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Special Issue "Spiritual Exemplars"

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A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. W. George Scarlett

Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 617 6273503
Interests: faith development, spiritual development,spiritual exemplars, moral and religious-spiritual development, and problematic spirituality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

History is filled with examples of persons exceptional for their spirituality.  Lincoln, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, these and other current and historical figures are acknowledged to be spiritual exemplars not only by their own culture but also by cultures from around the world.  Spiritual exemplars provide, then, a special opportunity to define and understand spiritual development in general and positive spiritual development in particular.  Furthermore, the study of spiritual exemplars can shed light on important developmental issues pertaining to spirituality, in particular the issues of how humans come to integrate faith and reason and develop their own special pattern of faith while showing respect for other patterns.  This special issue of Religions will provide empirical and case studies of a variety of spiritual exemplars – each demonstrating important insights into the nature of spiritual development in general.  Some will be mostly known for the way they addressed issues of social justice and community-building.  Others will be mostly known for the way they showed care for those in need or for the natural world. Of particular interest will be using spiritual exemplars to better understand the role of faith and noble purpose in identity and moral development. Finally, this special issue on spiritual exemplars will also include examples of “negative exemplars” or case studies of pathological faith and “spirituality gone awry” – so as to provide yet another way to understand spiritual development and the role of spirituality in great achievements, both good and bad.

Dr. W. George Scarlett
Guest Editor

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle New Light on a Lost Cause: Atticus G. Haygood’s Universalizing Spirituality
Religions 2012, 3(2), 357-368; doi:10.3390/rel3020357
Received: 12 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 13 April 2012 / Published: 26 April 2012
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Abstract
The American tragedy of slavery and the Civil War provides the backdrop for the exemplary spirituality of Atticus Haygood (1839–1896). The son of a Georgia slaveholder, Haygood served as a chaplain in the Confederate army. At the War’s end, he returned to Atlanta
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The American tragedy of slavery and the Civil War provides the backdrop for the exemplary spirituality of Atticus Haygood (1839–1896). The son of a Georgia slaveholder, Haygood served as a chaplain in the Confederate army. At the War’s end, he returned to Atlanta to suffer poverty and humiliation under the martial law of conquerors. His spirituality developed as a positive response to the chaos of Reconstruction. Following a mid-life transformation, he earned a national reputation as a progressive Southerner and crusader for the rights and education of former slaves. As a Southern Methodist clergyman, Haygood blended the ideals of evangelism and the social gospel, envisioning an America in which Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites joined together to build the Kingdom of God. His spirituality evolved to the “universalizing” pinnacle of James Fowler’s stages of faith, a perspective from which all persons—regardless of race, status, and place of birth—participate as equals in fellowship with a just and loving deity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Nelson Mandela and the Power of Ubuntu
Religions 2012, 3(2), 369-388; doi:10.3390/rel3020369
Received: 27 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 13 April 2012 / Published: 26 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (470 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of his South African kin of all colors against the institution of apartheid. He spent twenty-seven years fighting from within prison, only gaining his freedom when his fellow South Africans could claim it
[...] Read more.
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of his South African kin of all colors against the institution of apartheid. He spent twenty-seven years fighting from within prison, only gaining his freedom when his fellow South Africans could claim it as well. This article demonstrates how his faith, his spiritual development and his noble purpose can be conceptualized through the lens of Ubuntu: the African ethic of community, unity, humanity and harmony. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Spiritual Pathology: The Case of Adolf Hitler
Religions 2012, 3(2), 389-406; doi:10.3390/rel3020389
Received: 27 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 13 April 2012 / Published: 26 April 2012
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Abstract
Hitler had a noble purpose (to save the world) and a strong faith in the laws of Nature as he understood Nature. He was, then, a spiritual person, though his spirituality was pathological and destructive. Here, the example of Hitler, his faith, and
[...] Read more.
Hitler had a noble purpose (to save the world) and a strong faith in the laws of Nature as he understood Nature. He was, then, a spiritual person, though his spirituality was pathological and destructive. Here, the example of Hitler, his faith, and his spiritual pathology is given to both understand spiritual pathology in general and, through contrast, to understand positive spiritual development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Spiritual Identity: Personal Narratives for Faith and Spiritual Living
Religions 2012, 3(2), 251-265; doi:10.3390/rel3020251
Received: 21 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 13 April 2012
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Abstract
In this article we outline a theoretical and methodological framework for spiritual identity as meaning in folk psychology. Identity is associated with psychological elements of personality that help people manage a time-bound existence. This discussion is extended on anthropological grounds, noting that spiritual
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In this article we outline a theoretical and methodological framework for spiritual identity as meaning in folk psychology. Identity is associated with psychological elements of personality that help people manage a time-bound existence. This discussion is extended on anthropological grounds, noting that spiritual goals are reinforced when they become symbolically self-important, often through religious ritual. This makes religious tradition and culture of monotheist exemplars centrally important to understanding idiosyncratic folk narratives like spiritual success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle John Muir and “Godful” Nature
Religions 2012, 3(2), 266-288; doi:10.3390/rel3020266
Received: 12 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 13 April 2012
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Abstract
John Muir, America’s most influential conservationist, held a special view of Nature, one that treated Nature as “Godful” and “unredeemed” because, unlike humankind, Nature has not “fallen”. It is a view that asks us to adopt a gaiacentric, not anthropocentric, perspective on our
[...] Read more.
John Muir, America’s most influential conservationist, held a special view of Nature, one that treated Nature as “Godful” and “unredeemed” because, unlike humankind, Nature has not “fallen”. It is a view that asks us to adopt a gaiacentric, not anthropocentric, perspective on our place in the universe. This article explores the meaning and development of that view and how it came to define Muir’s faith and serve his noble purpose of preserving the Wilderness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Abraham Lincoln: God’s “Instrument”
Religions 2012, 3(2), 191-209; doi:10.3390/rel3020191
Received: 22 March 2012 / Revised: 1 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 11 April 2012
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Abstract
This paper examines one example of a spiritual hero, Abraham Lincoln, to reflect on issues about spiritual development, to connect spiritual development to character, and to indicate in what ways moral and religious development define and promote spiritual development. It uses Lincoln to
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This paper examines one example of a spiritual hero, Abraham Lincoln, to reflect on issues about spiritual development, to connect spiritual development to character, and to indicate in what ways moral and religious development define and promote spiritual development. It uses Lincoln to show why spiritual maturity takes so long to develop and to show how spiritual development grows out of, rather than in parallel to, the many developments in our public and private lives. Finally, it shows the significance of being spiritual and why we should support spiritual development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Spiritual Exemplars: An Introduction
Religions 2012, 3(2), 183-190; doi:10.3390/rel3020183
Received: 12 March 2012 / Revised: 27 March 2012 / Accepted: 31 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract This essay introduces the special issue, provides criteria for evaluating spiritual exemplars, presents a case study to illustrate how spiritual exemplars can extend our knowledge of spiritual development, and makes important distinctions between types of exemplars and between positive and pathological spirituality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)
Open AccessArticle Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche: Dzogchen and Tibetan Tradition. From Shang Shung to the West
Religions 2012, 3(2), 163-182; doi:10.3390/rel3020163
Received: 9 March 2012 / Revised: 14 March 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 23 March 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In July 2011 the International Dzogchen Community celebrated its 30th Anniversary. In 1981, near Arcidosso in Tuscany (Italy), Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche founded the first community or Gar of the International Dzogchen Community. He named it “Meri-gar”, the “Community of
[...] Read more.
In July 2011 the International Dzogchen Community celebrated its 30th Anniversary. In 1981, near Arcidosso in Tuscany (Italy), Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche founded the first community or Gar of the International Dzogchen Community. He named it “Meri-gar”, the “Community of the Mountain-of-Fire”. In the 70s Chögyal Namkhai Norbu began to teach Dzogchen to his first students. Interest soon became widespread and having received invitations from all continents, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche began to travel and teach throughout the world. These last thirty years the Dzogchen Community has grown and now has thousands of members in over 40 countries and all continents. The main objective of the Community is to preserve and develop understanding of Dzogchen, as well as preserving Tibet's extraordinary cultural patrimony. The International Shang Shung Institute for Tibetan Studies was founded by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche with this aim and it was inaugurated by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in 1990. It has a rich collections of Tibetan books and manuscripts and publishes the teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. This article draws on Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s work and legacy to describe the Dzogchen Lineage and Tibetan Tradition from the very origin of the Shang Shung Culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Exemplars)

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