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MONTH BY MONTH
– Before Our First Class
September (09/30/22)
Karuna – Compassion
October (10/21/22)
Dana – Generosity
November (11/11/22)
Sila – Virtue
December (12/09/22)
Nekkhama – Renunciation
January (01/13/22)
Panna – Wisdom
February (02/03-04/22)
Viriya – Energy
March (03/10/22)
Khanta – Patience
April (04/07/22)
Sacca – Truth
May (05/05/22)
Aditthana – Resolve
June (06/02/22)
Metta – Lovingkindness
July (07/07/22)
Upekkha – Equanimity

Personal Religious History

(3-5 pages)

The purpose of this writing assignment is to guide the chaplaincy student in identifying and articulating his or her own religious history, values, and attitudes. Chaplains witness a remarkably wide range of religious beliefs, practices, and communities that work together for the spiritual well being of everyone. Professional chaplaincy has always been characterized by a common commitment to cooperation and respect for every religious or spiritual belief or practice encountered in the ministry. While chaplains are never asked to violate their religious convictions, nor do they pressure others to violate their convictions, they are expected to remain sensitive to the personal, moral and spiritual needs of all people for whom they have responsibility. Therefore it is imperative for a chaplain to fully understand his or her own history, understandings, and values in regards to religion.

Note: Bring a printed copy of this assignment to our February class/retreat for review and discussion.

Part A: Questionnaire

  1. When you were a child, who or what influenced your first personal involvement with religion?
    a. Grandparent or great-grandparent
    b. Parent
    c. Brother or sister
    d. Other family member
    e. Stranger
    f. Public figure
    g. Other: _________

  2. To the best of your memory, at what age were you first aware of the concept of a higher power (i.e. God, deities, a
    synonym of your choosing)?
    a. Under three
    b. Three to five
    c. Five to ten
    d. Ten or older
    g. Other: _________

  3. When you were a child, how were religion and faith talked about in your family?
    a. Openly
    b. With some sense of discomfort
    c. Only when necessary
    d. As though it were a taboo subject
    e. Never recall any discussion
    g. Other: _________

  4. To what extent do you believe in a higher power (i.e. God, deities, a synonym of your choosing)?
    a. Strongly believe in it
    b. Tend to believe in it
    c. Uncertain
    d. Tend to doubt it
    e. Convinced it does not exist
    g. Other: _________

  5. What is your attitude about religion in general?
    a. It is inherently valuable and good
    b. It has strong components but is also limited
    or not useful
    c. It is not valuable nor useful
    d. Other: _________

  6. To what extent do the religious ideas/teachings of your upbringing, or lack thereof, make sense to you now?
    a. Very much
    b. Moderately
    c. Somewhat
    d. Not at all
    f. Other: _________

  7. How often do you think about your own religious or spiritual beliefs?
    a. Very frequently (at least once a day)
    b. Frequently
    c. Occasionally
    d. Rarely (no more than once a year)
    e. Very rarely or never
    d. Other: _________

  8. What does the term ‘faith’ mean to you?
    a. The most important process of life b. Beliefs about birth, death, morality, etc.
    b. An understanding of a universal cosmic
    consciousness
    c. A kind of eternal state of mind and heart
    d. Don’t know
    e. Other: _________

  9. What aspect of encountering the religious beliefs of others is the most difficult for you?
    a. I cannot find truth, meaning, or value in religion
    b. I am afraid of what might happen to my own beliefs or practice
    c. I am uncertain of the value of encountering religious beliefs
    d. It would cause concern to my relatives and friends
    e. The process of exploring religious topics might be painful for me
    f. Other: _________

  10. To what extent do you think that religious beliefs should be considered in major life decisions?
    a. In every case
    b. In all but a few cases
    c. In some cases, yes; in others, no
    d. In no cases

  11. If a close friend in a great deal of distress and wanted to talk with you about his or her religion, faith, and/or and
    beliefs, how would you feel?
    a. Comfortable
    b. Embarrassed
    c. Distressed
    d. Willing
    e. Not sure
    f. Other: _________

  12. To what extent are you interested in exploring and reconsidering your attitudes, values, and assumptions about
    religion?
    a. Very interested
    b. Moderately interested
    c. Somewhat interested
    d. Not very interested
    e. Totally disinterested


    Part B: Reflection Questions
  13. Write a description of your religious upbringing as a child, or lack thereof. Describe any significant religious/spiritual persons and events and how they impacted your development during childhood and your life as an adult.
    (1-page maximum)

  14. Write a description of your spiritual growth and development. Include personal conversions, religious experiences, and significant persons and events that have impacted, or continue to impact, your spiritual growth
    and development. Consider the values you hold now as an adult that were taught to you through religious activities, ideas, teachings, or life experiences. (2-page maximum)

  15. Write a description of your current religious or spiritual identity/faith and the meaning and place that religion holds in your life today. State whether you consider yourself to be a religious or spiritual person, or not and why?
    Include how important your faith (or religion or practice or spirituality) is to you now, or not? Claim whether you are part of a religious or spiritual community, or not, and why. (1-page maximum)

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