conformed to his image

Boa, Kenneth. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Ken-BoaAuthor: Kenneth Boa

Boa outlines twelve distinct types of Christian spiritualities. He describes them each as facets to the diamond that is Christian Spirituality. The chart below provides a helpful visualization of the landscape that Boa has mapped out for us.

Boa’s Twelve Facets

Facet 1—Relational Spirituality: Loving God Completely, Ourselves Correctly, and Others Compassionately

Facet 2—Paradigm Spirituality: Cultivating an Eternal versus a Temporal Perspective

Facet 3—Disciplined Spirituality:  Engaging in the Historical Disciplines

Facet 4—Exchanged Life Spirituality: Grasping Our True Identity in Christ

Facet 5—Motivated Spirituality: A Set of Biblical Incentives

Facet 6—Devotional Spirituality: Falling in Love with God

Facet 7—Holistic Spirituality: Every Component of Life under the Lordship of Christ

Facet 8—Process Spirituality: Process versus Product, Being versus Doing

Facet 9—Spirit-Filled Spirituality: Walking in the Power of the Spirit

Facet 10—Warfare Spirituality: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

Facet 11—Nurturing Spirituality: A Lifestyle of Evangelism and Discipleship

Facet 12—Corporate Spirituality: Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship

A Chart that maps the diverse landscape of Christian Spirituality

A chart that maps the types of Christian Spirituality from Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa

this is the quote to which Boa refers:

It is very important to have a way of describing what patterns of Christian spirituality ‘look like.’ when it is possible to develop such a description we discover that there are many options to the shape and flow of our relationship with God and we can identify our own place within the much wider Christian tradition. to this end a phenomenology of prayer is helpful.

Two scales will be applied to the material of Christian spirituality. The horizontal scale is the apophatic/kataphatic scale. Briefly, this raises the question of the degree to which the ascetical method advocates an emptying (apophatic) technique of meditation or an imaginal (kataphatic) technique of meditation.

The vertical scale is the speculative/affective scale. Briefly, this raises the question of whether the spiritual method emphasizes the illumination of the mind (speculative) or the heart or emotions (affective).

By the use of these two scales it is possible to make comparisons between spiritual masters of the church and to define spiritual practice and its immediate objectives with some clarity–the assumption being that in all methods the ultimate goal is union with God. We can speak of options without being judgmental.

We can also use this phenomenology of prayer on the apophatic/kataphatic and speculative/affective scales to distinguish certain dangers of exaggeration. On the accompanying figure, not only have the two scales been defined but a circle of sensibility has been identified. Most forms of Christian spirituality will emphasize one of the four possibilities within these scales: apophatic/speculative, speculative/kataphatic, kataphatic/affective, or affective/apophatic. A sensitive spirituality will, however, maintain a certain tension with those other dimensions that are not emphasized as a corrective to an exaggerated form of prayer. “Sensibility” defines for us that sensitivity to the ambiguity of styles of prayer and the possibilities for a creative dialogue within the person and within the community as it seeks to understand the experience of God and its meaning for our world. Without that tension we fall into excesses, which are defined here as encratism, rationalism, pietism, and quietism.” (A History of Christian Spirituality: An Analytical Introduction. Urban T. Holmes, III. 3-5)


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