Tapestry of Faith: Spirit in Practice: An Adult Program for Developing A Regular Practice of the Spirit

Activity 4: The Mind And The Religious Journey

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Handout 2: Stages of Spiritual Growth. Familiarize yourself with the six stages of spiritual growth so that you will be comfortable presenting them. For more information, explore Unitarian Universalist minister Scotty McLennan's book Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up with Has Lost Its Meaning (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999).
  • Remember that you are not expected to be an expert in this field (unless you actually are!). Your primary role is to facilitate the conversation, not to have the answer to every question.
  • If you have more than one hour to present this workshop, review Alternate Activity 1 for ideas on how to expand this activity to 45 minutes in length.

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity with these or similar words:

In this activity we'll be using our minds to explore together, and the focus of our exploration will be the idea that the spiritual journey has something of a predictable course. We'll look at a road map, a model that describes the spiritual evolution of a person.

Distribute Handout 2: Stages of Spiritual Growth. Ask participants to consider the stages described in Handout 2 and think about which of those stages they may have experienced. They can also consider the role that their minds played in moving from stage to stage. For example, perhaps learning the truth about Santa Claus helped move some participants from the Magic stage to the Reality stage, or learning about world religions moved them from Dependence to Independence. Allow a few minutes for reflection on the handout.

Facilitate discussion with the whole group, considering these questions:

  • Did you see yourself in this model? If so, how?
  • How do you react to this and other models of human development?
  • In what ways can a model like this be helpful?
  • In what ways can a model like this be misleading?
  • Can you imagine any other model of spiritual growth stages that would make more sense to you? What is it, and why?

Including All Participants

You may wish to pass a cordless microphone during the discussion so that participants can hear one another better.