Christian Spirituality Studies Blog

Article: Portraits of the “Shy Hope”: Engaging Youth Spiritualities in the Australian Context, by Phil Daughtry

Although this article's author Phil Daughtry focuses on the spirituality of youth in Australia, readers may find that his descriptions sound quite similar to the experiences of youth in their own geographic area. Here is the article's abstract:

The Australian spiritual consciousness has been described as “a whisper in the mind, a shy hope in the heart.” This is not a spirituality of explicit religious language or loud evangelicalism but rather a deeply grounded hope, spoken of tentatively and with great care. This description by Gary Bouma alerts...

Review: Religion Around Virginia Woolf, by Stephanie Paulsell

SSCS member Emily Griesinger reviews Paulsell’s book in the Woolf Studies Annualvol. 26, 2020, 158-160. In the review’s opening paragraph, Griesinger writes

Stephanie Paulsell’s Religion Around Virginia Woolf refuses “aggressive agnosticism” as the “only lens” through which we might legitimately read the life and writing of Virginia Woolf. . . . Indeed Paulsell casts a remarkably wide net, drawing together seemingly incongruous materials, everything from the mysticism of Teresa of Avila to the process theology of Alfred North Whitehead, to prove her thesis that, despite her disbelief in...

Essay: Quaker Mysticism and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, by Emily Griesinger

by Jonas

Virginia Woolf in 1902
Virginia Woolf in 1902 


In her essay, Emily Griesinger agrees with those who say Virginia Woolf should not be considered purely a secularist despite her rejection of traditional Christianity. Indeed, in a careful reading of Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, Griesinger argues that there’s evidence of a particular stream of spirituality. Griesinger writes:

While others have studied Woolf and mysticism, few have interpreted her work through the lens of Quaker mysticism with its emphasis on “Divine Radiance” and “Inner Light.” Such an approach is warranted, however, when reading To the Lighthouse, a...

Article: Transforming Christian Spirituality: Hermeneutical Method and Methodology, by Annie Pan Yi Jung

Dr. Pan Yi Jung‘s article argues for the need of bridging the gap between theory and practice, and doing so within the Chinese context. Her discussion includes a proposal for an integrative approach. Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Teaching students to engage a classical text of spirituality and equipping them to interpret it theologically has been one of my major commitments in theological education. I perceive the demanding need to explore a hermeneutical methodology as one engages with spiritual text, church’s praxis and strategic action within one’s own cultural-political...

Article: The Feminine Spirituality of St. Teresa Of Avila: Ascending to God by Descending in Humility, by Annie Pan Yi Jung

Scholars of writings by past masters in Christian spirituality often find teachings of great relevance for contemporary readers. Such is the case in this article where the author, Annie Pan Yi Jung, explores the importance of Teresa’s writing for feminine spirituality. Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Female spirituality is a new research area in Chinese seminaries as well as in most Chinese churches. Recently, discussions on female Christian spiritual formation have become the focus in different occasions and international conferences. One of the research methods of feminine...

Article: Die transformerende effek van ’n mistieke lees van die Skrif / The Transformative Effect of a Mystical Reading of Scripture, by Celia Kourie

In this article, Celia Kourie argues that using the historical-critical method to interpret the Bible has proven to be too limiting. A more spiritual, mystical reading of scripture can add a depth of understanding unavailable to a strictly rational approach. Here is the beginning of the article’s abstract:

This paper takes as its starting point the increasing interest in spirituality and Scripture. This is clearly part of the relatively recent, unprecedented research in the field of spirituality studies. We are moving away from the distrust of a spiritual or mystical reading of Scripture...

Article: Spirituality and Beliefs of Colombian Internal Conflict Survivors, by Diana L. Villegas

Mural expressing hope for the resurgence  of San Carlos, Colombia, from political violence
Mural expressing hope for the resurgence 
of San Carlos, Colombia, from political violence. 
Photo: Diana Villegas

Towards the end of decades-long fighting between Colombian government troops and various armed factions, demobilized paramilitary soldiers entered into a process to reintegrate them into towns, many of which had been scenes of the violence. This article by Diana Villegas, Chair of the SSCS International Relations Committee, provides a detailed report on how inhabitants of one town were able to draw on their inner resources and spiritual practices to be able to accept the former fighters into their midst. Here is the article’s abstract:

Remarkable stories of resilience and forgiveness...

Essay: The Literary Genre of the Spiritual Canticle of John of the Cross, by David B. Perrin

Does identifying the genre of a spiritual work simply place it in a literary category where it can be compared to other works in the same genre? Or does knowing the genre help the reader come to a deeper understanding of the work than she would have if genre were ignored? David Perrin explores this latter possibility in this essay appearing in an essay collection honoring Bernard McGinn’s contributions to the study of mysticism. Here is the essay’s abstract:

Sensitivity to the literary genre of the Spiritual Canticle of John of the Cross is important, since genre research indicates that...

Article: The Nature of the Self: Christian Anthropology Revisited, by David B. Perrin

In this article, David Perrin focuses on “the self” as a term with profound meaning for Christians. If, according to Christian theology and spirituality, a believer is made made in the image of God, how does one’s self reflect the imago dei? Perrin proposes to answer this question from the perspective of everyday life. Here is the article’s abstract:

The word “self” comes up frequently in everyday language. We talk about “self-respect,” “myself,” “self-determination,” “self-help,” “yourself,” “him/herself,” and so on. All of these expressions refer to the subject of investigation of...

Article: Bible Study as Luminous Converting Encounter: Swiss Pietist Initiatives in 19th-Century French Canada, by Glen G. Scorgie

In this article, the author Glen Scorgie describes how 19th century Swiss evangelical missionaries to Canada introduced a contemplative form of shared scripture reading which led to mystical experience and conversion. Here is the article’s abstract:

This article examines the understanding and use of Scripture in the evangelistic endeavors of “awakened” pietistic francophone Swiss Protestant missionaries in 19th-century French Canada (after 1867, Quebec). It begins by sketching the roots of this transatlantic initiative in Le Réveil, the Continental francophone expression of the Second...

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