A Model of Spiritual and Psychological Development: A Korean Wesleyan Perspective on the Significance of Community
This project provides a concrete theory and effective theological model of spiritual and psychological development for contemporary Korean Christians. Three interconnected major challenges of Korean spiritual and psychological development are presented and investigated: the challenge of narcissism and the formation of the self; the challenge of religious and cultural identity formation; and the challenge of the embodiment of religious beliefs and practices. Strengths and weaknesses of a popular model, James W. Fowler’s faith development theory (FDT) are also carefully and critically reviewed and evaluated concerning current situation in the Korean church and society. In developing a theory and model, this dissertation engages in serious psychoanalytic, anthropological, theological explorations in order to correct, complement, and embellish FDT. Key concepts such as selfobject, friendship, communitas, habitus, jeong, grace, and sanctification are introduced and explored in depth. Among these terms, jeong and grace have particularly deeper cultural and theological meanings as the energy for lifelong spiritual and psychological development. In this dissertation, I argue that the dynamics of jeong and grace in dialectic divine-human, and human-human relationships are necessary for Korean spiritual and psychological development, and propose a long-term small group dynamic model within the faith community as an ideal matrix for the formation of the self, identity, and change of daily practices. The proposed model is the harmonious combination of group spiritual discipline and psychotherapy, and provides the experiences of egalitarian, intimate dynamics to those of family members or friends where participants can grow with energy of grace and jeong. This dissertation claims the need for a faith community as a foundation for small groups and a bridge between small groups and the wider society. The ultimate goal of spiritual and psychological development is the interplay of personal growth and communal and social transformation.