Courses

Summer Term: 2019

The Reverend Greg Peters, PhD, SMD

AT 703/AT 803: Hearts Bent to God: Sources, Methods and Ends of Ascetical Theology

Course Dates: July 22 - July 26

Historically "ascetical theology" concerned itself with the means by which sanctity of life could be acquired and was viewed as a subdivision of moral theology. However, the discipline was approached from a number of different angles and employed a range of methodologies. This course will examine these past ways of studying ascetical theology while also investigating and establishing a foundation for how to study and practice ascetical theology today.

Hans Boersma, PhD

AT 729/AT 829: Lectio Divina: The Theology and Practice of Spiritual Reading

Course Dates: July 15 - July 19

The twelfth-century Carthusian monk, Guigo II, famously comments, “What is the use of spending one’s time in lectio continua [continuous reading], running through the lives and sayings of holy men, unless we can extract nourishment from them by chewing and digesting this food so that its strength can pass into our inmost heart?”  In this course we will take our cue from Guigo’s recommendation of chewing and digesting the words of Scripture in lectio divina (sacred reading).  In Guigo’s explanation, lectio divina consists of reading (lectio), meditation (meditatio), prayer (oratio), and contemplation (contemplatio).  We will look at the theoretical underpinnings of sacred reading, we will discuss the actual use of Scripture by patristic and medieval theologians, and we will follow in their footsteps by engaging in the practice of sacred reading ourselves.

David Lee Jones, ThD

DMin 800: Doctoral Seminar

Course Dates: July 8 - July 9

Course description available soon.

The Very Reverend Dr. John Behr

HT 717/AT 817: Origen of Alexandria

Course Dates: July 22 - July 26

St Gregory of Nazianzus referred to Origen as ‘the whetstone of us all’, as he and his friends St Basil the Great compiled passages from his works they considered important to produce the first Philokalia. Undoubtedly, Origen set the pace for many theological developments, good and bad, in the Christian East, just as Augustine did in the West. It is not possible to understand the debates around the Ecumenical Councils in the following centuries without a knowledge of his work, nor the spiritual tradition of the East without understanding his influence. This course will proceed through a close reading of selected texts from a variety of Origen’s writings and the student’s own research project, examining an aspect of Origen’s writings or thought, engaging with a broad range of secondary material. 

The Very Reverend Kevin E. Martin

PM 720/PM 820 Moving into the Future as Flourishing Outposts of God's Kingdom and Christ's Mission: A Seminar for Leaders of Pastoral Size Congregations

Course Dates: July 8 - July 12

In this seminar, we will examine the challenge facing these congregations, identify key stabilizing factors and strengths of healthy Pastoral Size churches, address revealing diagnostic tools, and discuss effective strategies for moving faithfully into the future. We will examine the role of ordained and lay leadership as participants develop a plan and next steps for their specific congregations. Individual consulting time with the seminar leaders will be available. 

Why is this seminar is needed?
Given the decline of mainline American Christianity, fully half of today’s congregations will likely be closed within the next ten years. Amongst these, the fastest disappearing size of congregation is the Pastoral Size church (Average Sunday Attendance between 140-75).  The Pastoral Size is the most predictable of all size congregations in its characteristics and functioning, but today they face major challenges.  Taking into account the natural barriers to transitioning to a larger size of congregation, economic trends and giving patterns, our post-modern and post-denominational culture, generational differences, and the general decline and aging of the Episcopal Church, it is clear that Pastoral Size congregations must address their spiritual, missional, and operational expectations and practices.

All participants are asked to read Peter Steinke’s Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach. D.Min. students may take this seminar for credit under the direction of Nashotah’s faculty.