Become a wise guide who attends to God’s activity in your own life, the lives of others, and the world.
- A delight in the Scriptures.
- Growth in formative dispositions in imitation of Christ (such as trust in God, awe, gratitude, humility, attentiveness, respect, freedom, discernment, courage, peace, etc.).
- An understanding of a variety a resources for and experiences of classic Christian spiritual practices (e.g. communal worship, scripture meditation, retreat, journaling, service, Sabbath, spiritual direction, etc.).
- An ability to theologically reflect on and articulate the relationship between human and Christian spirituality.
- A skill in assessing the formational impact of personal and communal events, traditions, and dispositions in nurturing or hindering spiritual formation.
- The ability to both appreciate distinctions between and see the unity in diverse forms of Christian spirituality across times and cultures.
The following six courses have been designed to allow you to master this competency:
The Great Conversation
PSF 612 | Spiritual Formation | 3 Credits
What is spiritual formation? What makes spiritual formation distinctly Christian in relation to other religious and ideological spiritualities in our world? What dynamics are involved in Christian spiritual formation? This course seeks to address such questions and to be both formational and informational as it does so.
First, students will be guided in developing an appraisal framework that is truly holistic as well as conducive to and compatible with the Christian revelation. This appraisal framework, based on the Formative Spirituality of Adrian van Kaam, will provide students with specific perspectives by which to reflect upon human experiences in order to discern various dynamics of spiritual formation. Second, students will be guided through a survey of classic Christian texts from a variety of Christian traditions throughout history in order to deepen their appreciation for the rich and varied ways, unique and communal, in which people have experienced knowing the Holy Trinity. Third, this course will engage students in several classic spiritual practices throughout the course, including: Scripture reading, reading Christian devotional texts, prayer, journaling, and retreat. Through these and other means, students will nurture their attentiveness to the presence and work of God in their everyday lives, thus complementing the seminary experience of learning “about” God with the experience of growing in their attentiveness to and their love for God.
PSF 615 | Exploring Personal and Spiritual Faith Development | 3 Credits
Faith will be explored from a life cycle, developmental perspective, from infancy through senior adulthood. Autobiographical, theological, and theoretical perspectives will be examined. Students will narrate/map their own faith journeys. Strategies for facilitating faith development in the church setting will be discussed.
PSF 621 | Introduction to Spiritual Direction | 3 Credits
Spiritual direction is one milieu in which we find another person of faith who will invite us to pay attention to our experiences and responses to God’s action in our daily lives. This course will provide a basic introduction to spiritual direction as well as an experiential understanding of what it is, what it is not, its benefits, and differences between it and pastoral counseling or clinical therapy. It will address the history and practice of spiritual direction as well as its place in 21st century spirituality.
PSF 623 | Social Justice and Spirituality | 3 Credits
This course is a study of the intersection of faith and social justice and relationship of the first two great commandments. Students will study relevant spiritual writings that include application to social justice and peacemaking. Included are readings by Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Gustavo Gutierrez, Teresa of Avila, and others. The disciplines including prayer, simplicity, confession, and worship will be studied in relation to the Christian call to mission and creating social justice. Students will explore practical ways to live out the call of Jesus to worship God and love their neighbor.
PSF 652 | Calling and Vocation | 3 Credits
This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the relationships between spiritual formation, personality, and leadership. Students will benefit from standard personality and leadership assessment tools to gain insights into their own personality and leadership style. In addition, students will enhance their understanding of the biblical foundation of leadership and the significance of spiritual formation for today’s Christian leaders. The expected outcomes of this course will be a well-developed theology of ministry within the context of the individuals’ personality, spiritual giftedness and leadership style. Students will develop an informed sense of calling to their unique place in the Kingdom of God and will begin to consider a strategy of continuous personal growth to enhance their effectiveness in ministry for years to come.
PSF 654 | 20 Centuries of Christian Faithfulness: A Global Survey | 3 Credits
What do Christian solitaries in the Egyptian desert, mothers of rebellious teenagers, monks in community in the mountains of France, missionaries to Japan, and charismatic worshipers in a megachurch all have in common? They all provide a glimpse of people seeking to follow Christ faithfully in their different geographic and cultural contexts. This course surveys the myriad ways in which Christians across the globe have found themselves redeemed and enlivened by the Spirit of God, and celebrates the diverse expressions of our shared Christian faith.
Students will engage art, music, film, stories, and various texts in order to explore both the diversity and commonalities of the ways people seek to live as faithful Christians, and will reflect on the ways in which their cultural and historic situatedness influences their own expressions of faithfulness.