‘Spirituality’ at St. George’s
At St. George’s School we aim to open our pupils’ eyes to the adventure there is to be had in Education and life in general. There is, quite literally, a whole universe to investigate; and our staff are here to help our pupils’ on the next stage of their travels.
A significant part of our journeying together involves the word ‘Spirituality’ which we use a lot at St. George’s School. We have ‘Spirituality Days’, one a year for each year group. We talk about the ‘Spirituality Boards’ in our form rooms. We have ‘Spirituality Captains’, two pupils per form. But what is ‘Spirituality’?
OFSTED defines Spirituality in this way:
“Spiritual development is the development of the non-material element of a human being which animates and sustains us and, depending on our point of view, either ends or continues in some form when we die. It is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose. It is about the development of a pupil’s ‘spirit’. Some people may call it the development of a pupil’s ‘soul’; others as the development of ‘personality’ or ‘character’.” OFSTED, 2004,12
At St. George’s we have taken this to mean that there is so much more to life than what we see on the surface. As Father Richard Rohr (from the International Centre for Action and Contemplation) put it, “….spirituality is about when you discover that the inside of things – the inner life – is bigger than the outside – the entrapments of life”. There is a whole other dimension to discover.
Many of us will be familiar with Dr. Who’s TARDIS, a blue police box from the 1960s that flies through time and space taking the Doctor to one adventure after another. As any Who fan will know, the Doctor’s TARDIS is small on the outside but enormous on the inside with room after room waiting to be explored.
Spirituality and Faith
People of faith believe this is true of human beings as well. We may be finite on the outside, but the world inside us is so much bigger with lots to explore, such as: the meaning and purpose of our lives; the gift of life and the wonders of creation; the values we hold dear, the people we love and the life events that shape us. As one writer put it, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” (Teilhard Chardin)
People of faith also believe that the desire to search for meaning comes from God himself and he is much closer to us than we think. In fact the Bible says that “whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
There are many areas of overlap between the world’s main faiths. (Please see the following for further information:
Judaism and Spirituality – http://www.explorefaith.org/livingspiritually/following_a_sacred_path/jewish_spirituality.php;
Buddhism and Spirituality – http://www.explorefaith.org/steppingstones_SpiritualLife_Buddhist.htm;
Christians and Spirituality
From a Christian point of view, we know God as ‘Father’ and believe he sent his son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus showed us through his words and actions how we are to live and worship God. He died for us to make right the relationship between God and humanity, rose again to show us that new life is possible and ascended into heaven to be at God’s right hand to reign in glory. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God, alive and active in the world today, which, by the grace of God, can bring us the “life in all its fullness” (John 10:10) Jesus promised those who follow him.
A distinctively Christian approach to Spirituality emphasises ‘Jesus-likeness’ as its goal and the work of the Holy Spirit in shaping an individual to become more like him. Spiritual growth comes about through encounter, understanding and the grace of God.