Mona M.Abo-Zena, Pamela Ebstyne King
The constellation of social influences on the development of exemplary spiritual youth includes caregivers, spiritual mentors, and peers, but existing research inadequately captures the cultural and religious meanings of these social influences from the perspectives of young people. From a holistic perspective, this study seeks to understand how youth spiritual exemplars incorporate social influences in their own spiritual developmental trajectories and toward a humanistic psychology. Drawing on three narrative-based case studies of spiritual exemplars identified through a culturally embedded nomination process, this study provides illustrative person-centered examples of how youth recognized for being spiritual draw on social influences and excavate cultural and religious beliefs and values as part of their religious and spiritual development. We found that diverse youth’s narratives prominently featured multiple social influences and reflection about them that revealed the reciprocal manner in which religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and social relationships influence each other. We conclude by discussing implications for considering the complexity of diverse meanings of social influences for youth.
Religion as Fertile Ground
Abstract An extensive body of research points toward spirituality and religiousness as resources for promoting human thriving. People with strong connections to the transcendent and religious meaning in life often view morals and values as central to their self-concepts. Although moral identity theory and contemporary views of virtue development emphasize the importance of narrative identity for habituated moral action, the two are often discussed in isolation of each other. In this chapter, the authors highlight how their commonality is particularly evident when examining the potential of religion to provide a transcendent self-narrative that leads to virtue formation and moral action…
How diverse beliefs shape the experience of transcendent gratitude
Author: Jeane Nelson, Susan Mangan, Rebecca Ann Baer, Jeff V. Ramdass, Pamela Ebstyne King Abstract: As a novel contribution, this study considers transcendent gratitude (e.g. gratitude towards non-human benefactors such as God, Science, or Karma) across diverse belief systems. The sample included 619 participants (M age 37.5, 52.6% female) across the U.S. with beliefs across three distinct categories: a) Theistic; 38.4%), b) Spiritual but not theistic; 26.4%, and c) Non-theistic/Non-spiritual (Other); 35.2%. Across the three belief systems, we tested the associations between gratitude and theistic predictors (e.g. feeling comfort or anger towards God, fidelity, interaction with God, attachment to…
Spiritual Formation in Theological Education: A Multi-case Exploration on Seminaries and Student Development
Author: Wang, D. C., Reed, A., Greggo, S., Bowersox, L., Drennan, A., Strawn, B., King, P., Porter, S. L., Hill, P. C. Abstract: In recent decades, theological schools have demonstrated increased interest in educational models that not only transmit knowledge and skill to students, but also prepare them to have the character and virtue dispositions needed to successfully navigate the moral challenges that await them in future ministry settings. This shift is reflected in the most recent 2020 accreditation standards of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), which highlight the importance of “personal and spiritual formation” as a key facet…
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