Personal Faith with a Passion

This workshop teaches participants how to clarify their faith in a systematic fashion. It is not about teaching people what to believe. The participants are given a tool and a technique to use for the rest of their lives as they explore spiritual matters and deepen their faith. This is an intentional effort to show participants how to know and express in many different ways what they truly believe. The premise of this workshop is that everybody needs a spiritual house of faith. The house should be made of belief bricks to withstand the tough times of life. Participants make their bricks themselves out of the clay of their experiences and the straw of religious information.

Session 1
How to Build Your Spiritual House of Faith
The first issue is about the importance of faith knowledge, knowing what one’s personal beliefs are. Then, using the story of the Three Little Pigs, the technique to be used in the workshop is explained and illustrated.

Session 2
Massaging Your Clay to Understand Your Spiritual Experiences
Participants begin by describing some of the pictures in their spiritual photo album, the most graphic memories burned into their brains in still life. The task is to determine whether God was present or absent in those pictures. The next task is to remember the people in whose faces they have seen the face of God. Then we ask how they have experienced God in nature and life events. This is followed by exploring their favorite fictional stories in which they may have seen glimpses of attributes of God. At the end of this session, the stress is on the need for integrity between the way participants pray and what they believe about God.

Session 3
Sorting Through Old Straw for Spiritual Messages from Your Past
Religious information comes from many sources, some good and some bad. The challenge is to sort through this straw to identify the good straw to use and the bad straw to throw away. Since most church people believe what they have been told to believe or what they are supposed to believe, this task is very important. First, participants deal with naming their theological profess-ors who taught them what they believe. Do they really believe now what they were taught? Then, which hymns and spiritual songs have influenced their faith the most? They are urged to examine carefully the words of their favorite hymns to see if beliefs sneaked in the back door of their houses of faith.

Session 4
Gathering New Straw from Current Spiritual Messages
In this session, participants deal with the following questions: What do you believe about the authority and inspiration of the Bible? What do you believe about the divinity of Jesus?
What do you believe about the humanity of Jesus? What do you understand Holy Spirit to be? Do you really understand and believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? How many concepts are there of the will of God? Options are presented as answers to some of these questions and participants are encouraged to think about which option is closest to where they are at the moment.

Session 5
Mixing Clay and Straw Together to Mold Belief Bricks
This session is also about understanding how belief bricks relate to daily experiences. Participants are asked: What is their concept of human nature? When does human life begin and end? What do they believe about the origin and working of evil? Where did the idea of the devil come from? How do they know what is moral and ethical behavior? What is their concept of salvation and how does one receive it? Where does one go from here, in the life hereafter? What does it mean to experience spiritual death and resurrection with Jesus? What is the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God? What is their concept of the nature of God right now?

Session 6
Allowing Belief Bricks to Express Themselves
Building a house of faith with belief bricks is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The end is to express one’s faith using the myriad of ways available for expression. This session is about living one’s life with spiritual integrity and purposely avoiding hypocrisy. The encouragement is to walk the talk. One special moment is spent dealing with how parents and grandparents can best express their faith to children and grandchildren. The closing challenge is for the participants to identify one article of personal faith that they believe so passionately that they would give up everything they own rather than give up that article of faith.

This workshop is all about personal spiritual development, taking a person’s faith from second-hand to first-hand, clarifying what one believes on a personal level. This workshop is about spiritual health and allows Presbyterians to understand their place in the “priesthood of all believers.” Textbooks (including the workbook) will be available for purchase at wholesale price. Workbooks will be available at no extra cost for those who do not wish to purchase a book.