Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's Spirituality got to do with it?

Spirituality seems to be the next swell on the counseling horizon. Thousands of counselors are now seeking to incorporate spirituality into their sessions. But what, exactly does it mean? How does it work in a client’s life? Should a client’s spirituality be affirmed, denied, marginalized, or emphasized? What is one to make of the integration of spirituality, psychology and counseling?

In his post, “Now, what about ‘spirituality’?”, Ray McKinnis defines spirituality like this: “Anything human can be considered spiritual for an individual if in the belief of that individual it connects him or her to that which is beyond.” While McKinnis’ definition is a little challenging to understand, there are three main aspects of his definition: a human, a connection and the transcendent. Thus, in general terms spirituality is a connection of a human individual with something “beyond” him or herself.

McKinnis’ definition is obviously wrestling with the inherent ambiguity of the term. While I agree with the three aspects (human, connection, transcendent) when one stops to define these terms, the issue stays rather blurry. What does it mean to be human? What connects the individual? Is it a belief, a substance, an experience, etc.? What qualifies as “that which is beyond”? Is the transcendent an impersonal force or a being? I think McKinnis does a good job defining the word from a secular standpoint, however a Christian will probably want to further extend the definition. Perhaps a definition of “Christian” spirituality would look something like this: A connection (through Jesus Christ) of a human (which is both material and immaterial) with the transcendent Triune God of the Bible. Perhaps this definition, or one similar to this, should serve as a measuring stick against the numerous kinds and types of spirituality one will encounter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.