12 September 2016: ‘Church Teaching and Practice with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ led by Cristina

We considered Maslow’s hierarchy and its completeness and relevancy in today’s times and society.   How seriously does the church accept the Physiological needs?  Each congregation will (should) react to local needs; there are also national umbrella groups making submissions to Select Committees on government bills eg NZCCSS.  We determined that the next level ‘up’, security, is something of an illusion – there is not such thing as absolute security – life itself is risk and implicitly involves risk.  Security can be at many levels physical, emotional, psychological, financial.  We thought prayer could assist in ‘externalising’ fear/concerns and so helping to lay the issue to one side; mindfulness can also play a role as can the support, sharing, sense of belonging to small (intimate) church groups.  Love is the next level but some wondered whether this should be an even more basic need – unloved babies don’t result in fully human adults.

Churches can assist building self esteem by supporting and encouraging, not searching for excellence.  Historically the church has been guilty of the opposite by proclaiming ‘the wages of sin are death’ and the associated loss of self esteem in order to promote its ‘redemptive’ theology.

Governments and western societies in general are focussed on levels 1 and 2 ie aspects that can be measured and haven’t attempted to build a loving, caring society by sharing of wealth.  We reiterated our view that the education, health and housing are government responsibilities and should not be run for as a business or for profit, but for the benefit of all.

Praise should be directed towards what someone has achieved, rather than praising the person (which can become an addiction.)  We will all move up and down the Maslow needs as circumstances change; there are not fixed ‘lines/boundaries’ between the levels.  They are not something one moves up on and then stays at that level.

Ian Harris

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