We’re getting closer to the late fall publication date of my forthcoming Teaching for Spiritual Formation: A Patristic Approach to Christian Education in a Convulsed Age, and am excited to be able to share some more details about the project.
First, I can now announce that David I. Smith has graciously written the foreword for the book. Dr. Smith is the author of many, many books on Christian education, including On Christian Teaching, which was in many ways an inspiration for many of the themes traced in my work. He is director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning and professor of education at Calvin University, and is also a very brilliant and yet humble man. I am honored to have him provide the book’s forward, and hope it will encourage more Christian educators to take a look at his work.
Second, I can also now share the finalized synopsis and chapter outline. In Teaching for Spiritual Formation, I advance a fresh vision of Christian teaching and learning by drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, synthesizing the wisdom of the church fathers with
contemporary efforts to cultivate a distinctively Christian approach to education. Of interest to a wide range of Christian educators, this book examines the writings of five significant church fathers whose writings have the potential to stimulate our ability to reimagine five different aspects of Christian education and to consider what kinds of habits and practices can help bring this new vision to life. Chapters include:
1. Introduction: Christian Education in a Convulsed Age
2. Who Are We as Teachers? Gregory the Great and Contemplative Spirituality
3. Who Are Our Students? John Chrysostom and Embodied Learning
4. What Are We Teaching? Basil of Caesarea and Training in Virtue
5. How Are We Teaching? Benedict of Nursia and Formative Practices
6. How Do We Plan for Growth? Cyril of Jerusalem and Catechesis by Design
7. Conclusion: A Teacher’s Rule of Life
One of the major themes that runs throughout the book is the importance of ascetical spirituality and the practices associated with this approach to the faith that is, sadly, much neglected in much of the Western church today. An invited journal article, “Teaching Ascesis: Recovering the Neglected Center of Early Christian Pedagogy,” is in the works to supplement the book; more information on both to come!