As I've said before, Susan Skoor, Apostle and member of the Council of the Twelve in the Community of Christ church (RLDS) is an exceptional individual. She has a presence about her that is almost tangible. She engages with each person she meets, and has the knack of making them feel heard. My first day at the Sunstone Symposium was spent in her 3 1/2 hour workshop--it flew by like 30 minutes.
Susan (In my reports of Sunstone, I'm going to use the first names of all the presenters, just to be consistent, and because there is a great feeling of comeraderie here) began her workshop with a short devotional. She played a recording of a song with words by St. Francis of Assisi, lit some candles, had a prayer, gave a short sermonette on Jesus and social change, and ended with a rousing hymn complete with clapping and swaying. Little did we know as she was leading us in the devotional, that she was modeling four types of spirituality about which she would instruct us. There are
- Thinkers--who approach religion by study and research. They love scriptures, sermons, being on time, order, planning, and worship services based around a theme.
- Feelers--are inspired by emotion, passion, testimony. They emphasize conversion and transformation, and fellowship and relationships are important to them.
- Mystic--experience God in silence, contemplation, and meditation. They have great sensitivity, are intuitive and experience leaps of faith. To them, God is a mystery.
- Advocates--Theirs is a lived religion. They feed the poor, do their home teaching, and focus on living the gospel. They tend to be critics, and their goal often becomes transforming systems.
I especially liked Susan's speculations about the younger generation. She said that the thinkers were leaving organized religion for science, the feelers were meeting their need for fellowship on the internet, the mystics were becoming detached and forming "the Church of the Bookshelf"--grabbing pieces of different systems of thought to embrace a spirituality that is uniquely their own, and that the advocates were leaving for politics and non-profits. We spent some time developing plans for churches who have an interest in drawing these seekers back into organized religion and discussed ways to meet their needs in our congregations.
This was an enlightening experience and I enjoyed working with the other workshop participants and hearing their ideas. Soooo...what type of approach appeals to you out of these four types of spirituality. What do you think I am? (I'll let you know in the comments--it might surprise you.)