DESCRIPTION: This course on the foundations of the spiritual life is designed to assist the integration of personal faith and public ministry. The course teaches a practical theology method integrating biblical and theological resources, the history of Christian traditions and practices, and corporate and personal work leading to spiritual growth and ministry. Emphasis will be placed on relational knowing of God through practice of various spiritual disciplines including prayer, meditation, journaling, solitude, confession, and action in the world.
SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: Ministers, future ministers, and Christian leaders must seek to broaden and deepen their biblical, theological, and historical understandings of the spiritual life for themselves and those they serve. This course will offer a biblical, Trinitarian, and historically informed exploration of what it means to be Ňconformed to the image of ChristÓ. The goals for the course include (a) a growing understanding of the various traditions of Christian Spirituality, (b) regular practice of spiritual disciplines, (c) deeper awareness of the God to whom we pray, and (d) understanding spiritual renewal as essential in the life of the minister and the congregation.
LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students successfully completing this course will have demonstrated that they have 1) learned a practical theology method that connects their experience and cultural context with a biblical and theological philosophy of the spiritual life, 2) developed conceptual clarity concerning the nature of ministry and the topic of spiritual formation; 3) experienced a historical overview of spiritual traditions and practices, and 4) grasped concepts, perspectives, experiences and skills that will serve in the discernment process concerning Christian ministry.
COURSE FORMAT: This course meets from 2:30 – 5:30 on ten Mondays, for a total of 30 class hours, which includes lecture and discussion.
á Barton, Ruth Haley. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. IVP Books. 2006. 192 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0830833337. Pub. Price: $17.
á Boa, Kenneth. Conformed to His Image. Zondervan, 2001. 544 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0310238485. Pub. Price: $28.
á Holt, Bradley. Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality. Augsburg Fortress. 2nd Edition. 242 pages. 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0800637095. Pub. Price: $21.
á Osmer, Richard. Practical Theology: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008. 256 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0802817655. Pub. Price: $25.
á Palmer, Parker. Let Your Life Speak. Jossey-Bass, 1999. 128 pp. ISBN: 0787947350. Pub. Price: $18.95.
á Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together. HarperOne. 1st Edition. 1978. 128 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0060608521. Pub. Price: $14.
á Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005. 136 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0374529758. Price; $13.
ASSIGNMENTS (percentage of final grade as shown):
1. Two 2-page (500-word) Spiritual Journey Reports, due the first and last class meetings. The first of these will include a theological interpretation of the studentŐs initiation into the Christian faith and primary seasons in the studentŐs faith journey through the beginning of the course, the second will reflect on the studentŐs spiritual growth during the quarter and the effects of spiritual practices on that growth. (15%)
2. Compose 2-page (500 word) Reflection Papers based on Holt, Louth, & Palmer. (20%)
3. Complete of a Spiritual Reading Journal and Log based on reading in Bonhoeffer & Heschel by following a Practical Theology method introduced in the course. (15%)
4. Design a 4-6-page (1,000-1,500 word) Spiritual Formation Retreat for a selected and defined group. (20%)
5. Create a 6-8-page (1,500-2,000-word) Research Paper defining spiritual formation and applying principles from readings and class discussions to the practice of intentional Christian character growth: (1) Identify the marks of spiritual maturation and the means by which Christian character formation takes place; (2) Apply principles of spiritual formation to a corporate context involving at least two programs and two defined constituencies within your church. This paper will be created in stages, will utilize a reflective practical theology method, and will demonstrate interaction with all course reading material and other writings from the recommended reading list. (30%)
RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: M.Div. MIN1; SOT MA Pre-Fall 07 SPIR, MA 2007-2009, SP2.
FINAL EXAM: None.