Theological Reflection as it Relates to CPE

Report
Theological Reflection as it
Relates to CPE Curriculum:
Advances in Theory and Practice
Who I Am Now







United Methodist clergywoman of 30 years
Have served as pastor, associate pastor, chaplain and contract
supervisor
Have been married, had children, divorced and remarried
Have never worked fulltime since having my first child 20 years
ago.
Youngest son presented with psychiatric special needs in
2004 at the age of 8.
He was hospitalized 8 times between 2004 and 2010.
After 6 hospitalizations since March, he presently resides
in a residential treatment program, our having given up
custody to the state to afford his treatment.
Theological Reflection as it
Relates to CPE Curriculum:
Advances in Both Theory and Practice
Saying “Yes”
to God’s Invitation
COGNITIVE
(Understanding)


How is theological reflection important to CPE curriculum
How is it important to the learning and pastoral experience as
designed by the curriculum.
EXPERIENTIAL
(How to do it)



Not just how to do theological reflection
How to listen to and internalize the spiritual message
How to live in such a way that reflecting theologically makes a
difference in our relationships
ACPE Standards
regarding theological reflection

Terms and Definitions– ‘theological reflection’ does not appear.

Standards—’theological reflection’ is mentioned one time, in
APPENDIX 2 (Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy,
page 29, Section III, Pastoral) PAS9: The Candidate for
certification must facilitate theological reflection in the practice of
pastoral care.

Accreditation Manual— ‘theological reflection’ appears one
time in APPENDIX 6 B (Sample: Clinical Pastoral Education
Alumni(ae) Questionnaire, page 81) where it asks the alum to
« Identify program components you felt were particularly strong
(indicate with “S”) and those that were not helpful (“NH”). »

Certification Manual— ‘theological reflection’ does not appear.
What Makes Theological Reflection
so Difficult?


It has the word THEOLOGY in it
It has the word REFLECTION in it
THEOLOGY


The intimidation factor
Cognitive process where one considers
and articulates an understanding of
theological concepts as they pertain to
human experiences
Often about very personal and
intimate matters of the heart
REFLECTION

Not to be rushed into or through





Microwaveable society
Tankless hotwater heaters
Seconds to comminicate around the world
Bigger, better, faster
Be still and know



Meet certain quotas of patients per day
Have department meetings
PDA’s filled with just enough breaks to get to next
meeting
Splitting of Mind and Spirit
Is this Helpful ?






The psyche job is to create links and associations in the
interest of intergration, wholeness and personal
intergrity.
In pastoral care, the extreme/trauma often becomes a
matter of course.
All elements of the trauma cannot be present at once
In trauma, the psyche often does not link, but splits, in
order to protect itself.
In trauma the psyche’s goal is survival, not integration.
Pastoral caregiver called to hold more of the elements
than individual members can assimilate
Splitting of Mind and Spirit
How might it be unhelpful?



Ideas, constructs and systematic theologies have little
currency within the traumatized psyche since they only serve
the splitting function of trauma.
For the traumatized chaplain, even more so the traumatized
patient or family,
rationalizing
the trauma
may lead to isolation
and shutting down.
Rationalization may numb or isolate the affect but not provide
a pathway for the trauma to lead to any real, lasting new
meaning or reorganization.
THE KEY
Simple
Profound
Subjective
Objective
way to reflect on powerful experiences during
the immediacy of the moment
Favorite 10 Definitions
for Theological Reflection
10. Blah
9. Blah
8. Blah
7. Blah
6. Blah
5. Blah
4. Blah
3. Blah
2. Blah
1.
a self-conscious, intentional act in which one
seeks to know God and be known by God so
that one can love God and others as God loves
Heather A. Warren, Joan L. Murray and Mildred M. Best (2002) 'The discipline and habit of theological reflection.' Journal of Religion and Health Vol. 41, No. 4. Winter p. 324
Theological Reflection Exercise

Saying “YES” to God’s invitation



To relationship with God
To relationship with God’s children
To relationship with ourselves
Saying “Yes” to God’s Invitation
Starting point must include………..



Every single encounter, moment, experience is an
invitation from the divine to meet the divine.
In order to have this communion with God, one must
trust one’s free associations.
Our free associations are the silent conversations of the
Holy inviting us, guiding us toward relationship.
After the encounter
Take Four Steps
Relationships
Scriptures
Meanings
Implications
RELATIONSHIPS





Reflecting on the encounter, let your free associations identify the
relationships impacting the encounter.
NOT just among the people physically present or even alive.
May be between a person and an inanimate object or a concept.
Don’t forget about systems or faith traditions, etc.
Name relationships in most simple form possible, i.e.
mother and son not Mrs. Carter and John
or patient and chaplain not young woman from Ohio and Sam.
SCRIPTURE





Forget the particularities of the encounter; look only at relationships.
What scriptural free associations arise from the relationships
Describe the scriptural story in a phrase, i.e. Jacob wrestling with the angel.
Do this without much fore or after thought.
Do not just go down the list—listen to your free associations.
SCRIPTURE





Forget the particularities of the encounter; look only at relationships.
What scriptural free associations arise from the relationships
Describe the scriptural story in a phrase, i.e. Jacob wrestling with the angel.
Do this without much fore or after thought.
Do not just go down the list—listen to your free associations.
MEANING




DON’T think about the encounter OR the relationships…..look only at the
scripture
What are the free associations that arise regarding the descriptive phrases?
What meaning do you discern from looking at the phrase?
Listen to the Holy in your free associations—exegesis and commentaries
have no place here.
MEANING




DON’T think about the encounter OR the relationships…..look only at the
scripture
What are the free associations that arise regarding the descriptive phrases?
What meaning do you discern from looking at the phrase?
Listen to the Holy in your free associations—exegesis and commentaries
have no place here.
IMPLICATIONS

Brings us full circle………………
Look only at the meanings, the messages born from scripture through your
free associations. Imagine how, if you could have been aware of them in
the moment, how these spiritual insights might have shaped the
conversation.
Movie
A Pastoral Encounter





Reflect on a pastoral encounter.
Quickly list the relationships
Quickly let scripture arise
Quickly discern the meaning of that
scripture
Quickly think of how that/those scripture
can inform your response(s)
How Theological Reflection Exercise
Moves Us Toward Relationship
If we can learn






in the immediacy of the moment….
by way of our free associations….
to notice the relationships in the encounter….
be aware of scripture that come to mind when we think
of those relationships….
listen for the meaning of that/those scripture…
and let that awareness inform our pastoral response
then we will have listened to the holy and
become a bridge for the holy.
There is a
contemplative
in all of us,
almost
strangled—
but still alive,
who craves
quiet
enjoyment of
the Now, and
longs to touch
the seamless
garment of
silence which
makes us
whole.
Alan Tory

similar documents