A working example of Fowler´s Stages of Faith

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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:02 pm » by Tertiusgaudens


Once I had a thread on James Fowler`s Stages of Faith (see post242024.html?hilit=fowler#p242024).

We want a little work with it explaining what happens, if different stages come together thus trying to understand each other - in my understanding a very difficult, if not impossible attempt.

We use Fowler`s explanation from here (http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/fowler.htm).

As example we suppose two types of people having different faith stages, for instance one hanging in Stage 2 and, let`s say, the other one being in Stage 5. It is important to say, that this is not a topic of right or wrong, but of seeing, how it works in case both people come together discussing their faith.

Fowler said to Stage 2:
Mythic-Literal faith is the stage in which the person begins to take on for him- or herself the stories, beliefs and observances that symbolize belonging to his or her community. Beliefs are appropriated with literal interpretations, as are moral rules and attitudes. Symbols are taken as one-dimensional and literal in meaning. In this stage the rise of concrete operations leads to the curbing and ordering of the previous stage's imaginative composing of the world. The episodic quality of Intuitive-Projective faith gives way to a more linear, narrative construction of coherence and meaning. Story becomes the major way of giving unity and value to experience. This is the faith stage of the school child (though we sometimes find the structures dominant in adolescents and in adults). Marked by increased accuracy in taking the perspective of other persons, those in Stage 2 compose a world based on reciprocal fairness and an immanent justice based on reciprocity. The actors in their cosmic stories are anthropomorphic. They can be affected deeply and powerfully by symbolic and dramatic materials and can describe in endlessly detailed narrative what has occurred. They do not, however, step back from the flow of stories to formulate reflective, conceptual meanings. For this stage the meaning is both carried and "trapped" in the narrative.

The new capacity or strength in this stage is the rise of narrative and the emergence of story, drama and myth as ways of finding and giving coherence to experience.

The limitations of literalness and an excessive reliance upon reciprocity as a principle for constructing an ultimate environment can result either in an overcontrolling, stilted perfectionism or "works righteousness" or in their opposite, an abasing sense of badness embraced because of mistreatment, neglect or the apparent disfavor of significant others.

A factor initiating transition to Stage 3 is the implicit clash or contradictions in stories that leads to reflection on meanings. The transition to formal operational thought makes such reflection possible and necessary. Previous literalism breaks down; new "cognitive conceit" (Elkind) leads to disillusionment with previous teachers and teachings. Conflicts between authoritative stories (Genesis on creation versus evolutionary theory) must be faced. The emergence of mutual interpersonal perspective taking ("I see you seeing me; I see me as you see me; I see you seeing me seeing you.") creates the need for a more personal relationship with the unifying power of the ultimate environment.


That is pretty good explained. So far, so good. Now consider Fowler`s insights in
Stage 5:
Conjunctive faith involves the integration into self and outlook of much that was suppressed or unrecognized in the interest of Stage 4's self-certainty and conscious cognitive and affective adaptation to reality. This stage develops a "second naivete'' (Ricoeur) in which symbolic power is reunited with conceptual meanings. Here there must also be a new reclaiming and reworking of one's past. There must be an opening to the voices of one's "deeper self." Importantly, this involves a critical recognition of one's social unconscious-the myths, ideal images and prejudices built deeply into the self-system by virtue of one's nurture within a particular social class, religious tradition, ethnic group or the like.

Unusual before mid-life, Stage 5 knows the sacrament of defeat and the reality of irrevocable commitments and acts. What the previous stage struggled to clarify, in terms of the boundaries of self and outlook, this stage now makes porous and permeable. Alive to paradox and the truth in apparent contradictions, this stage strives to unify opposites in mind and experience. It generates and maintains vulnerability to the strange truths of those who are "other." Ready for closeness to that which is different and threatening to self and outlook (including new depths of experience in spirituality and religious revelation), this stage's commitment to justice is freed from the confines of tribe, class, religious community or nation. And with the seriousness that can arise when life is more than half over, this stage is ready to spend and be spent for the cause of conserving and cultivating the possibility of others' generating identity and meaning.

The new strength of this stage comes in the rise of the ironic imagination-a capacity to see and be in one's or one's group's most powerful meanings, while simultaneously recognizing that they are relative, partial and inevitably distorting apprehensions of transcendent reality. Its danger lies in the direction of a paralyzing passivity or inaction, giving rise to complacency or cynical withdrawal, due to its paradoxical understanding of truth.

Stage 5 can appreciate symbols, myths and rituals (its own and others') because it has been grasped, in some measure, by the depth of reality to which they refer. It also sees the divisions of the human family vividly because it has been apprehended by the possibility (and imperative) of an inclusive community of being. But this stage remains divided. It lives and acts between an untransformed world and a transforming vision and loyalties. In some few cases this division yields to the call of the radical actualization that we call Stage 6.


So what do you think happens, if both types come together discussing? I tell you, nothing will change. Fowler`s stages are not simply achieved by will or insight - rather they are descriptions of possible processes regarding maturity. It is a process of time, ability and possibility in one`s personal life thus being always fragile and imperfect.

Maybe we can try listening each other and accept the ways maturity processes have gone and will go with us. Surely is Eliakim`s faith stage different from mine, but that does not mean we could not have love for each other, so to speak in an example. And similar is the case with all of us here at dtv.

I ask for gentle consideration...
Last edited by Tertiusgaudens on Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:15 pm » by Boondox681


some people's 'faith' has left them no room for understanding anyone else's
i'll repeat...
it's not the message you send...
it's how you send the message.
it does not matter if the message is 'good' or 'bad','wrong' or 'right'.
example...
adolph hitler.
remember,there is no 'right' or 'wrong'
it's all a matter of perspective from each individual.

peace
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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:19 pm » by Tertiusgaudens


I see what you mean...
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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:41 pm » by Boondox681


hey,tert...
i just wanted to let you know that i appreciate your time and effort,bro
critical thinking :flop:
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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:44 pm » by Tertiusgaudens


Boon,

that means a lot to me you said such things! That feels good...thank you!
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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:44 pm » by 99socks


This doesn't just happen on an individual level. There are entire communities and cultures that either get stuck or else progress through the stages....
http://www.thedailysheeple.com/obamas-doj-silent-as-new-black-panthers-leader-incites-violence-in-ferguson_082014








I can't speak about how much of the Constitution is in effect anymore... But thank God we still somewhat resemble a Republic and not a democracy!


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PostFri Mar 04, 2011 4:46 pm » by Tertiusgaudens


Definitely, sock...
Hope is the thing with feathers...
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