Spiritual practices emerge out of spiritual traditions which, in turn, often
emerge from the life and experience of spiritual pioneers. In this course we
will explore the lives of spiritual pioneers from the contemplative tradition
and the spiritual traditions they founded or influenced. Within each tradition
a spiritual practice will be explored with an eye to its use in the postmodern
church. In addition, these traditions will be set in conversation with
contemporary spiritual traditions from the worldwide church and set in the
context of the broad sweep of the history and theology of Christian
COURSE FORMAT: A mixture of lecture, discussion, small groups, media, case studies, and interactive dialogue. The class will on five Saturdays, for six hours daily. Class will conclude with a six-hour spiritual retreat at a local retreat center on the final Saturday.
Read the following texts:
Š Allen, Diogenes. Spiritual Theology. Cowley Publications, 1997. 169 pages, ISBN: 1561011304
Š Maas, Robin and Gabriel O’Donnell. Spiritual Tradition for the Contemporary Church. Abingdon, 1990. 464 pp. ISBN: 0687392330. Pub. Price: $33.
Choose one of the following and read it in preparation for the Reflection Paper assignment below:
Š Chittister, Joan. Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today, HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. 224 pp. ISBN: 0060613998
Š Ware, Kallistos The Orthodox Way. New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995. 164 pp. ISBN: 0913836583
Choose at least two of the following spiritual classics and read a combined total of 300 pages for the Spiritual Reading Journal and Log assignment below:
Š Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Oxford University Press, 1979. 311 pp. ISBN 1449551750. Pub. Price: $15.
Š Anonymous. The Cloud of Unknowing, HarperCollins, 2004. 176 pp. ISBN: 0060737751. Pub. Price: $11.59.
Š Ignatius of Loyola. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Vintage, 2000. 224 pp. ISBN: 0375724923. Pub. Price: $14.
Š St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul. Dover. 2003. 128 pp. ISBN: 0486426939. Pub. Price: $3.50.
The following workbook will be used for in-class exercises:
Š Frazee, Randy, The Christian Life Profile Assessment Tool. Zondervan, 2005, 62 pages. ISBN: 978-0-310-25161-3
ASSIGNMENTS AND ASSESSMENT:
1. Regular attendance and participation in all aspects of the course including active involvement in a small group (10%).
2. A Spiritual Reading Journal and Log based on 300 pages of reading in the spiritual classics (15%).
3. A Reflection Paper based on either Chittister or Ware (1,000 words) (15%).
4. Research paper on a particular spiritual tradition and its implications for the postmodern church (2,500 words) (40%).
5. Attendance at a six-hour retreat and a reflection paper based on the retreat experience (1,000 words) (10%).
6. Personal engagement in weekly spiritual exercises with journal reflections (10%).