The Spiral is a tool for theological action/reflection used at CCS.
In the Spiral Model you start by thinking about a Concrete Experience you have had. You then explore the emotions and senses associated with that experience. Following this you think about the patterns, ideas, and connections arising from this experience. Finally you determine a course of action (leading to new experiences to be reflected upon).
Concrete Experience (C. E.)
DESCRIBE AN EXPERIENCE
- impactful (+ or -)
- an “aha” (insight)
- one specific activity
- one concept
Reflective Observation (R. O.)
EXPLORE EMOTIONS AND SENSES
- My feelings/behaviour/leadership
- What did I see and hear in the environment of the setting?
- How I saw/see others in this experience?
- How do I perceive others see themselves?
- What are the tensions in me/others/the situation?
- How does this experience affirm my prior assumptions/ideas/skills/experience/knowledge?
- How does this experience unsettle and challenge my prior assumptions/beliefs/
Abstract Conceptualization (A. C.)
NAMING IDEAS, PATTERNS AND CONNECTIONS
- What does this experience mean/say to me? personally/professionally
- Explore: theoretical readings, articles, scholarship/research biblical connections, stories, images, teachings theological reflections… sin, grace, presence of God, hope & resurrection, incarnation, mission, ecclesiology, etc., social analysis questions: who is benefiting, who is missing, etc., ministry implications… boundaries, mutuality, role power
Active Experimentation (A.E.)
HOW CAN I ACT?
- In what situations can I test this understanding/insight /awareness?
- Are there follow-up actions I need to take in terms of relationships (e.g. addressing conflict)?
- How would I adapt/modify my behaviour or actions in the future?
- What blocks and supports are there to action?
- What alternative strategies are there for action?
- What are the implications (for me/others) in not taking action?
- What reading/research/resources can I discover for more depth and understanding?
- What skills/knowledge/values do I need to acquire?
Dr. Lori Stewart, a grad of CCS, has written extensively about the Spiral as a method of action/reflection. Some of her tips for writing a spiral reflection.