By: Prof. Ken Herfst
One might assume that due to the subject matter of courses in the Religion and Theology department, God would show up regularly. The reality, however, is that even religion or theology can become just another academic topic. Thankfully, God surprises us again and again.
Teaching a course for the first time is something of an experiment and considerable time is spent looking for suitable resources. In preparing for the Spiritual Formation for Ministry course (REL 351), I drew from a number of authors who come from different contexts and perspectives. Beginning with a Spanish theologian we looked at “a Spirituality for the Dissatisfied.” The material awakened both an intense hunger for a deeper relationship with God as well as the staggering awareness of the wide ranging scope of a Kingdom focused spirituality that is authentically incarnational and context specific. As we then turned to other authors who opened up vistas of a Trinitarian approach to ministry along with the practicality of Benedictine disciplines, it was surprising to see how the material came together in ways that had surpassed my initial expectations. Authors from Spain, Latin America and the States drew from the richness of theological traditions that have stood the test of time and then provided us with a careful reading of con-temporary culture. These authors have probably never heard of one another and yet, ultimately they brought us to a place where we were welcomed into an experience of Divine Life that makes all of life wonderfully significant and refreshingly hopeful.
It is humbling to see God weave readings and class discussions in a way that threads key themes together and gives glimpses of who he is and what he invites us to.
For your reflection:
1) How have you been experiencing God at work in the classroom or office?
2) How might you respond?