I recently just finished joe myers book the search to belong. It has been one of the most helpful books that I have recently finished (besides Alasdair MacIntyre’s after virtue). a little bit ago a couple of us sat down with joe and talked about the application of the ideas present by joe. here are some of my reflections on the spaces of belonging. (i’ll write a short explanation of the book soon.)

but concerning spiritual formation and the spaces of belonging…

why i think it is important to investigate the link b/w spiritual formation and the spaces of belonging…

1) – if we are to take seriously the critique of the modern church as both individualized and privatized, then we must find our way out of a individualized/privatized spirituality. (also a modernity overly “romantic/intimate” creating problem of intimacy w/ God and/or God is my best friend syndrome). Therefore, while we need a renewed knowledge of ancient/holistic spiritual practices, i.e. labyrinth, jesus prayer, praying the hours, fasting, meditation, icons, vigils,… we also need to understand the public/social/person/intimate aspects about them so that we don’t inadvertently made them individualized/privatized. (and i think that this is all too often the problem with the turn toward community, it merely becomes a displaced individualism once removed.) A spiritual formation angle on the “spaces” is important b/c it will transform familiar practices like prayer, confession, worship, and preaching. People who don’t come from a liturgical tradition don’t understand the role of public confession, nor of public prayer read out of a prayer book b/c they have lost those categories outside a spontaneous intimate relationship. well, more could be said…

2) it might be intestesting/useful to consider how or if ancient writers on spiritual formation used or comprehended the spaces. (this type of historical investigation would lend support to your argument, but might make it too long.)

3) it is well documented that evangelicals are leaving their modern tradition and joining liturgically rich traditions. after talking w/ you i’ve been thinking that maybe one reason is that these types of church are much more public in their worship through liturgy; they have space for “public.” i’ll have to do more thinking about this and have a clearer idea about the “spaces”, but an explication of an Anglican/Catholic mass in term of the spaces might be interesting as a continual case study through you book.