Twelve assumptions on the spiritual life
Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 12:50PM
Robert Gallagher

1. We all have a spiritual life.

2. It is a significant act of spiritual growth when we accept responsibility for our spiritual life.

3. A healthy spiritual life assumes engagement, rather than escape; an interest in the life of the world instead of spiritual sentimentality or being caught up in illusions.

4. We are seeking a spiritual practice with roots in ancient ways and useful in modern life.

5. We need a spirituality that is both solid and resilient.

6. Our spiritual life serves us best when we understand that it is to evolve over time. What serves us when we are 11 differs from when we are 18 and still again from when we are 35 or 60. A fertile evolution unfolds out of forms of spiritual life that are complex, rich, and paradoxical. They continue to grow as we increase our self-awareness, insight, and in response to changing circumstances.

7. It requires efficiency if it is to serve modern daily life.

8. It requires attention and time if it is to serve modern daily life.

9. Our spiritual life and discipline is to be based on an integrated system, a pattern, rather than a series of random practices. We are to live our spiritual life by Rule, not rules.

10. It is possible for the average church member to become competent and proficient in spiritual practices.

11. We must decide to base our spiritual life on persistence, courage, and competence, rather than on feelings—whether we feel like praying or not. A useful and faithful spiritual life requires critical reasoning and intelligences. We need to intentionally turn away from spiritual fads and fast food.

12.The parish church’s primary task is the spiritual formation of its people. 

Pages 13 & 14,  in In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today’s Christian Life, Michelle Heyne, Ascension Press, 2011.

Pages 6 & 7 in In Your Holy Spirit: Shaping the Parish Through Spiritual Practices, Robert A. Gallagher 2011, Ascension Press. 


Process to facilitate conversation
1) Provide an 8 1/2 x 11 handout of the twelve assumptions. Also. Have the assumptions on sheets of newsprint in front of the group.
2) Ask each person to mark on the handout
-The three items that most strongly draw me or touch my heart -- place a D
-The three that feel most challenging or around which I have questions -- place a  C or ?
3) Gather the results in front of the group. have people come forward and place appropriate marks on the newsprint.
4) Invite the group into conversation. For example:
-Regardless of the size of the group it will usually help participation if you first have people talk in groups of 3 or 4 for about 5 minutes. Then in the larger group. 
-If the whole group is very large, and space allows, it may be productive to have groups of 10 - 15 after the initial 5 minutes in 3s and 4s.


rag+ and Michelle Heyne 


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