, our responses to grace (in its many guises, e.g. questions, doubt, dissatisfaction, relational-breakdown, conflict, praxis etc) offer us opportunities for change and maturation – for deepening levels of relatedness to God, self and others.
Fowler sees there as being two movements – radical conversion and gradual maturation. Both are necessary ingredients of a single ‘dance’. He breaks maturation down into 6 stages, which Alan names as:
Interestingly the reasons why people leave churches tell us a lot about how churches could be church differently; about how churches can resource and help the maturation journey. As a corollary, the increased desire to re-connect with a richer, broader, deeper Christian tradition (often characterised by the descriptor “ancient-future”) is in part a desire to respond to nutritional needs that have not and are not being met within what has come to be accepted as the ‘normative’ ways of being church over the last 50-years (or more).
It has become apparent that many of us are suffering from ‘malnutrition’.