a. It’s as if we were encountering our traditional faith for the first time as adults. We’re not too sure about all this just yet, but we’re willing to explore, to give our faith a chance, to look at our ancient faith as if it really mattered. We could call this an “Awakening” of sorts. We wake up to what has been there all along but we haven’t paid much attention to it. (For more on awakening, click here.)
b. People who are just awakening typically maintain their traditional belief in God, but now they have some questions – questions they have never dared to formulate, or didn’t think it was worthwhile…
c. People who start exploring are not sure of where they stand on Scripture, or what their personal theology really is, but are beginning to raise questions, and they have probably found a safe environment where they can do so and feel accepted.
d. Faith still does not play a significant part in their lives but questions are emerging, both about one’s faith and about how one lives life.
e. There begin to appear some changes in the way these folk see their faith life. Christian life may no longer be simply about faithful attendance at Sunday worship, but may include more service activities as well as some workshops or reading to begin addressing questions arising. Life in general remains compartmentalized, with a small portion devoted to exploration of the faith.
f. Personal and family resources are still considered an individual matter, but more resources are made available to charity and church.
g. Time remains managed in terms of work and family priorities, but somewhat more time is set aside to address questions arising; church attendance may be less regular, but time is more intentionally set aside to explore spiritual questions.
If you’ve been at this stage for some time and are wondering where you go next,
- think about taking advantage of some experiential opportunities in prayer and meditation: consider, for instance, the Ecumenical Week of Guided Prayer;
- take a course on forms of Ignatian prayer;
- explore Buddhist meditation practices;
- introduce yourself to different forms of prayer.