In my last post on missional spirituality I outlined (1) my understanding of the Australian context, (2) where I see some shortfalls in the Christian response, and (3) some pointers for moving forward.
In this post I would like to expand a bit more on the third point.
Missional Spirituality is more than Missional Pneumatology
One model I have found particularly helpful in the process of listening to and engaging with new religious movements and the more religiously ambivalent is Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions of Religion.
This model suggests that beyond theology (in this case pneumatology) we also need to consider the narrative, ritual, experiential, social, ethical and material dimensions of (1) non-Christian spiritualities we encounter in our context and (2) how we Spirituality engage with all of these missionally.
In other words, this is not just a task for theologians. It is also a task for poets, pastors, artists, activists and Misisonal churches as a whole, using all their Spiritual gifts.
This opens up a multitude of questions. Here are just a few examples:
- How can activist thinking on the relationships between spiritual “powers” and transpersonal social “systems” inform our Spiritual understanding and practice? [Social Dimension]
- What are we to make of the “messageless messengers” that populate postmodern folk tales in the form of angels, aliens, avatars, ghosts, gods, egregores and more? Are there alternatives to just demonizing them? [Narrative Dimension]
- In what ways do spiritual gifts function beyond sacred spaces, especially where we are guests rather than hosts? Consider healings and meals of Jesus [Ritual Dimension]
- Do we need to focus more on spiritual fruit, particularly the virtues of patience and humility? [Ethical Dimension]
- What do we make of trance experience. Trance is mentioned in the Bible you know, by both Peter and Paul, in very missional situations (I’ve copped flak for making such comments before so I wont be surprised if I cop more now) [Experiential Dimension]
- How can we visually interpret our Spirituality in more contextual but still faithful ways? [Material Dimension]
Again, this is just a conversation starter.