Symbiotic Spirituality and young peoples identity

I have been thinking a lot about the difference between developing a symbiotic approach to spirituality with young people over an appropriation approach where the emerging spirituality of YP is taken by youth workers and without real dialogue appropriated into a christian paradigm. A bit like how everyday objects (Urinals or Beds) can be used as art when taken out of their usual context and put in a gallery.

Young people are in a constant state of paradox that is all about the discovering their identity, they are making choices, deciding who they are, imprinting and removing imprints all the time. So when we try to appropriate the spirituality we see out on the streets from young people, these young people will just see it as part of their identity formation (everyday life) which I think ties into Mayo, Collins and Nash’s Happy midi narrative. Further more as they are in the midst of identity forming that when we appropriate we are seen as “other” and perhaps part of the adult world being rejected in the turmoil of the moment. So the spirituality may be written off, or the effects of globalistion kick in and so young people see spirituality as something unobtainable. BUT in the context of relational youth work symbiotic approaches mean we change as we encounter their spirituality which fosters the space for identity construction and part of the identity search is thier search for uniqueness, which may kick in and create the conditions to mutually foster the emergent spirituality.

One thought on “Symbiotic Spirituality and young peoples identity

  1. Interesting, I agree that as we develop relationships we are (re)formed and transformed along with the Young People over time. My view has always been that we need hooks that we can together build with, my idea of a hook is often best realized through offers of prayer – especially when times of crisis arrive. We don’t need to overly explain who we are praying to and some of the YP view this as ‘thinking nice thoughts’ but prayer helps the conversation along and so (borrowing from Donovan) we could end up with a 3 way dialogue between our story, their story and the Jesus story – but that takes time and should be led by the young people if it happens at all.

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