Stage 4, 5, 6 - Are you a Critic, Seer, or Saint?
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 4 of a 4 part series, “Stages of Faith and Spiritual Crisis: How to recognize it; disciple it; or find hope as you journey through it." (Originally written for the Centre for Christian Formation and Discipleship.)
Burn-out. Crossroads. Identity crisis. Break down. Wilderness season. Mid-life crisis. Back-sliding....
We’ve all got different names for spiritual crisis. Some have less bite (and possibly less honesty) than others. Spiritual crisis is hard, but it can be good news! The temptation is to assuage someone’s doubt and tuck them right back into the fold as quickly as possible. But, properly viewed, it’s really an invitation to explore the deeper depths of God and come into your truer identity...
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 3 of a 4 part series, “Stages of Faith and Spiritual Crisis: How to recognize it; disciple it; or find hope as you journey through it." (Originally written for the Centre for Christian Formation and Discipleship.)
If you were to step into a fish tank, who would be the last to know he was in water? The fish? Or you?
The answer: The fish. Because the fish has lived the entirety of its life submerged, it has no concept that there is any other environment possible. We are all much like that fish as we live submerged in our own world-views, cultures, and faith communities. We can also live submerged in our stage of faith.
Dr. James Fowler, the architect of the Stages of Faith theory, encourages us to be “playfully serious” with his model. One way to do that is to use it as tool for pointing out our blind spots. It can show us the kind of water we are currently submerged in....
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 2 of a 4 part series, “Stages of Faith and Spiritual Crisis: How to recognize it; disciple it; or find hope as you journey through it." (Originally written for the Centre for Christian Formation and Discipleship.)
When my brother was three, he wanted to be a boa constrictor. As an adult, he settled on becoming a doctor. At my son’s kindergarten graduation, the kids announced their future, grown-up careers: “Marine biologist.” “Architect.” Three kids in a row declared they would be archers! Every kid, from potential doctors to boa constrictors, was 100% confident this could be the trajectory of their lives. We adults weren’t going to tell the kid who wants to be a snake that it’s time to face reality. We know, as they mature, they’re going to figure out life isn’t all that simple. Archery won’t pay the bills. Humans can’t grow scales. Medical school is expensive. It’s still possible—except for the scales—but to achieve it, you’ve got to be realistic about the path you’re embarking on.
Like those kids, believers have an inner, unconscious picture of what we think Christian growth and maturing should look like. This unarticulated, inner ideal both drives us and shames us. It tells us what kind of Christian we “should” be. Most of us live unaware that it’s even talking to us. Its voice is full of measurements and comparison. What does your inner imagination tell you about what the path of Christian maturing should look like?
also has a teaching, writing, and speaking ministry. Her heart is to raise, deepen, and challenge disciples of Jesus. She's part of the Center for Christian Formation and Discipleship and lectures at both a Masters and Undergraduate level for YWAM's University of the Nations. She's also training to be a spiritual director and is an enneagram coach. We thought you might enjoy some of her blogs...