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Spiritual formation occurs in the routines of daily living. We are formed by choices made at the grocery store, as we reach for our medicine cabinet, as we consider whether to drive ten minutes or walk thirty. Such seemingly insignificant choices reflect assumptions held about who we are, and how we are supposed to live in the world. Spiritual formation, like notions of civic duty, develops from within a cultural context. Cultural environments give us largely unquestioned taken-for- granted assumptions about how the world is and how we should live in it. This essay explores three of the many Western 21st century assumptions (the autonomous self eradicating pain, and overvaluing efficiency) that affect spiritual formation. Knowing how we are seeing a thing helps us better interpret what we are seeing and how it influences decisions we make. The hope is that in knowing, we can make choices with more intention, understanding that our decisions shape and form our soul.


Originally published in Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Volume: 10 issue: 2, page(s): 147-158, November 1, 2017.