Editor’s note: Christ Presbyterian Church pastor, Rev. Pat Bailey, is working on a doctoral degree focusing on spirituality and nature. Pat invites listeners to share his journey and his thoughts about our post-modern religious setting, our experiences of Spirit in nature, and the daunting task of doing theology in a post-metaphysical world. The challenge he addresses in his doctoral program is expressed in the opening paragraph of the dissertation, as follows.

“Many  living in Telluride, Colorado, are disaffected with Christianity, but are nonetheless seeking spiritual meaning and depth for their lives. As with many contemporary North Americans, their search tends to be  pluralistic, experiential, and affirming of nature. Many are particularly concerned about what they perceive as a negative influence from Christianity upon the larger culture’s attitude toward the earth, as well as a Christian worldview that often is exclusive rather than pluralistic, authoritatively propositional rather than experiential, and dualistic rather than naturalistic. Christians in Telluride share many of the sentiments of their neighbors and struggle to integrate their spirituality with their tradition and to present a positive witness in their community.  A refocusing of mission and witness is needed both for the church’s self-understanding and its proclamation in a late-modern, globalized context.

Many of these points were affirmed in my recorded interviews with Telluride residents.

Specific questions asked in the interviews were:
1. What is your concept of spirituality?
2. How is your spirituality related to nature?
3. What sources or traditions have you found helpful to your spirituality?
4. How do you view the church and Christian tradition in regard to nature and spirituality?

I wonder what your response is to the opening statement above and what your answers would be to the questions I asked my interviewees? “

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