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Create a Living Faith

And see what it feels like to be the author of your own spiritual beliefs.

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illustration of holy owls

Spirit Owls by Marisa Redondo

In my first theology class as an aspiring nun, a burly Lithuanian Jesuit priest announced in a thick accent, “Your religion is the set of beliefs passed down to you from the church. Your spirituality, your faith, is something you create based on your commitments and ultimate concerns. You have to know what you are committed to in order to have your faith mean anything.”There were 30 postulants in the room, all under 20, and I suspect none of us knew what he was talking about. We had memorized the Baltimore Catechism and had our rote answers for everything, but this notion of spirituality being separate from religion was unnerving. We had been taught what to think, not how to think. How did he expect us to know what our ultimate concerns were?It took Father Grabys the whole semester to teach us how to think for ourselves, mine our own depths, and identify what we were willing to live for, as much as die for. It was grueling work. I wanted religion to be religion like I’d always known it. I didn’t want to create something on my own. I didn’t like any of his ideas. But week after week, we entered the mines …

Jan Phillips

Jan Phillips is a writer, photographer, and activist who connects the dots between creativity, spiritual intelligence, and social action. She is the author of 10 award-winning books and facilitates workshops on evolutionary spirituality throughout the U.S. and Canada.


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Modern SpiritualityPracticesPersonal Essay

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