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Three Historic Streams of Spirituality

In the past few decades, a new historical trend has been quietly playing out. Refugees from Christian liberalism have been finding each other in a powerful new Convergence, focusing on how the earliest Christians practiced their faith. This resurgence of interest in historic Christianity became known as the "Convergence Movement." In studying both scripture and extant documents, we can discover three distinct movements of the Holy Spirit within the historic church. Unfortunately, as is often the case, one particular focus can become particularly prominent. 

The Three Historic Streams have been:

  1. Liturgical/Sacramental

  2. Contemplative, and

  3. Charismatic


We find that the essence of the historic faith can be found somewhere in the middle. This is where we find convergence and continuity with our Christian roots. To be clear, there are other subsets of each stream, but these are the basic categories. Our own attempt at convergence isn’t simply a watered-down attempt to find “middle ground” for the sake of getting along. Instead, it is a dynamic and sometimes chaotic journey through a new wilderness, where those alienated or estranged from their native traditions on the Left and the Right are drawn to find ancient Biblical faith that works in the modern world. 

Historic Catholicism speaks in terms of being "One" -- as in one body of believers, "Holy" -- seeking the divine will, and, "Apostolic" -- following the teachings and traditions handed down to us from bishop to bishop, since Apostolic times. This focus encompasses our liturgical and sacramental stream. Catholic Christians have always believed that the specific role of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church is to empower us for ministry, as well as providing special gifts such as grace, faith, knowledge, and even healing. The contemplative stream is about seeking a deeper relationship with God via prayer.

Above all else, the challenge we face in converging these three streams of spiritual focus is finding and maintaining balance. As the apostle Paul warned, we must not allow any, one aspect to slip into disorder and confusion.

++Michael Callahan

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