spirituality began with such Christian thinkers as
Søren Kierkegaard, Rudolf Bultmann, and Paul Tillich. This form of
spirituality springs from an awareness of our Existential Predicament,
which we experience as existential depression, loneliness, anxiety,
absurdity, insecurity, splitting, meaninglessness, and despair.
Our individual spiritual development may be measured by the degree
to which we acknowledge and embrace our Existential Dilemma.
And even the denial of our absurdity, emptiness, and meaninglessness
may manifest a spiritual sensitivity we sometimes prefer to escape.
Existential spirituality begins by naming the nameless dread,
describing our Malaise, and our usual ways of coping with it,
and then seeking pathways to life on the other side of despair.
I. Gaining Spiritual Sensitivity
1. Becoming open to our deeper dimensions.
2. Enhancing our subjectivity.
3. Moving beyond the objective mentality.
4. Moments of Vision—nature, history, art, inwardness.II. Our Existential Predicament, Malaise, or Dilemma
Existential anxiety (angst) distinguished from simple fear:
1. general description—intelligible fears vs. vague dread.
2. cause—intelligible problems vs. free-floating anxiety.
3. duration—temporary worries vs. persistent state-of-being.
4. scope—limited to one dimension of life vs. pervasive.
5. cure—problems we can handle vs. the insoluble Dilemma.A few other common ways of experiencing our Malaise:
existential depression, loneliness, meaninglessness.
III. Moments of Disclosure of our Existential Predicament
1. When normal securities collapse.
2. Distortions and exaggerations of our psychological problems.
3. Encounters with death.IV. Our Attempts to Manage our Malaise
1. The flight from spirit.
2. Psychological interpretations.
3. Busyness and preoccupation.
4. Authentic Existence.V. Becoming Open to Life Beyond Our Existential Predicament
1. Becoming Convinced of the Depth of our Malaise.
2. Giving Up Psychological Means of Coping.
3. Existential Surrender.James Park is an existential philosopher.
Back to Top 40 Sermon Subjects by James Park.