Spirituality : Connecting to the Spiritual World in Sacred and Secular Spaces
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The author uses the methodology of Kathy Charmaz, known as grounded theory to explore some of the main features that enhance or detract from spiritual moments. In order to do this, I had to design a project that would cover realms of space and spirituality. In phase one, four members from two Presbyterian churches in Kalamazoo were recruited for participation in the project; two members from a traditional styled church building, and two members from a storefront church. This provides a way of analyzing how the two different home church spaces might impact the places where the four individuals interact with the spiritual world in their daily lives. Over a period of two weeks, the participants were asked to take photos of the specific places they experienced spiritual moments and write a journal entry about each photo. Phase one ended with initial coding and analysis of each photo and each journal entry from all four participants. Phase one resulted with some tentative directors of inquiry which shaped phase two. The second phase began with the development of questions for the interviews after collecting the photos, using the codes that were developed in phase one. The researcher and participants met for individual one-hour interviews at Kalamazoo College that were designed to provide more data on areas of interest revealed from the initial coding. Next, phase three began with coding the interview transcripts. In this phase, codes were created and moved around to try to form a better thesis about what the major features guiding spirituality were. Phase three ended with looking at academic literature, the generation of project findings, and finally the creation of further questions to study on the topic of spirituality. So, what are some of the features that can influence an individual to have a spiritual moment in both sacred and secular spaces? The data suggests that features such as a spiritual connection through people, God, or nature are the most important factors in one's spiritual life, the participants in this project have taken pictures in many various types of spaces that can be both considered secular and sacred based on the definitions of the terms. People can have a spiritual experience anywhere. A secular space can become a sacred one if the connections are there to allow a spiritual connection. All in all, the data implies that these four participants place importance on a physical space if, and only if, they are able to have a spiritual connection through people, God, or nature that causes that space to be personally sacred in their lives.
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