Sunday, 28 March 2010


25 years ago I was told that the church would be better off without people like me.  I had just shared some of my doubts and was expecting support.  Then for the next 20 years I kept my thoughts to myself, only to find that I had a calling to the priesthood.

I have blogged indirectly before about faith development, but thought it worth looking at again.  Both Fowler and Hagberg and Guelich have 6 stages and the suggestion is that people can be at any stage, and can stay there, although often they will move to stage 3 because
Stage 4 is "the journey inward" - "a deep and very personal inward journey" that "almost always comes as an unsettling experience yet results in healing for those who continue through it". In this stage, our former views of God are radically challenged. The disruption can be so great that we feel like we are losing our faith or betraying loyalties. Hagberg/Guelich
Signs of this disruption can be seem by the creation of Spirited Exchanges
Spirited Exchanges is a network offering support, encouragement and resources for people who are experiencing challenges to and/or the unravelling of their faith paradigms with all its associated issues. Many have already left the Church. Some have felt marginalised and misunderstood, others have felt controlled and disrespected. For most it has led to considerable upheaval in their Christian understanding and practice and has often meant the loss of previously valued community. Much of what is happening for people could be described as faith transition.
 There is of course the old saying (at least I assumed it was but Google seems to attribute it to Ann Lamott)
the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty
and this for me fits with the staged model - in the earlier stages certainty is present - but to move to other stages one has to let go of that certainty.

While I was training David Winter lecturing us said something like: as I get older I am more and more certain about less and less.


  1. Alan
    I've just found your blog after linking from Simon Walker's blog. I found Alan Jamieson's material in 2003 and soon found Spirited Exchanges in NZ.
    Alan used Fowler's Stages of Faith and I subsequently created my own notes.
    I am following Simon's book and written to him at some length but I haven't yet mentioned his picture of front stage / back stage. At 74 maybe I'm getting towards the final stage mentioned by Fowler - or to put it another way I'm not aware of anything left backstage that I'm not prepared to talk about.

    I realised a couple of years ago that I almost certainly have Aspergers Syndrome (High Functioning Autism)- and I 'accidentally' drifted into computer programming in 1967.

    I was treasurer of an Anglican parish for 8 years in the 1960's but became disillusioned by what I saw as the lack of radical Christianity. I have been outside the walls of traditional Christianity now for some 40 years - with plenty of contact on the internet with emerging / emergent / house church groups. I've very recently found "Beyond Church" - an Anglican outreach in Brighton that meets in a pub.

    I've recently updated my blog and web site to reflect the story of what has been a very unusual Christian journey -
    but I thought you might be interested in my thoughts about the Stages of Faith -



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