Intensives & Online Courses

YEAR ONE

Intensive One: Jesus and the Prophetic Tradition

In our first intensive, we learn about the prophetic tradition with a particular emphasis on Jesus’ wilderness experience. Exploring the prophetic tradition in Scripture and today, this intensive is one part study of the theme of the prophetic tradition in Scripture and  one part self-exploration of the ways our imaginations have been shaped by empire.

Questions Explored: What was it that drove the prophets into the wild places to encounter God? How have we been alienated from God, from Creation, and from each other?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to): 

  • The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann
  • Come Out My People by Wes Howard-Brook
  • The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by Steven Charleston

Online Course 1: The Spirituality of Empire 

Systemic oppression is empowered and enabled by legitimizing mythssocial narratives that are so taken for granted that they are rarely challenged. And these myths are anchored in a sort of spirituality–an orientation towards the ultimate good–that must be challenged if we are to find liberation.

Questions Explored: How did a radical religious movement in ancient Palestine become the animating force of empire? Why do so many people embrace myths and systems that harm them?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • The Other Face of God by Mary Jo Leddy
  • An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land by William Stringfellow
  • The unKingdom of God by Mark Van Steenwyk

Intensive Two: Learning Compassion 

In our second intensive, we look at global suffering through Jesus model of compassionate ministry. Taking the best insights of liberation theology and those traditions that understood that “compassion” means to “suffer with,” we will explore the posture of a Christ-centered solidarity today.

Questions Explored: In what ways have each of us internalized dehumanizing myths? How can we begin to break through our conditioning to see the full humanity of others? What does our treatment of creation reveal about our deepest social values?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Hope in an Age of Despair by Albert Nolan
  • Suffering by Dorothee Sölle
  • Unclean by Richard Beck

YEAR TWO

Intensive Three: Practicing Transfiguration

Our third intensive centers on Jesus’ journey to the Mount of Transfiguration. Using the Transfiguration as a lens for understanding the contemplative life, we will learn from the Christian mystical tradition as we cultivate contemplative practices. Together, we will learn ways of experiencing ourselves, each other, the rest of Creation, and our God with greater immediacy. When we perceive the world, ourselves, and our God differently, our actions change the world.

Questions Explored: How does encountering the Presence of God change our perception of the world? How might I nurture an awareness of the Presence of God? What obstacles keep me from experiencing the Divine Presence?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • The Creative Encounter by Howard Thurman
  • The Silent Cry by Dorothee Sölle
  • Open Mind, Open Heart by

Online Course 2: History of Christian Radicalism

Reaching church history can be discouraging; there are countless examples of corruption and compromise. Nevertheless, some of the greatest movements for justice have been animated by the example of Jesus. Together, we will explore historical figures and radical movements that demonstrate radical faithfulness.

Questions Explored:Who are the examples of faithful resistance throughout 2000 years of Christian history? What from their examples can we put into practice today in our own contexts?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Radical Christian Writings: A Reader by Andrew Bradstock and Christopher Rowland
  • Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition by Dan McKanan

Intensive Four: Liturgical Resistance

Our fourth intensive explores Jesus’ “direct action” in the Temple. What does it mean for us to approach resistance in the same way? Bringing the examples of Jesus and the Hebrew prophets into creative dialog with the Catholic Worker movement, the Plowshares Movement, and Guerrilla Theater, participants will discern, organize, and enact a direct action together. How can we, motivated by deep spirituality, disrupt the false narratives and destructive practices of our own culture?

Questions Explored:Where do we find economic, political, and religious oppression intersecting around us? How can we, empowered by the Spirit, disrupt the flow of oppression and help wake people to the holy alternatives?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Explorations in Liturgical Direct Action by Bill Wylie Kellerman
  • Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution by Andrew Boyd
  • The Active Life by Parker J. Palmer

Intensive Five: Discerning Life Amidst Death

Our final intensive is patterned after Jesus journey of death and resurrection. It brings practices of spiritual discernment into conversation with traditions of wilderness rites of passage, centering on a three day solo fast. Through this intensive, students will grapple with the nature of their own personal vocation within the context of the church’s larger prophetic vocation. How might God breathe life through you into a world experiencing death?

Questions Explored:What new work is the spirit birthing in each of us? What do we need to let go of in order to do this work?

Assigned texts include (but aren’t limited to): 

  • The Way of Discernment by Elizabeth Liebert
  • Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin