Christian Spirituality

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The many ways of defining spirituality seem to have a basic underlying common theme of lived experience, or in Alister McGrath’s words, “spirituality is the outworking in real life of a person’s religious faith—what a person does with what they believe.” This course will provide an historical context for an experiential approach to different kinds and ways of praying within the Christian tradition, exploring both apophatic and cataphatic understandings of prayer. We will also explore our image of God, practical approaches to discernment, and a life-long orientation to spiritual growth through spiritual direction.

Throughout the course, participants will be expected to record daily entries in their prayer and learning journals (not to be turned in.) A final project will be to outline a retreat experience for those in the participant’s faith communities, with the goal of helping people deepen their own spiritual journeys, while growing in an ever-deepening awareness of God’s love. Course content will include weekly on-line lectures (asynchronous) of approximately 20 minutes each, and an on-line discussion forum to exchange thoughts, experiences, ideas, and to pose questions. Readings will be selected articles, as well as on-line readings and links. There will be one full day meeting at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Required Readings:

The Way of a Pilgrim (Anonymous – a classic of Orthodox spirituality)

Practical Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill

Students are also required to purchase a journal for recording prayer experiences or significant learnings.