Southpoint News October 30, 2015

Oct 29, 2015

The Church @ Southpoint

We gather together, drawn by our common hunger for communion with God However, we are not alike. We each connect to God differently, we are nourished by different things, we have different gifts we bring to the world, and we have different pitfalls.

A priest named Urban T. Holmes devised a way of describing four different types of spirituality. He devised this not so he could pigeon hole people into strict categories but to affirm that there are differing well worn spiritual paths people follow. We are drawn to different paths depending on both our natural inclinations and our need for growth. No one type takes priority over the other. Each type needs the balance of the others. However, we are all “divergent”. No person fits completely into one type.

I spoke of Holme’s 4 Types of Spirituality during worship on Oct. 18th, for I believe this model can help us cultivate a servant’s heart as we gather around the table on Sundays to share a common meal. As we understand both our own gifts and needs, as well as the gifts and needs of one another, we can be more hospitable to one another in our worship, and we can better nourish ourselves during the week.

Type 1: HEAD – “Theologian”

The upper-right quadrant (Mind-Revealed) is a rational, thinking spirituality that engages the mind. God is revealed, and words for this type are the primary means of revelation. God is encountered through intentional study, thought-provoking discussions, and meditative reflections of the mind. There is a value on precision of thought and congruence of ideas. This type, more than all others, encounters God and is nourished by God through the studying the scriptures.

Folk who feel at home in this quadrant LOVE WORDS. Reading, journaling, meditating with a definite focus, liturgical prayers, studying sacred texts, sermons of substance, theological discussions, study groups, conferences, books ABOUT prayer, books ABOUT justice, books, books, and more books. Theologians, biblical scholars, seminaries, and mainline denominations draw heavily from the spirituality of this quadrant.

Type 2: HEART – “Charismatic”

The lower-right quadrant (Heart-Revealed) is an emotional, feeling Spirituality deeply connected to the Heart. God is revealed, but this type comes to know God not so much through abstract thought and written words, but through lived experience, emotions, and relationships. There is a value placed on the sharing of faith stories and genuineness of personal engagement with God and one another. God is knowable and revealed, but not as much through abstract ideas but through personal encounter and stories of encounter. Jesus, God MADE FLESH, and the stories of Jesus encountering individuals, offer this type deepening revelation and deepening intimacy with God.

Folk who feel at home in this quadrant are often drawn to music, because music acts as a conduit for emotion. They prefer a more spontaneous, informal, and relational way of connecting, both with God and and others. It is quite natural for them to talk about their relationship with God, sharing the impact of Jesus on their lives and the way God has revealed himself to them because for them, this relationship IS genuine, palpable and real. For this type, prayer that is informal and personal is meaningful, and praying with and for others in this spontaneous way feels an honest expression of their faith. Much of evangelicalism and pentecostalism draws heavily on the spirituality of this quadrant.

TYPE 3: SOUL – “Mystic”

The lower-left quadrant (Heart-Mystery) provides a home for the mystic. Like type 2, Type 3 is a spirituality of connection that engages the heart, but often this happens internally, in practicing a silent awareness of God. Unlike type 2, the mystery of God IS the revelation! Contemplatives are quite comfortable with NOT fully understanding God. There is a sense of God being beyond human definitions Type 1 will keep wrestling and grappling to understand God, type 2 will long to converse and relate to God, type 3 is content to float in the mystery of God. The contemplative monastic traditions in eastern and western christianity draw heavily on the spirituality of this quadrant.

People attracted to this type of spirituality are often by nature introspective, intuitive, and find their inner world as real to them as the exterior one. They find strength in emptying the mind of distractions and simply being in the presence of the the Holy. A simple life is appealing to them for it removes distractions and enables them to become aware of the divine presence. Most protestant congregations are in quadrant 1 or 2 of the diagram above, valuing the intellect more than feeling, the concrete more than mystery, activity and stimulation more than silent awareness. If you resonate with the type 3 quadrant, you might feel like you don’t fit in the church.

TYPE 4: STRENGTH – “Crusader”

The upper-left quadrant (Mind-Mystery) is an an action-oriented, embodied Spirituality of great strength and purpose. If type 3 tends toward retreat, type 4 is inclined to be assertive, sometimes even aggressive, in the desire to implement a vision of the kingdom of God on earth. This type embodies a courageous and sturdy activism that takes responsibility to change things.

People who find a home in this type have a heightened sense of vision for what COULD BE or how things SHOULD BE, and they are willing to sacrifice their personal lives in service of this vision. Their action is not something they undertake because they are spiritual, their activism is how they are spiritual. Confronting, changing, or living counter-culturally to society is the embodiment of the vision, and they seek community with folk who will share their vision and passion. They are driven by their intellectual ideal rather than emotion, but rather than wrestling to intellectually understand a revelation of God with their minds, they are compelled to embody the revelation that they cannot quite yet see in such a way that living becomes the means of knowing God. Martin Luther, Dorothy Day, Elie Wiesel, and other such social activists exemplify this type. The activism of the Mennonites (think Mennonite Central Committee) draws heavily on the spirituality of this quadrant.

Which of these quadrants feels most like home to you? Which of these quadrant represents the church/denomination in which you grew up? In what ways did this tradition nourish you? What hunger did it not fill?

When we gather for worship, may we be aware of one another’s needs and preferences as well as our own. May we be held in that life-giving tension of loving God, loving our neighbour, and loving ourselves.


Pledges for 2016 – PLEASE BRING TO CHURCH NOV. 1st
The leadership team will begin preparing a preliminary budget for 2016 in November. In preparation, we have distributed pledge cards to regular attenders. Please return both cards into the offering plate by the first Sunday of November. Alternatively, you can contact Cornelia directly: cdempsey She will keep your pledge amount confidential.

Rev. Anne Smith,
Southpoint Church

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