Finding 'spiritual landscapes' in Nacogdoches - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Finding 'spiritual landscapes' in Nacogdoches


Most every church has a quite setting for prayer and meditation.

"From a sociological perspective we tend to impose the notion of the sacred on people," said SFA sociology professor, Dr. Tom Segady.

He and geographer Dr. Kelley Snowden are wanting to do something different.

" I love the view of the sky through the canopy of trees. It's like they are showing the way or maybe protecting me like a blanket," reads Kelley from a journal kept by a study participant.

"People just give me a sentence or two. If that's all it takes, that's all it takes," said Kelley.

The journalist's anonymous notations accompany their photographs of personal sacred landscapes.

"We're using photo voice methodology and we present our volunteers with a set of guiding questions," explained Kelley.

The inquiries aren't difficult, but thoughtful.

"It was a cool challenge to ask someone to try to actually take a picture and capture landscape wise how they see God in the world," shared Joe Holford, a volunteer from St. Mary's Catholic Church.

As a person of faith, What do you value in your landscape and why?, What landscapes or landscape features best reflect your relationship with God?, and To what landscapes or landscape features do you attach spiritual significance and why?, are some of the guiding questions.

The practical application is society learns to preserve places which encourage thought and spiritual reflection. Together they make for a better community, according to Kelley.

The professors are seeking eight more Christian churches, with ten volunteers from each church. A camera and journal are provided for the two week assignment. Eventually, other denominations will be studied. The church receives a DVD of their volunteers entries. More so, they go away understanding spiritual value is found in many different places.

Any Christian affiliated church in Nacogdoches that's interested in helping with the study is encouraged to contact the SFA sociology department or Snowden at 936-468-3953. Also, a draft video of of the pics/commentary from Unity Christian Church is on youtube.

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