What Is Spiritual Formation?

What Is Spiritual Formation?


What does spirituality mean to me?

An illustration of spirituality in my past would have been limited to close encounters with the divine presence in the traditional acts of prayer, liturgy, contemplation, etc., but with maturity came a more holistic vision whereby the lines of sacred and secular were blurred beyond distinction in what I call a dance between the Bible and the Blues. The Holy Spirit moving through the music lead me to the clearing whereby those encounters need not be limited in time or design or place as the world informs the Church and the Church informs the world. As such, both realms are enriched.

What does it mean to be formed in the “Image of God” and to be transformed into the “likeness of Christ?”

Wesley brings this home in the premise of his sermon by the same name in stating that originally humanity’s perception was that of a reality unbound by illusion wherein the heart and soul were filled with love. After the fall — into the false self, rebirth is the only path toward what we could call our truest identity, meaning, and purpose. This renewal of the true self is an unfolding process of “putting on the mind of Christ,” the formless taking on the form of Christ consciousness by the transformational power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is Spiritual Formation.

What is the function of Christian spiritual disciplines in the process?

As a musician I am intimately aware of two dimensions of development required for artistry: technique and passion. A performance displaying highly developed technique may appeal strongly to the intellect, but if lacking in passion, speaks nothing to the listener’s soul. Likewise, a passionate expression may momentarily stir the heart, but without a technique cultivated in the quality of excellence there is no lasting impression of substance. It requires both desire and dexterity. When the two become one there is the opportunity for mystical union. In the juxtaposition of disciple and discipline within the context of relationship with the Divine Spirit reflects this wholeness in affirming that, spiritual art is a portal, a means of grace where all who enter may be blessed.

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