Spirituality

Our spiritual journey leads us to consider big questions about God, meaning,  our connectedness to others, and ethical decision making.  How does one's worldview contribute to one's understanding of these questions?  What spiritual practices contribute to one's capacity for mindfulness, attention, and intention?  What role does religion play in our culture?

“We are neither the supreme nor the most powerful. . . the world has a mysterious order of its own which infinitely transcends us and which we should respect.”   (Havel, 1996)

Since I was young I experienced creation with a deep sense of inter-connectedness and responsibility.  I stand in awe of human life, the earth’s beauty, and the whimsy of animals and their interaction.  Because we share a creator, I believe each person has dignity, value, and respectability. Vaclav Havel perhaps more than any other echoed what I believe about being responsible given our inter-connectedness, having cognizance that our actions have consequences.  In those moments where I still my mind long enough – I experience a mystery and purpose related to life and living responsibly with respect to others.  There are many definitions and descriptors of spirituality.  I appreciate Tisdell’s (2003):  “Spirituality is more personal belief and experience of a divine spirit or higher purpose, about how we construct meaning, and what we individually and communally experience and attend to and honor as the sacred in our lives” (p. 29).    Some people use spirituality as a synonym for religious beliefs, I do not although certainly for those of us raised in a religious tradition these may be interrelated.   I see spirituality as a broader more encompassing term providing a language for people to describe their being and lived experiences.   Conversations about spirituality are vital and imperative in the way these conversations provide a space for dialogue, understanding, collective responsibility, and action.  

Full disclosure:  I am a Christian and my hermeneutic and worldview are influenced by my theological commitments and beliefs.  Saying this I recognize that sometimes the label Christian carries a great deal of baggage.  I want to fully see another’s face and the world through their eyes – this is my exploratory goal.  In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh (1995):  “Understanding is the most important component for transformation.  If we talk to each other, if we organize a dialogue, it is because we believe there is a possibility that we can understand the other person better” (p. 83). 

References

Havel, V. (1996).  Retrieved from http://www.vaclavhavel.cz/index.php?sec=3&id=1&kat=1&from=93

Nh* ât, H. a. (1995). Living Buddha, living Christ. New York: Riverhead Books.

Tisdell, E. J. (2003). Exploring spirituality and culture in adult and higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Book:  The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus

Crafting Your Life Into a Work of Art presents the byline and focus of Erwin McManus' book addressing humans as created beings.  His starting point, a theological commitment to God as creator, resonates with my fascination with creativity specifically that people create, are creative, and must express themselves.  Our creativity contributes to wildly various forms and genres.  And yet - somehow along the way some lose a sense of their creativity.  This loss manifests itself through expressions like "I'm not creative" or "I wish I were creative like that" or "I don't have a creative bone in my body."  Read more.

Reflections on Faith:   A Leader's Orientation Towards Responsibility

Beyond technical competency and business acumen, leadership increasingly faces questions of responsibility.  One of the many things I am curious about is why people are responsible, where responsibility leads to decisions and action beyond a profit motive to consider people, planet and consequence of actions.  This curiosity led to an exploration of faith - where faith is not a synonym for religious belief, but as one’s definition of and orientation towards reality guiding one’s sense of purpose, responsibility, and action.  Read more.

Now What: Living a Called Life Undergraduate Commencement Speech

The speech is entitled Now What:  Living a Called Life.  Dr. Green's  Introduction begins at 15:42 and the speech begins at 18:19 through 35:38.  Listen

Excerpt:

Now What: Living a Called Now what? Indeed, this is an important question filling some with certainty and others with perhaps more questions than answers. Why is this so? Part of the Now What question is associated with this idea of Commencement which has a two-fold meaning. On the one hand – it is a graduation celebration filled with hugs, photos, tears, and high fives and on the other hand, there’s this notion of commencing, to start or to begin. Commencement, then, represents a transitional moment where we each must determine what our next course of action is once the celebration is over.

A Calling Reimagined - Johnson University Homecoming February 25, 2016

Panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Linda Whitmer (Dean School of Intercultural Studies at JU).  Panel Participants:  Dr. Alicia Crumpton (PhD program director, JU); Dave Hileman, Waypoint Church Planters), Dr. Gary David Stratton (Dean School of Arts & Sciences at JU); Sherra Robinson (Director, Royal Youth).  Topics explored included:  What does it mean to live a called life, Tips for following one's call, the idea of strategic vocations.    Introduction begins at Session 5 7:58.  Watch and Listen