How Does Spiritual Formation Fit Other Disciplines and Areas of Study?

Theology Thursday
This is blog-sized Part Two of a Spiritual Formation paper I wrote for class. You can find Part One last week.
Chihuly sculpture, Children's Museum, Indianapolis

Chihuly sculpture, Children’s Museum, Indianapolis

Because spiritual formation is a process, and a holistic one at that, there is no discipline or area of study it cannot impact or, I suspect, which cannot lead to greater spiritual formation if the Christian is open to it. Any human work is undergirded by a worldview, and interacting with those worldviews, whether sympathetic to a Christian one or not, can be spiritually forming. I immerse myself in well-told stories, for example. I don’t always agree with the perspective the story is written from, but when I get inside a story and, in effect, “bring Jesus with me,” I can both evaluate the worldview and also usually take away something that deepens my faith or gives me new ideas for approaching life in general and ministry in particular.

As regards disciplines which may be more overtly “Christian” in a Christian context, such as theology or, say, church history, these can become mere intellectual exercises or they can become spiritually forming exercises—forming the intellect and other areas of life. It’s easy for these studies to become dry and dutiful, but with prayer and some intentionality as well, they can become devotional.

2 thoughts on “How Does Spiritual Formation Fit Other Disciplines and Areas of Study?

  1. The “dry and dutiful” are sometimes the way God forms his people into what he wants – disciples who can endure lurid temptation but also times where no excitement beckons. The forty years in the wilderness for the liberated Israelite slaves were not routinely exciting (there was a lot of complaining and grumbling) but they served to shape the people that God needed to capture the Promised Land.

    • I agree. God can form us via the good, the bad, the ugly, AND the boring. He’s pretty good like that.

      Thanks for visiting here, and making yourself known. Come back again any time!

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