The Spiral Process of Doing Theology
Consolation in nature became a source of refuge from the many pressures of urban life that seem to overwhelm all the senses with noise, stress, and multidimensional stimulus. Nature provides rest, tranquillity, and peace that no other external source could provide. Through the spiral process in theology, the initial step is through a recollection of the experience (Green, 2009: 19). Respect, openness, and generosity of heart are all important for exploring and extracting a theological theme that goes around the group through the individual personal experience of nature (2009, 21).
In every month of gathering together, part of the group activity involves a sharing of the previous month’s experience, particularly in living the faith in their own homes, universities, communities, or workplace. This sharing provides a chance of inspiring others or at times, support others in the group who are struggling and having issues in any aspect of their lives. As they live in different situations, understanding and awareness of living conditions of each other bind them closer as a family with the same mission in life.
With the help of a religious sister and the founder of Casa Velha, the group reflects on a monthly theme coming from the Gospels or Christian teachings and relate them to their experiences. Green points out the activity of reflection as the third stage of the theology spiral (2009, 22). Each member of the Attravesados reflects on the theme and finds a message that connects in her own life experience. The group are deeply prayerful, attentive to each other’s sharing, and open to the movement of the Spirit in their lives that is visible in the group. The final part of the theology spiral is responding to God’s invitation according to the movement of the Spirit through the prayer leaders and the whole group. They all agree to individually respond fully to God’s call on a day to day encounters with other people and nature outside the comfort of Casa Velha. The following month they come back to Casa Velha and carry out the same pattern of activity, however, bringing with them a new story, a new experience to share. Most members of the Attravesados have been coming back to Casa Velha to do the group sharing of prayer, friendship, work and connection with nature, and service to outer communities. They find life more fulfilling by fully trusting God’s constant love and care especially to those close to their hearts and to those they serve.
Browning, D. (2000) Pastoral Theology in a Pluralistic Age in Pastoral and Practical Theology edited by James Woodward & Stephen Pattison. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Cahalan, K. (2010) Pastoral Theology or Practical Theology? Limits and Possibilities in Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology edited by James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, David Lonsdale. London: SCM Press
Green, Laurie (2009) Let’s Do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.