Academic Programs 

Spiritual and Moral Formation for Lay People    (AM-605)  
Fall 2006

In this course, we will explore Christian spiritual and moral formation both theoretically and practically.  Theoretically, we will seek to understand how people come to embody Christian spirituality and values using insights from theology, psychology, and sociology. Practically, we will explore particular methods of spiritual and moral development, including prayer, reading, small groups, and the meaning of discipleship. Attention to group dynamics, ritual, the role of feeling and emotion, and the role of story and imagination will be of interest to both clergy and lay people who want to make the most of their participation in the life of the church.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
s, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning September 13

Heidi Gehman
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus

Course Texts:

Timothy O’Connell. Making Disciples: A Handbook of Christian Moral Formation. New York: Crossroad, 1998.

Marjorie Thompson. Soul Feast. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995/2005.

John R. Tyson. Invitation to Christian Spirituality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.


Diana L. Hayes, Hagar’s Daughters: Womanist Ways of Being in the World (Madaleve Lecture in Spirituality: 1995). Notre Dame, IN: Saint Mary’s College, 1995.

Beverly J. Lanzetta, Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005

Christine D. Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999.

Aim of the Course:

The study of spirituality is self-implicating and participatory. We will be attempting to understand spiritual and moral formation from the outside—how and why it works—as well as from the inside, through participating in Marjorie Thompson’s Soul Feast.

Course Requirements:

1.  Weekly reflection papers on reading from Soul Feast                   50 points
2.  Attendance and class participation                                             20 points
3.  10-page final research paper                                                      30 points

Additional information on assignments will be distributed in class.

Course Schedule of Topics and Readings:

Sept. 13: Introduction to course: Ethics and Spirituality

Sept. 20: Spiritual Reading
Reading:  Thompson, Chapters 1 and 2; O’Connell, Chapters 1-4

Sept. 27: Prayer
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 3; Tyson, “Origin of Alexandria,” “John Cassian,” “Mechthild of Magdeburg,” “Thomas Aquinas,” “Teresa of Avila,” “Jeanne Guyon,” “Walter Rauschenbusch,” “Karl Barth”

Oct. 4: Worship
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 4; O’Connell, Chapters 5-8; Tyson, “Didache,” “Irenaeus of Lyon,” “Basil the Great,” “Maximus the Confessor”

Oct. 11: Fasting
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 5; additional reading to be announced

Oct. 18: Examination of Conscience
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 6; Tyson, “Augustine of Hippo,” “Martin Luther,” “Bartholeme de las Casas,” “Ignatius of Loyola,” “Soren Kierkegaard”

Oct. 25: Spiritual Direction
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 7; Tyson, “John Calvin,” “Brother Lawrence,” “John and Charles Wesley,” “Jonathan Edwards,” “Horace Bushnell”

Nov. 1: Hospitality
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 8; Christine Pohl, Chapters 1, 2, 8 and 9

Nov. 8: The Role of Story and Imagination
Reading: O’Connell, Chapters 9-11; additional reading to be announced

Nov. 15: Mysticism and the Dark Night of the Soul
Reading: Tyson, “Pseudo Dionysius,” “Meister Eckhart,” “Catherine of Siena,” “Julian of Norwich,” “Thomas a’ Kempis,” “John of the Cross,” “Evelyn Underhill,” “Simone Weil”

Nov. 29: Feminist Spirituality and Ethics
Reading: Beverly Lanzetta, Chapter 5-8; Tyson, “Rosemary Radford Ruether”

Dec. 6: Black and Womanist Spirituality and Ethics
Reading: Tyson, “Howard Thurman,” “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” “James Cone,” “Desmond Tutu;” Diana Hayes, Hagar’s Daughers

Dec. 13: Discipleship: Developing a Rule of Life
Reading: Thompson, Chapter 9; O’Connell, Chapters 12-Conclusion; Tyson, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer”


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500