A price list of Resources and Postage Rates are attached below. Thank you. Peter.
0. The price of Living Spirituality and its features?
1. What resources are contained in Series 1?
2. Why were these topics chosen for Series 1 and in this particular order?
3. What topics are planned for Series 2 due in 2020? Can you provide an example of what one sample chapter outline might look like?
4. What is the Quadrivial metaapproach for spirituality and its four movements, and ideally how should this model and its materials be ‘taught’?
5. What was the origin of these resources?
6. Why do we need materials such as Living Spirituality? What is unique about them?
7. What do some of the commentators cited in the booklet say about Living Spirituality – Series 1?
8. In what ways will the chapters of Living Spirituality – Series 1 stretch my understandings of religious traditions, narratives, disciplines and virtues?
9. How do I find out more about the above topics or various aspects of the website?
10. What is the point of including the three icons in the text? I just want the information!
11. What are some possible applications for the additional subscription resources of Art Images and Academic articles, both by Peter Mudge?
12. Do these materials require an official ‘Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur’?
13. What is the meaning behind the Living Spirituality logo? What does ‘TC’ stand for?
14. What if I have further questions after reading these FAQs?
for Living Spirituality –Series 1 (book and website)
Updated 15 February 2022
The latest price list is included on this page of the website (see attachments below). The price of individual books takes account of the facts that the book is not only unique in Australia and the world, but is self-published, is printed in full colour, and is specifically designed as a theoretical and practical text for Australian teachers and parishioners. It will be available as an EBook on the Living Spirituality website, which is at www.thelivingspirituality.com.au
Series 1 aims to provides some of the basic resources for spirituality that could be useful in the classroom or parish.
Contents of Series 1
Foreword (Professor Br David Hall FMS, Dean, La Salle Academy for Faith Formation & Religious Education, ACU)
How to use this book
Introduction – to Quadrivial spirituality
Chapter 1 – Introduction to Christian spirituality
Chapter 2 – Ecological spirituality and conversion
Chapter 3 – Christian Breathing Meditation
Chapter 4 – The Jesus Prayer
Chapter 5 – The Jewish Jesus
Chapter 6 – Lectio Divina
Conclusion – Summary of Series 1 and preview of Series 2 (published in 2020).
Refer to the chapter topics for Series 2 and 3 in that section of the website.
It is understandable that Series 1 commences with ‘How to use this book’ and a brief introduction to ‘Quadrivial spirituality’. The same applies to ‘Chapter 1 – Introduction to Christian spirituality’. The decision to follow with ‘Chapter 2 – Ecological spirituality and conversion’ stemmed from the belief that the earth and its resources are fundamental to all spiritual traditions. If the earth does not exist and is not cared for – people, cultures, religions, spiritualities and so on, will simply not continue to exist. Breath is fundamental to human existence and to the Abrahamic traditions (and all traditions) – hence its inclusion in the form of ‘Chapter 3 – Christian Breathing Meditation’. The Holy Spirit is the source of all life, all spirituality, all breathing, and every single movement of Quadrivial spirituality.
Breathing and mantra prayer links directly with ‘Chapter 4 – The Jesus Prayer’. This is one example of a ‘lost’ and neglected tradition in Western Christianity but maintained for centuries within Eastern or Orthodox Christianity (another example is the spirituality of the Holy Icons). This then flows directly into ‘Chapter 5 – The Jewish Jesus’. Without this background to SF and the Scriptures, the focus on ‘Chapter 6 – Lectio Divina’ would be all the poorer. Series 1 concludes with projected topics for Series 2, which will be formulated by taking feedback from subscribers and the Living Spirituality Australian network into consideration. Which leads naturally to the next FAQ.
Refer to the Series 2 details on this website.
This is explained in the brief ‘Introduction’ page following the ‘How to use this book’ chapter. Quadrivial or ‘four rivers’ spirituality is a metaaproach, meaning ‘a way of operating’ or a ‘framework to use’ in the teaching context. It has four ‘movements’ which are Spiritual Traditions, Narratives, Disciplines and Virtues (ST, SN, SD, SV). All four movements are essential for cultivating a living, integrated spirituality. Let me say more about these ‘movements’ and how the Quadrivial model, in my view, ought to be taught.
In his writings on ‘shared Christian praxis’, Thomas Groome (1998) describes a ‘metaapproach’ as ‘an overarching perspective and mode for proceeding that can be readily adapted to a great variety of teaching/learning occasions…’ (p.2). Elsewhere he considers the associated term of ‘movement’: ‘I use the term movement intentionally. It implies that shared praxis is a free-flowing process to be orchestrated, much like the movements of a symphony or a dance. The movements have a logical sequence…but in an actual event [or application] they overlap, recur, and recombine in other sequences’ (p.146). They are ‘dynamic activities and intentions to be consistently honoured over time rather than “steps” in a lockstep procedure’ (p.279). These movements can only be rendered intelligible within a concrete and intentional learning event – such as a class, seminar, sermon, retreat, lecture, or in a discussion about a particular virtue such as courage (p.146). Here I am applying ‘metaapproach’ and ‘movement’ to Spiritual Formation (SF) and the Quadrivial Model.
Given the above, I would strongly suggest that the Quadrivial model not be programmed or turned into a series of outcomes, indicators, a pedagogical teaching cycle, or lesson plans – least of all dot points! I believe that this would lead to the slow demise and eventual extinction of both the Quadrivial Model and spiritual formation in the classroom, school, staff meeting or parish. It should be ‘cultivated’ in such a way that it is threaded as a series of ‘markers’, ‘intentions’ or ‘touchstones’ through appropriate school activities (the total curriculum), and deemed ‘successful’ when students can express it independently in their own spirituality and lives, without the teacher – as lectio divina or sacred reading, examen, mindful walking, and so on.
The materials originated with the desire to address a lacuna or gap in materials for teachers in the highly important area of spirituality or spiritual formation (SF). There is no resource quite like Living Spirituality in either Australia or the world, focused on spiritual formation, and directed specifically towards teachers, parishioners and similar others. While there are rich resources available for teaching Religious Education, this is often not the case for SF. There are some useful resources available on topics such as lectio divina, mindful walking, and related areas. However, more are needed in other areas such as Christian breathing meditation, the Jesus Prayer, the Examen, journalling, praying with icons, and haiku (just to name some SDs or spiritual disciplines). In addition, SF resources often do not achieve a satisfying integration between the Abrahamic traditions (see the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate, n.2), the traditions narratives, disciplines and virtues. This manner of integrating these four movements is unique to this Living Spirituality resource. More unique features are noted in the next FAQ
We need the Living Spirituality materials to provide information, theory and practice, and reliable practical activities in the classroom. We require those materials to be well resourced, based on the latest academic writings, and linked to all aspects of the Christian tradition with echoes across the other Abrahamic traditions of Judaism and Islam, as well as other rich traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism. We need such resources to show teachers how to teach the Christian tradition in particular in light of its disciplines and virtues – such as the SDs of lectio divina, Christian breathing meditation, and labyrinth; and SVs of humility, service, detachment and compassion.
What has just been stated above is part of the uniqueness of the Living Spirituality materials. Other expressions of this uniqueness are: the Quadrivial metaapproach itself and its four movements; the way that the materials integrate Christianity, Judaism and Islam in particular; treatment of both male and female saints and guides from all traditions (in both text and illustration formats); inclusion of figures, disciplines and virtues from both Eastern and Western Christianity; as well as Teacher tips, Did you know boxes and Scholar’s corner tips across the materials. The materials are also unique in integrating all the above with up-to-date teacher resources, academic articles, YouTube clips, websites and even children’s book suggestions. Wherever possible Living Spirituality (website and the hardcopy book, available mid-September 2019) includes Australian Aboriginal as well as post-1788 perspectives on SF (e.g. Aboriginal breathing meditation examples in Chapter 3).
The resources are primarily situated in the Australian context but applicable to other contexts. Each chapter suggests practical ways to teach the tradition, its narratives, disciplines and virtues. It provides reflection questions and staff professional development ideas. It is very conscious of fusing theory and practice, action and contemplation, and the transcendent and immanent domains. Where crucial background is required prior to teaching a topic, these resources provide that background (e.g. consult Chapter 5, the Jewish Jesus prior to reading Scripture and employing lectio divina – which is the final Chapter 6 in Series 1).
Here are some of the common themes referred to in both the Front and End Matter sections of the book. Observations from specialists in Religious Education and Spirituality include: it informs its readers about the great spiritual thinkers and writers, it is both theoretical and practical, and allows readers to integrate ancient wisdom into their lives and to find a multitude of ways ‘home’. The ‘Foreword’ by Professor Br David Hall, FMS, observes that Living Spirituality balances the twin human spiritual needs to see God and to love God, displayed by Saints Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure respectively. Br David also cites the words of Pope Francis that authentic spirituality like that of Bonaventure helps to ‘pull us up’ into the presence and very divine activity of God. He concludes that the text will save teachers the time, in a sense, that they do not have, to furnish them with the necessary theoretical and practical insights of Christianity and the other Abrahamic traditions.
Finally, in the closing pages of Living Spirituality, the ‘Afterword’ notes the manner in which the four touchstones of the Quadrivial approach address the theoretical foundations of Abrahamic and other traditions (ST & SN) while the last two movements of SD and SN cement the practical applications of those traditions and narratives. The recurrent text features of ‘Teacher Tips’, ‘Did you know’ boxes, and ‘Scholars Corner’ turn the teacher again and again to the concrete applications of spiritual formation. In addition, the book is firmly rooted in the Australian Indigenous and demographic contexts, while the illustrations and captions enhance the pages of each chapter. It shares some of the author’s insights into spiritual practice and employs symbolic creatures such as the spider and cow as models of this spiritual acumen. In addition, the text provides ample resource links in the form of web sites and YouTubes, as well as pointers to children’s literature. In terms of all the above, it is similar in scope and focus to the 2013 YOUCAT English, Youth Prayer Book, with both written in the spirit of an inclusive Catholicism, Christianity, and interfaith focus.
This will happen in many ways. Depending on what tradition (if any) you belong to and what your exposure has been to the disciplines of scripture, history, theology and spirituality, your present understandings will be enlarged in some way – also depending on whether you immerse yourself in the book or web version of Living Spirituality. Only a selection of available STs, SNs, SDs and SVs is provided in this section. For example, you will become more familiar with ‘echoes’ or parallels between the Abrahamic spiritual traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) as well as Aboriginal, Buddhist, Celtic Christian, and other traditions. In terms of spiritual narratives you will be exposed to the inspiring stories of Martha and Mary, Benedict, Augustine, the ‘Nones’, Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Keating, Pope Francis, Denis Edwards, Tapduk Emre, Kateri Tekakwitha, Gregory Palamas, Abba Anthony, Bilal, Rumi, Rabi’a, Mary the Mother of God, Kallistos Ware, Michael Casey, Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin Luther, and Susan Muto.
In relation to spiritual disciplines you will encounter ‘paying attention’, prayer, sacred music, lectio divina, visio divina and related approaches, the Jesus prayer, mindful walking, tikkun ‘olam, breathing meditation, gratitude, hesychasm, praying with the prayer rope, the art of Jewish-Christian dialogue, and recognizing the Jewish Jesus in the Scriptures. And finally, in connection with spiritual virtues, you will be encouraged to cultivate ‘cleaving to God’, ecological conversion, silence and solitude, humility, awe, reverence and wonder, presence, watchfulness (nepsis), discernment, contemplation, and paying attention.
Wherever possible there is a brief sample of each topic or set of resources referred to. For example, there is a sample of each chapter, a short and long explanation of what you can expect to find in that chapter (e.g. Chapter 3 – Christian Breathing Meditation, and every other chapter prepared for subscribers). The same applies to Art Images and Academic Articles. For the latter, a section might be shown from my ‘Meditative knowing’ or my ‘Breathing meditation’ articles so that the viewer can see the abstract of that article and the first page or so. The two aspects that hold the entire website together is the concept of a Living Spirituality (combining theory and practice, action and contemplation) and the Quadrivial spirituality metaapproach.
The Living Spirituality resources are designed to be practical, relevant and applicable for teachers, parishioners and students – and even for online lecturers and tertiary students who wish to benefit from them. The dynamic of theory combined with practice, action combined with contemplation, and similar combinations, is extremely important for these resources. The icons give readers ideas on how to apply the materials, how to address important questions, and how the ideas and the Quadrivial metaapproach link to up-to-date academic writings and insights (see the “Scholar’s Corner” icon). Understanding and practice of SF is often in short supply in schools and parishes. These resources aim to address that diminishing presence of SF.
There are many possible applications. The Art Images could be used for prayer sheets, liturgy booklets, or on school websites and other materials. They could be built into bookmarks and laminated for students. Some could be developed with discussion questions for students. Discussion starters are typically included with each artwork. Refer to the price list on this page of the website.
The Academic Articles cover a vast array of subjects which complement the Living Spirituality resources. For example, past and recent academic articles are or will be available on Meditative thinking, Breathing meditation, Arts, spirituality and religious education, the spirituality and pedagogy of Thomas Merton, and many other topics. With respect to both Art Images and Academic articles, the sky is the limit, and the possible applications are limited only by the students’, teachers’ and schools’ imaginations.
My advice from experts in the area, consistent with The Code of Canon Law, can. 827 #2, is that, because these materials are not intended for use as a Catholic classroom text, no nihil obstat or imprimatur is required. In addition, all Catholic materials are cited with permission directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church or from documents by various Popes or official Catholic bodies. All scripture quotes are included with permission from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. All views expressed are based on the work of reputable theologians and commentators. A wide range of views is included in the resources. The materials also span multiple religious traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and others.
The Living Spirituality logo shows a person in a small boat crossing a river with the letters TC on the stern. TC stands for ‘Threshold Concepts’ and points to spirituality as a process of crossing thresholds, such as from values to virtues, or the Western Jesus to the Jewish Jesus. This is the purpose of the site’s materials. The person in the boat is also a pilgrim crossing a river, from the ‘old concept’ side to the ‘new concept’ side. He is in the middle which is a position of vulnerability but also growth and new life. The full logo, from which this image has been stripped down, showed a bridge in the background – the Richmond Bridge in Richmond, Tasmania, established on the Coal River. This is the town to which the author’s maternal great great grandfather was sent to serve a convict sentence of 10 years commencing 1844.
There is the facility to send messages to me before or after you have subscribed to the relevant Series. If the above FAQs don’t answer your specific question, please send me a brief question directly to my email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I sincerely hope you enjoy the Living Spirituality resources Series 1 and Series 2, especially by expanding your knowledge and interacting with them both theoretically and practically. I particularly hope that your teaching colleagues/parishioners and your students benefit in a concrete way from these resources.
Once again for all resources and free teacher/parish articles see the menus on this website: www.thelivingspirituality.com.au
With very best wishes
Dr Peter Mudge BADipEd, DTheol, Honorary Research Associate, Sydney College of Divinity
[these pages updated 15 February 2022]
The authors and his company acknowledge the Darug nation and its individual Burramattagal and Toongagal clans (past, present and yet to emerge) as the Traditional Custodians of the land that we live and work on. We are committed to the journey towards Recognition, Equality, Justice and Reconciliation as detailed in The Uluru Statement from the Heart or Makarata. Refer to: https://ulurustatement.org/the-statement This website is Copyright © 2022 Dr Peter Mudge to whom all titles and materials for Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters to Our Children belong as the original author.
The logo above shows a figure on a boat crossing a threshold river. TC stands for Threshold Concept. This applies to all of the Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters books.
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