Manual How to Be an Adult in Faith and Spirituality

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Eaude observes that spiritual development 3 'concerns itself with what is most important about ourselves as people'. People may also be seeking to make a connection with the mystery that surrounds the sacred and a higher power, such as God Tracey Spirituality is a way for the human ego to transcend and transform Finnegan Faith, explains Sheldrake , 'involves a decision to trust rather than a logic that verifies'.

Fowler describes faith as follows: 'Faith has to do with the making, maintenance, and transformation of human beings'. Fowler explains that faith is expressed through 'symbols, rituals, and beliefs of particular religious traditions'. However Fowler points out that 'faith is not always religious in a cultural or institutional sense'.

In other words, people may find and make meaning of their lives from sources that do not have a particular religion at their core. Hence, faith and spirituality are less about what is seen and more about what is personally experienced and this includes religious practices and rites. The importance of spirituality in the adolescent life. Witmer and Sweeney explain that people need to have the following five 'characteristics of wellness' to have a healthy life span: spirituality, self-regulation, work, love and friendship.

These five characteristics are part of a 'wheel of wholeness'. Hence, spirituality is a vital part of a human being's everyday life experience. According to a study conducted by Raftopoulos and Bates , spirituality is an 'important aspect of adolescence' in adolescent resilience. It appears that spirituality helps adolescents recover from the low points experienced in their lives. Adolescents primarily search for spirituality from religions those of their parents or may explore alternative religions and youth or popular culture the books they read, the music they listen to, the movies they see and so on.

Clark calls this supernatural tendency by adolescents to search for spirituality as the 'funky' side of religion. Kessler explains that in extreme situations, adolescents may turn to 'drugs, gang violence, and even suicide' as 'a search for connection and meaning and an escape from the pain of not having a genuine source of spiritual fulfilment'. The lived experiences of adolescent spirituality through popular culture. This article will build on a lived theology perspective of how the sacred can be experienced in the sources offered by popular or youth culture that may become sacred spaces where the adolescent can experience and express their spiritual search.

Popular culture or youth culture.

Spirituality Program for Adults

As was said above, when adolescents do not have a genuine source of spirituality that they can explore and seek answers to the ultimate questions, adolescents may explore 'false spiritual sources' to help escape what they perceive as their meaningless existence Kessler Spiritual sources can be sought and found in a variety of places. When adolescents start challenging their parents' values, they often become involved in popular or youth culture, the social culture created by young people as a means of self-expression.

Lynch explains how popular culture relates to 'other cultures' as follows: 1 opposes high culture or the avant-garde; 2 is seen to displace folk culture; and 3 is a form of social and cultural opposition against dominant or mass culture. Hence, popular culture is a culture created by young people to oppose what adults are conforming to. Arnett points out that there are also youth subcultures 'to carve out a subculture identity that is distinct not only from larger society but from other youth subcultures, as well'.

Adolescents often look to popular culture their social context to search for meaning in their lives, and use these values and meanings that they assimilate to express their spiritual selves and identities. Adolescents may use popular culture as alternative spiritual sources, to their parents, to understand their place within their own youth social-cultural space. Hence, this type of participation and interaction with popular or youth culture can be called a lived theology. McAvan has coined the phrase 'postmodern sacred' to explain popular cultural spirituality that has been sacralised and is used by adolescents to explore and shape their spirituality McAvan As these genres often deconstruct chaotic contemporary discourses and then reconstruct alternative discourses that offer alternative solutions, the adolescent reader or movie goer may use these alternative discourses to explore and shape their spiritualties according to the alternative discourses.

The adolescent and media. Within popular culture or youth culture, adolescents use media to form identity, spirituality and express and cope with emotion, and this helps adolescents connect to peer networks Arnett From her research with American adolescents, Clark identified five different ways in which adolescents either 'affirm or blur the supposed boundaries between the beliefs about the realm beyond from religion and similar beliefs popularised by media'.

How Young Adults Are Finding Religion

These 'ways' are listed as follows:. Traditionalist: Affirming the boundaries between religion and media. These adolescents were often part of conservative religion and strictly separated their religion from supernatural stories presented in the media stories that include witches, wizards, vampires, ghosts, aliens and supernatural events Clark The intrigued teens: Wishing to separate religion and legend. These adolescents had similar ideas to the first group, but sometimes blurred their religion with the supernatural stories that presented aspects of their religions by the media Clark The mystical teens: Religion informs teen culture experience.

These adolescents interlaced their religious beliefs with the supernatural stories presented in the media with a mystical understanding Clark The experimenters: Appreciating both legitimate and delegitimated religion. These adolescents eagerly pursued resources from the media Clark The resisters: Loving the supernatural and hating organised religion.

These adolescents don't believe in and challenge organised religion, but believe in the supernatural presented by the media Clark Clark made three findings from the above research: 1 it established that 'religious identity and religious belief may not be directly related' to the adolescents' association or lack of association with a religion; 2 adolescents may identify with the supernatural realm as they feel powerless to their social context. Clark points out that this powerlessness may change towards their social context as they mature, but adolescents' views to religious identity may remain shaped by their early views on the supernatural; and 3 this research established 'that media, as an element of culture, echo contradictory approaches to religion within the culture' Clark The above research is a good example of how adolescents use their social context and particularly popular culture to form a spiritual identity and search for meaning.

Most of the adolescents in the study regardless of their religious practices, or lack thereof, were at the very least curious, while others openly searched alternative spiritual sources in their search of the mysterious or supernatural realm. Therefore, by knowing, understanding and discussing with the adolescent as to why the above sources are so appealing to them, the adult may better guide the adolescent. The adolescent and the problems presented by social media.

In this context, media refers to communication such as music, magazines, clothing trends and so on. This type of media may promote different values to what his or her parents find appropriate. Social media in this context refer to the internet and the tools that are used to network using the internet. Not all media and social media are bad or dangerous. Media and social media, when used responsibly, are tools that allow the user access to a wealth of information.

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However, adult concerns regarding social media are sometimes well-founded, as social media such as Facebook, Instant Messaging, Twitter and so on South African Government are not only inappropriate for youth but may also be damaging to their spiritual identities. The damage done to adolescents from sexting alone is inconceivable South African Government Perrin speaks of authentic and inauthentic spirituality and cautions that some spiritualties may cause irreversible harm: 'Human spirit is not absolutely benevolent.

Without careful attention, it can be led astray, resulting in destructive and harmful human actions' Perrin Authentic spirituality is a life-enhancing expression of 'self-liberating transcendence … directed toward the common good of humanity', whereas 'clusters of values, actions and choice, such as alcoholism, Nazism, or consumerism … have mistaken the quest of the human spirit and cannot be considered authentic expressions of spirituality'. If identity is an essential part of spirituality, and if the choices made by individuals have an impact on their identity and spirituality, then the choice to take drugs, drink alcohol, partake in inappropriate sexual activities and follow radical groups to name but a few such actions and choices are mistaken quests, and therefore, inauthentic spiritualties.

These types of spiritualties are the antithesis of what spirituality actually is, as the values, actions and choices made by the adolescent lead to the degrading, not only of the individual but also of his or hers actions towards their everyday lived experiences. There is nothing sacred experienced in these actions or spaces, and can then be termed 'corrupted spiritualties'. The adolescent and adult support and guidance. Doka and Raftopoulos and Bates have explained how crucial it is for adults to make an effort to understand and respect the struggle that the adolescent is experiencing.

As being misunderstood is part of the adolescent's journey Coles , it is perhaps of vital importance to show some acceptance to the adolescent of their views. Bruce and Cockreham explain that if adolescents are encouraged and are helped to make spiritual connections with an adult they respect, adolescents may live out healthy spiritual lives, helping the adolescent overcome and counteract cultural problems. Adults need to allow and perhaps even encourage adolescents to use aspects of popular or youth culture in a positive way. The adolescent may use aspects of this culture that they hold so dear to cope with this stage of their lives, instead of constantly feeling misunderstood.

Perhaps, counsellors, parents and teachers could create non-judgemental environments at home and in the classroom to guide adolescents and help them explore their social environment in a safe way, instead of dismissing youth culture as a phase the adolescent is going through.

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Bruce and Cockerham , researching on adolescent girls, explain that: 'adolescent girls who choose and seek access to a nonparent adult are choosing to augment and strengthen their voices and personal development'. It appears that the correct adult approach and approval are crucial to the adolescent even though they may be saying something different. The adult, and this may include a favourite parent, uncle or aunt, may read a favourite book, watch a movie or listen to a beloved band that the youth is so 'into'.

By making the effort to partake in such an activity, the adult may create an opportunity to open a conversation with the adolescent, to share why the adolescent identifies so much with that particular aspect of 'youth culture'. By listening to adolescents' stories, the adult may help them make sense of their stories and their place within their stories. Fantasy books and movies see Apostolides ; Clark are forms of popular culture that allow for sacred transformation to occur. Being an adolescent is a difficult time for young people. Adolescents are awkward, and insecure, and do not want to be left out of what their peers are doing.

The adolescent may feel isolated from his or her family if he or she is doing things that he or she knows his or her family would disapprove of. However, if the adolescent is complying with what is expected of him or her at home, he or she may feel isolated from his or her peers.

At this stage of their lives, adolescents struggle to make a connection with what they have, up until now taken for granted as their spiritual identity, and try to carve out a spiritual identity that is unique to them. Hence, adolescents may make choices at this stage that may inadvertently shape the rest of their lives. Research shows that adolescents look to their youth culture to explore, understand and experience their spiritual selves, shaping their identity. By being allowed to explore and live out spiritualties in their own way within their own youth culture, supported by the adults in their lives, may allow for a happy adolescent.

Adult Spiritual Development Chapter Two

Adults can act as guides to adolescents to make spiritual connections within the adolescents' own social contexts. However, popular or youth culture is multi-layered with many aspects to be taken into consideration. Adolescents are bombarded by social media within their social context or youth culture. While some aspects of popular or youth culture offer healthy spaces for spiritual exploration, others, like some forms of social media, can cause unimaginable damage.

There are spiritualties that are damaging to the adolescent, and guidance from an adult may prove to be of great value to the adolescent. The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article. Apostolides, A. Berger, P. Bruce, M.

Clark, L. S adolescents religious identity, the media, and the "funky" side of religion', Journal of Communication December, Doka, K. Barnes ed. Finnegan, J. The meaning and shaping of spirituality today , Veritas, Dublin. Fowler, J. Ganzevoort, R. Hay, D. Heimbrock, H. Lynch, G. McAvan, E.

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Publishers, London. Miller-McLemore, B. Partridge, C. Perrin, D. In fact, two percent of them described themselves as atheists, and another two percent of them said they were agnostic. That depends on your individual perspective. Many people of faith think that a spiritual life requires belief in God or a supreme being. But atheists, by definition, do not believe in the existence of a literal God. However, many atheists do consider themselves to be spiritual, just not in a way that conforms to how some religious people tend to think of spirituality.

Instead, they are derived from everyday experiences, observations, philosophical reflection, logical reasoning, and from what we continue to learn about the physical universe through science.

Young Adults Hunger for People to Journey with Them

Simply put, many atheists feel a deep sense of connection to the world and have a desire and willingness to improve themselves and help their fellow human beings. People also have mental and spiritual needs. In fact, some older adults experience faster or more complete healing from injuries, emotional grief, or other afflictions when they have the support of a chaplain or spiritual counselor. And, of course, spiritual guidance can provide a sense of peace, comfort, and courage when a person is battling a terminal illness or nearing death. For seniors who devoutly practice certain religions, faith-specific spiritual care is frequently very important.

After all, they may want to observe specific rituals or follow other practices related to aspects like their diet. Faith-specific care is often especially vital when a devoutly religious person is close to passing away. As an older American, you can do all kinds of things to get more in tune with your spiritual core. And by doing activities that promote a deeper sense of connection, wholeness, meaning, and purpose, you can awaken new perceptions that renew your outlook and give you inner strength for the rest of your human journey. Every religion offers spiritual practices that are designed to bring you closer to a sense of the divine.

They include activities like praying, chanting, fasting, taking part in rituals, celebrating special milestones, and many other practices. Anything that you love doing, that makes you feel whole or truly alive, or that gives you a feeling of deeper connection to the world can be considered a spiritual activity. For example, consider pursuits such as:. Ultimately, no matter what you believe in, the activities that you enjoy most—or that bring you closer to other people or make a positive difference in the world—are the ones that are likely to feel most spiritual to you.

So play, laugh, love, create, and remember that almost everyone, regardless of age, shares the same fundamental questions about the deep mysteries of life. Your email address will not be published. Spirituality and Aging by memoriesplusgrou Feb 25, Adult Day Program , alternative , Aurora , brain health , Day Program , elderly , family , health , meditation for good health , Newmarket , seniors , spirituality 0 comments. What Is Spirituality?

At its core, spirituality is an aspect of human life that frequently involves a search for answers to fundamental questions about our existence, such as: Why are we here? What is our purpose? What happens after we die?

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Can we transcend the material world? How should we live our lives? What matters most? Is each of us alone, or are we all connected? For example, a senior or elderly American may be drawn closer to spirituality or religious faith because of factors like: Retirement —This stage of life often comes with big changes to our daily activities, the roles we play, and the way we see ourselves. Although it is often an exciting and fulfilling time, it can also feel unfamiliar.

Grieving —As we get older, more of our friends and family members are likely to pass away. As a result, we may go through the grieving process more frequently than when we were younger. Decreased independence —Another reason why aging and spirituality are so closely linked is that many of us experience some physical decline during our later years. We may need assistance with certain aspects of everyday living, which can make us feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Spirituality can help us bridge that gap. We get to review our achievements as well as our setbacks while beginning to recognize a meaningful narrative that ties it all together.

We may even start to see deeper connections between our life and the lives of people from past or future generations. In fact, one major aspect of the spirituality of aging is that, upon extra reflection, our perspective may shift in surprisingly profound and positive ways. Will our consciousness remain intact? What will happen to the loved ones we leave behind? Have we created a meaningful legacy that will live on? What will we be remembered for? Spirituality or religious faith can help us make peace with our mortality.

For example, many spiritually inclined seniors: Place more focus on their inner lives than on external expectations Speak from their hearts more frequently Put more effort into making meaningful connections with other people Develop more patience and attentiveness Seek more opportunities for silence and solitude Change their perception of time by living more in the moment Allow more time for reflection, sharing, and loving How Popular Is Religion Among American Seniors? In addition, among people who were 65 or older: 1 74 percent said they believe in heaven 70 percent said they believe in God with absolute certainty 65 percent said they pray at least once a day 56 percent said they believe in hell 48 percent said they attend religious services at least weekly 40 percent said they use religion as their main source of moral guidance So, what are the most popular religions?

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More specifically: 1 29 percent said they were Evangelical Protestant 24 percent said they were Catholic 22 percent said they were Mainline Protestant People in other Christian religions, such as historically black Protestants and Mormons, represented much smaller percentages six percent and one percent, respectively.