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The Uncanny Story of Spaceships, the Moon, and Congregational Spiritual Formation.

This article serves as a reflective post on episode 10 of the HBO television miniseries entitled From the Earth to the Moon, "Galileo Was Right". The docudrama recounts the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Apollo space program during the 1960s and early 1970s. Episode 10 presents a variety of insights that can be correlated to Congregational spiritual formation and transformation.

We can begin by noting how the astronauts in training for the various Apollo missions had to undergo a transformation from being test flight pilots to competent geologists, who were adept at collecting relevant and unique rock samples from the moon. Similarly, Congregational spiritual formation requires individuals no matter their background and training, to undergo a spiritual transformation that will take them out of their traditional comfort zones. The astronauts did not grasp the basic tenants of rock geology through traditional classroom training instead they became competent as they went into the field and gained practical experiences. Likewise, Congregational spiritual formation can become more effective when the participants engage in real-life active participation.

Therefore, we can surmise that active engagement presents a pathway for individuals who are in the process of learning to become intertwined in the entire transformation process. Just as the astronauts who were once hesitant about geology became more invested in that particular discipline, so too will the Christian believers, as they become more invested in the spiritual transformation process, and engage in personal and corporate spiritual disciplines.

Another very tangible insight gleaned from the video presentation was when astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt was informed that the mission that he was originally scheduled to fly on was canceled because of budgetary cuts. Hence, what should have been a moment of disappointment turned into a moment of positivity as Schmitt pledged to assist the other confirmed flight astronauts in their training. The level of positivity demonstrated by Schmitt should be a lesson to all engaged in the spiritual transformation process. A sentimental reminder that despite disappointments and setbacks during the transformation process, we should always maintain a positive outlook because we can be comforted by the fact that God has our best interest at heart. As fate would have it, Harrison "Jack" Schmitt eventually served as a member of the Apollo 17 flight crew, which would be the final Apollo program mission.

We can therefore conclude that in episode 10 of the HBO television miniseries of From the Earth to the Moon, "Galileo Was Right" has provided many significant nuggets which can be paralleled with the concept of Congregational spiritual formation. Hence, we have learned to appreciate that there are times when the traditional methods of classroom teaching based exclusively on the principal subject matter, may not be as effective as methods that include practical, active engagement, which also encompasses other disciplines. When this is achieved with a positive attitude, and the other disciplines are presented in a manner that remains in the bounds of Christian theological principles, then the framework is established for a productive Congregational spiritual transformation program.


“From the Earth to the Moon - S01E10 - Galileo Was Right.” Dailymotion, September 15, 2018.

Photo Source: Yellow Flag On A Boat. December 19, 2016.

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