James Fowler was an American theologian who was the professor of Theology and Human Development at Emory University. He has produced several pieces of literature illustrating his theory of faith development. This week, you will review an article that introduces his stages of faith in relation to the developmental concepts you have learned about in this course. Faith theorists recognize the complex interplay of factors that impact one’s faith development. Development of faith, like other aspects of human development, involves movement from one stage to another and is not always systematic or predictable. Individuals can reach chronologic and biological adulthood while reflecting structural stages of faith that are more indicative of early or middle childhood or adolescence. Spiritual nurturing and practice, combined with a person’s spiritual aptitude and discipline, impacts the pace and depth of faith development.
After reading and reflecting on the article, develop your thread addressing these questions:
- What are your impressions of faith development in relation to an individual’s other developmental processes? Do you feel that there is interconnection, or do you oppose the idea that successful faith development requires successful development in other areas? Explain your answer using examples and support from the article and/or other sources of information.
- Using your personal experiences, briefly describe some of the most meaningful characteristics of your faith development process. If there were pivotal moments or notable influences, good and bad, mention the significance of those people or events. Only include the most relevant details. Make sure to relate your thread to elements of Fowler’s faith development theory and your specific experiences.