In light of the complexities and challenges of our present time and place, the early church fathers of the distant past would at first glance appear to be unlikely conversation partners for educators interested in making deeper connections between their Christian faith and the work of teaching and learning. It is my contention, however, that it is precisely in a time such as ours that the voices of our great forefathers need to be invited to the table, to speak afresh that wisdom that has endured through the centuries and proven itself time and again to be a source of inspiration and edification for Christians through the ages.
The above paragraph sets out what I see as the animating vision of my forthcoming book, Teaching for Spiritual Formation. I’m now about 50% finished with the draft of the manuscript, and think it’s coming together well. The risk in writing an interdisciplinary book like this is that it will appeal to neither Christian educators nor patristics people, but I’m grateful to Cascade for believing in this project. On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed digging into the literature on catechesis, monasticism, and contemplative spirituality, and to engage with some really interesting patristic homilies that are strikingly relevant for today.
Below is the tentative chapter outline of the book (remember, I’m only 50% of the way through). If you have interest or expertise in any of these areas, please reach out and I’d be happy to share chapter drafts with you!
TEACHING FOR SPIRITUAL FORMATION
1. Introduction: Christian Education in a Convulsed Age
2. Who Are We as Teachers? Gregory the Great and Spiritual Direction
3. Who Are Our Students? John Chrysostom and Embodied Learning
4. What Are We Teaching? Basil of Caesarea and Inculcating Virtue
5. How Are We Teaching? Benedict of Nursia and Classroom Liturgies
6. What Are We Building Towards? Cyril of Jerusalem and Catechetical Stages
7. Conclusion: The School as Monastery