Virtual Spirituality

Virtual Spirituality

Duncan Macleod

Why talk about spirituality?‘Why spirituality?’ I’ve heard that response a number of times as I’ve explained the purpose of the Big E forum on youth ministry in September.

Young people are growing up in an environment that allows for ‘spirituality’ at the same time as it ignores organised religion. Each person is encouraged to explore their own ‘spirituality’.

Schools, hospitals and medical centres are being encouraged to consider the spiritual well being and development of young people.

In response to these trends we could take the line that the only spirituality worth talking about is the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. I appreciate the concern that we don’t be come so caught up in the general vagueness of spirituality that we lose our distinctive Christian perspective. But there’s more to it than that.

Another approach, which I find more helpful, is to recognise that our core business in Christian youth ministry is spirituality. We specialise in the total integration of God in every part of our lives, made possible by Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Virtual Spirituality?

Tom Beaudoin, in his 1998 book, Virtual Faith, refers to the effect we get when acquiring spiritual props such as Gregorian chants on CD. There’s a feeling of spirituality, without any demand on our everyday lives. The same thing can happen in our worship services. We can easily end up with the words and actions without any sense of an intimate and transforming encounter with God and each other.

When it comes to spirituality, I’m looking for the genuine article – the real thing. Let’s settle for nothing less than credible, consistent and authentic spirituality.

Duncan Macleod

The Big E focused on the spirituality of young people in a changing world.
Churches Youth Ministry Association invited Christian youth workers from all over Aotearoa New Zealand to explore how today’s young people perceive faith in God and being the disciples of Jesus Christ.

The big question: How do we help young people to express their faith?

We looked at:

  • real relationships
  • music that connects
  • intimacy & ecstasy in worship
  • feeding the soul
  • comedy
  • marginalisation of young people
  • sport
  • reaching young people
  • your own spiritual journey