Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation

By: Robert Mulholland

I read through Invitation To A Journey in 2012 in one of my classes with Ohio Christian University and remembered it impacting me greatly. Here are a few of my notes from this book to act as somewhat of a summary of my key insights and reflections from it.

Chapter 5- Creation Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

  • Our gifts are not made solely for our benefit but the benefit of the body whom we benefit from as well
  • We are composed of 4 essential preferences that shape the way we relate to the world around us. These are: extraversion (E) and introversion (I); sensing (S) and intuition (N); thinking (T) and feeling (F); judgment (J) and perception (P).

  • If we are ESFP it does not mean that the person who is INTJ is wrong and we are right or vice versa. We just have different preferences. These preferences are designed to compliment and offset the others.

Chapter 6- One-Sided Spirituality

  • When we seek to develop our preferences only our “shadow side” becomes underdeveloped and will seek to express itself in unhealthy ways. A person averted to intuition who develops only the intuitive side and neglecting the sensing side will have conflict with the sensing side seeking to express itself in ways that are sensual
  • We cannot assume when recommending a plan for meditation and daily devotion what works for an INTJ will work for an ESFP.
  • One-sided Spirituality while comfortable will eventually erode our faith and lives as our underdeveloped ‘shadow-side’ gets further malnourished.
  • Shadow-side relates to that side of us we view as wrong or as evil. We seek to repress that side due to that being the side which when underdeveloped arises our evil actions.

Chapter 7- Holistic Spirituality

  • This chapter went into further detail on holistic spirituality and the need to nurture the “shadow side” included is 2 charts for mapping intended outcomes of overdevelopment in one area and underdevelopment in another with suggestions on what may be lacking for wholeness.
  • We should reflect upon what our primary preferences are and establish spiritual disciplines to develop the other side we are neglecting.
  • When leading a congregation be mindful of worship styles etc that we prefer which may only develop one side of the preferences of the congregation.

Chapter 8- The Classical Christian Pilgrimage

The classical Christian pilgrimage consists of 4 phases

  1. Awakening- this is a two-sided experience where we awaken to a deeper reality of who we are and who God is. Awakening consists of two emotions- comfort and threat where we find comfort in who God is and threat in realizing that we are unlike God in the revealed area.
  2. Purgation- This step involves renunciation of all glaring inconsistencies between us and God. The next step involves renunciation of all sins we know of that are against God’s will but which may be socially acceptable or ones that may cause our “brother” to fall as a result of us participating in. As we deal with sins God reveals more unconscious sins to us for us to deal with. This step ends with us putting our full faith and trust in God in all areas of our life.
  3. Illumination- This phase consists of seeing God as “out there” to illuminating us to the presence of God within us as a dynamic part of everything we do as we are sensitive and responsive to this understanding. Unceasing prayer, increasing social concern.
  4. Union- the components of union are:
    1. prayer of quietness- a posture of yieldedness to God’s presence
    2. dark night of the senses- surrender of the last remaining dependencies upon intellectual and emotional feedback where we go beyond “knowing” and “feeling” God as affirmation of our relationship with Him. Example here is Job.
    3. full union with God – absolute certitude of God’s union with the soul, no longer feel a need for human reinforcement or approval, they are quiet and gentle- very unobtrusive
    4. ecstatic union- a total absorption in God in which a person is no longer aware of their surroundings
    5. dark night of the spirit – the final stage of losing our ”self”
    6. Transforming union- transforming oneness with God in Christ for the sake of others

    Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation