Here’s what the UUA’s Lifespan Faith Development Staff Group offered at the LREDA Fall Conference regarding the Goals and Elements of the Spiritual Development strand of Tapestry of Faith. The outcomes for this strand are reflected in the first and the seventh elements of the LFD Vision Statement:
- Know that they are lovable beings of infinite worth, imbued with powers of the soul, and obligated to use their gifts, talents, and potentials in the service of life, and
- Appreciate the value of spiritual practice as a means of deepening faith and integrating beliefs and values with everyday life.
The Goals include:
- To nurture a deepening spiritual life and spiritual centeredness
- To cultivate individual and communal spiritual practices
- To develop an alertness to the wonder and mystery of existence
- To feel a connection to a larger reality, and
- To experience the sacred through worship, ritual, wisdom of faith traditions, and spiritual disciplines.
The Elements are:
- Spiritual awareness and centeredness
- Spiritual practices/disciplines
- Spiritual wisdom of other faith traditions
- God, ultimate, transcendence
- Sense of (being part of) something larger
- Connection, with other people, nature, universe
- Wonder, awe, mystery
- Beauty, truth, love, joy, and trust in the midst of life’s suffering, brokenness, loss
- Willingness and ability to engage with issues of ambiguity, good and evil, sin, forgiveness, redemption, atonement
- Worship, rites, rituals, sacred texts.
I have to say that I love the religious “favor” of these Goals and Elements. As persons of faith (and I believe we are), we all need to be able to use words like sin, forgiveness, redemption, and atonement if we’re are going to make our faith intelligible to those who think we’re some sort of cult or New Age group.