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Development of Faith & Spirituality

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on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of Development of Faith & Spirituality

Development of Faith & Spirituality
Leah Benson
Jason Gilbert
Becky Borowiak

Fowler's Theory of Faith Development
Sharon Daloz Parks’ Faith Development Theory
What Do We Mean? Basic Definitions for the purpose of this theory development
Buchko, K.J. (2004). Religious beliefs and practices of college women as compared to men. Journal of College
Student Development, 45, 89-98

Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F.M., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2009). Student development in college: Theory,
research, and practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Fowler, J.W. (1981). Stages of faith: The psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. New
York: HarperColins

Fowler, J. W., & Dell, M. L. (2006). Stages of faith from infancy through adolescence: Reflections on three
decades of faith development theory (pp. 34-45). In Roehlkepartain, E.C., Ebstyne King, P., Wagener, L., & Benson, P.L. The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Love, P.G. (2001). Spirituality and student development: Theoretical connections. In M.A. Jablonski (Ed.), The
implications of student spirituality for student affairs practice (pp. 7-16). New Directions for Student Services, No. 95. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Parks, S.D. (2000). Big questions, worthy dreams: Mentoring young adults in their search for meaning, purpose,
and faith. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Strange, C.C. (2001). Spiritual dimensions of graduate preparation in student affairs. In M.A. Jablonski (Ed.), The
implications of student spirituality for student affairs practice (pp. 57-67). New Directions for Student Services, No. 95. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Fowler's Theory of Faith Development
Fowler defines faith as “our way of finding coherence in and giving meaning to multiple forces and relations that make up our lives” (Fowler, 1981, p.4).
Faith is universal
Faith is unique

Based on 359 interviews (1972-1981)
31/2 - 84 years old
97.8% white
Men & Women evenly divided
45% Protestant
36.5% Catholic
Fowler's Stages of Faith Development
Pre-stage 1: Primal faith
Relationship with primary caretakers

Stage 1: Intuitive-projective faith
Images of God based upon stories, and

Stage 2: Mythic-literal faith
Accept narratives without question

Stage 3: Synthetic-conventional faith
Outside influences begin to play a role

Stage 4: Individuative-reflective faith

Stage 5: Conjunctive faith
More accepting of other faiths as well as
their own

Stage 6: Universalizing faith

Faith Development
Transition between stages
Neutral Zone
New beginnings

Life Span Development
"To identify a person’s stage or stage transition does not imply that his or her spiritual life is better, more faithful, or desirable than anyone else’s" (Fowler & Dell, 2006, p. 40)
Making such judgments is an abuse of the theory
Rather, it serves as a framework for understanding how individuals conceptualize God or a Higher Being, and the influence of God or the Higher Being in their lives

Sharon Daloz Parks’ Faith Development Theory
Parks (2000) defines faith as “The activity of seeking and discovering meaning in the most comprehensive dimensions of our experience” (p. 202).
Parks felt that “young adulthood” was missing from Fowler’s theory
3 Forms of faith development—Cognitive, Dependence, and Community

Parks Continued
Parks’ theory is based on Perry’s understanding of cognitive development, and Kegan’s and Gilligan’s writings on interpersonal development
Model is dynamic, multidimensional, interwoven—not stages!
Buchko (2004) found that women, more than men, felt closer relationships with “God” or spiritual advisors—thus Parks’ theory may apply more to women than men

Forms of Knowing
Knowledge from authorities

Unqualified relativism
Knowledge is relative

Probing commitment
Tentative commitments, future plans

Tested commitment
Secure commitments

Convictional commitment
Deep commitment through

Form of Dependence
Dependent/counterdependent—Truths from Authority figures are challenged-young adults want to explore other ways of thinking
Fragile inner dependence—the young adult balances personal views with those of others. Mentors needed for guidance
Confident inner dependence—Individuals receive encouragement, become confident in their beliefs and values
Individuals see value in others’ beliefs without feeling their views are challenged

Forms of Community
Conventional Community—Individuals are dependent on others to define themselves
Diffuse Community—Individuals begin to explore new ideas and form new relationships and communities
Mentoring Community—Community that recognizes and encourages young adults
Self-selected group—Adults seek out communities that share their beliefs
Open to the other—a community that values different perspectives

What Do We Mean? Basic Definitions for the purpose of this theory development

Faith: How one makes meaning of oneself, others, the world, and “god”
Faith Development: Structural aspects of how one makes meaning
Religion: Doctrines, practices, and beliefs that compose the content of how one makes meaning in an organized setting
Spirituality: Process of searching for meaning, wholeness, and purpose
This mainly applies to Western Based Religions; such as; Judaism, Christianity, etc…

Fowler’s Definition: Faith: How one makes meaning of life (ethos).
Parks (2000) defines faith as “The activity of seeking and discovering meaning in the most comprehensive dimensions of our experience” (p. 202).

Applications for Fowler’s Theory
• Focus on Counseling and Teaching
• Value for Therapists and Counselors; Provides a framework to understand clients’ ideas about faith and to develop therapeutic interventions in line with clients’ belief system, particularly for clients who are experiencing crises of faith.
• Understand role of spirituality in his or her own lives. Use Fowler’s Theory to encourage faith awareness and growth.

Applications for Park’s Theory
• Love (2001) Be Comfortable with your spirituality
• Parks saw Higher Education Institutions as Mentoring Communities
Assess already existing groups to see in what ways they can be encouraged to become mentoring communities.
Create mentoring communities and review current student groups as potential mentoring communities.
Be aware of and address the activities of communities where unreflective commitment is demanded
Example: Unhealthy aspects of pledging experience of Fraternities and Sororities

Implications for Student Affairs Professionals
Implications for Student Affairs Professionals
• Reflect on your own spiritual development.
Take a couple minutes to think about your own spiritual development;
How do you create meaning and purpose? How do you find direction in your life? What is the form of dependence that exists in your relationship? What are the types of communities you belong in?
• Examples where this developmental process can happen:
Staff Trainings
Using Staff Meetings Differently
Critical Reflection

Implications Cont.
• Recognize Spiritual aspects of everyday life and not just associate spirituality with religious practice.
Involvement in…
 Social
 Volunteer
 Leadership
 Community Service
…Could be a manifestation of their spiritual development and quest for meaning.
• Recognize that religious activity and other spiritually related activities may be
a manifestation as well (Love, 2001).

Importance of Spiritual Development
• “The U.S. Constitution states that we may not favor one religion over another—not that we must totally erase all notions of spiritual development from public life and the academy” (Love 2011, pg. 15).
• Both sets of theories focus on making meaning of the world they live in, these theories focus on finding your why.

Applications Cont.
• Organizations with powerful cultures (Love 2011, pg. 15).
• Strange (2001)—student affairs professionals should help students find meaning in their activities and programs to aid in their
• Development of Cognitive and Psychosocial Development will help contribute to spiritual development.
Example: “Many Student Judicial Systems encourage students to reflect on their actions and how those actions affect others and the community.
Student is encouraged to consider his or her form of knowing, form of dependence, and form of community”
(Love 2001. Pg. 15).
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