Date of Award
Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Seeing: we might say that the whole action of spiritual growth is contained in this deceptively simple word. The overarching focus of our entire discussion in these pages will focus on the complexities of seeing better - of being more aware, of developing fuller consciousness, of growing spiritually. As I hope to demonstrate, this increase in vision - in spiritual growth - is a founding inheritance of the Judeo Christian paradigm, and as such, is essential to humanity's journey toward maturity, integrity, and connectedness - toward greater differentiated autonomy and toward greater integrated unity. In addition, the journey toward greater consciousness is the founding tenet of an overwhelming majority of psychological and anthropological theories that receive popular acclaim. As such, the question of increased consciousness, the evolution of vision, is an elementary and foundational facet of humanity's state that crosses the chasm between the Science orientation (those who choose to believe that what is to be accepted is that which can be proved) and the Faith orientation (those who choose to believe that all answers are held within sacred writings, traditions, and beliefs). Since evolving consciousness is a concept that supercedes anyone orientation, it is a transformative and transcendental human element. For this reason, I view the philosophical and spiritual history of humankind as the elaboration of an ever-more expansive awareness, an ever-more evolved consciousness, and an ever-more perfected vision, all within a wondrous and holy Creation where there is always something more to be seen. But, at the base of greater vision is growth. All growth is costly. I believe that humanity is the whole that unfolds, the sacred consciousness that strives ever further, and the motion of evolution that risks the pangs of growth. This work is a respectful challenge to the status quo in Spiritual Leadership, and consequently asks its readers to risk these very pangs.
Growth is an important concept to me. As a Christian educator and counselor, I have expended vast amounts of energy in the pursuit of the elucidation of the progression of human spiritual growth. I call myself an educator because I believe that I am called to disseminate this elucidation throughout the field of Spiritual Leadership in order to challenge Leaders toward greater usefulness, reception, and compass ion. I call myself a counselor because I believe that a powerful road to personal healing lies in the participation in, and cherishing of, compassionate and interpersonal relation ships. Consequently, I am writing this thesis in the hopes of raising a considered alternative to the traditional concepts of Spiritual Leadership, as it is presented in the Judeo-Christian conception: can we redefine the role of Spiritual Leaders in order to develop and accept a founding epistemology that transcends and unites views and cultures that have traditionally pitted us against one another? Can we redefine the role for Spiritual Leaders in order to set the basis for a Christian culture that is built upon concern for each individual, and not concern for the propagation of a traditional system? Through a consideration of both Science and Faith, the following pages will propose a constructivist-developmental framework for Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Leadership. This framework bases itself on the personal integration of meaning, on the tenets of experiential learning, and on the wisdom of Biblical teachings. It is my hope that through this elucidation, our very image of God will evolve into an image large enough to hold our collective challenges. It is also my hope that through investigation s such as these, the substance and essence of Spiritual Leadership will be redefined and will evolve into a compassionate and holy repository, powerful enough to represent this awesome God.
As we move through the chapters, two concepts will be continuously juxtaposed: the concepts of substance and essence. For the purposes of this work, I will use these terms to denote specific and limited definitions. By 'substance', I will refer to those elements of the framework that are based in investigation, elucidation, and human study. By 'essence', I will refer to those elements of the framework that are based in soulfulness, wisdom, and spiritual teaching. It is my belief that a combination of these two fields brings us closer to a full act of knowing - biased to neither the Science orientation nor the Faith orientation. In order to proceed to a truthful and innocent redefinition of Spiritual Leadership, I do not believe we can exonerate ourselves from the complexities and difficulties of intellectual and spiritual honesty. As such, substance and essence will be presented as two sides of the ' awareness' coin.
But awareness of what? What are the arguments presented in this thesis? There are two:
3) Human growth is an evolution of consciousness which gives rise to the personal levels of thought, affect, relationship, and spirituality. This ground is the founding element of meaning-constitutive consciousness. Evolution takes place through a process of emergence of ever-increasing forms of complexity within a person's internal equilibrium. This evolution is inherent in the Judeo-Christian inheritance and is described by the Pentateuchal narrative.
4) Spiritual Leaders humbly accompany clients through the process of Emergence by co-constructing with the client a Culture of Embeddedness. This Culture involves goal orientation, environment-creation, attitudinal alignment, and practical techniques. The Culture is created through an unwavering commitment of the Spiritual Leader to the person of the client and not through a staunch defense of the system within which the Spiritual Leader functions.
I will investigate the above arguments through a theologized psychology where the study of psychology is taken in its literal sense: studying psyche and studying logos. It is my firm belief that the evolution of psyche and the progression of logos are the seminal factors in an ' ever-progressive motion ' of the spirit. In asking about the difficult issues inherent in being human, our approach to psychology is a true scrutiny of the ability to more fully see.
Gedeon, Jean-Paul, "A Constructivist-Developmental Approach to Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Leadership" (2006). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5320.
McMaster University Library