Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spiritual Formation Syllabus - Payne Theological Seminary

Next week at Payne Theological Seminary Dr. Leah Fitchue, Dr. James Perkinson, and I will teach Spiritual Formation to incoming M.Div. students.

Here is our syllabus.

CM 150 Spiritual Formation

Payne Theological Seminary

July 2012 Intensive


Part I

July 21-23, 2012

Leah Gaskin Fitchue, Ed.D.

Part II

July 24-26, 2012

John Piippo, Ph.D.


Leah Gaskin Fitchue, Ed.D.

Professor of Practical Theology

937-376-2946 x209 (Office phone)

John Piippo, Ph.D.

734-731-1709 (Cell phone) (my website)


Payne Theological Seminary, a free standing graduate school mandated by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) in 1844, is dedicated to the preparation of men and women for leadership in local, national and global ministries. Payne Theological Seminary offers an Afrocentric theological education focusing on teaching and research that emphasizes salvation which finds expression in liberation, reconciliation, social justice, and the dignity of all humankind. The seminary values African American history, the African American experience, and the biblical tradition.


Students should demonstrate:

1. Servant leadership in local, national or global ministries as responsible stewards who serve with care, humility, strength of character and boldness as they articulate a vision, and inspire and guide others towards embracing higher ideals as articulated in Payne’s mission.

2. Tolerance expressed as unreserved acceptance of the universal concepts of love, justice and forgiveness that finds expression in the capacity to be inclusive and open to difference;

3. Spiritual formation, growth and transformation.


Students will:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of their religious heritage.

2. Utilize their cultural context in applying Biblical Studies, Historical

Studies, Theology and Ethics and Practical Ministry.

3. Develop personal and spiritual formation as they progress through the program.

4. Enlarge their capacity for ministerial and public leadership.


This course is designed to engage participants in an exploration and expansion of their inner spiritual life utilizing the spiritual disciplines. Personal transformation is an internal process that occurs as the individual allows God access to the whole of one’s being and life. The course combines:

1.    Personal encounter with God

2.    Keeping a spiritual journal as a record of the activity of God in one’s life

3.    Corporate sharing of one’s experience with God

4.    Reading and reflecting on three required texts

5.    Biblical and theological reflection on key issues that arise in the life of one who seriously engages in the spiritual disciplines


1.    To encounter and experience God

2.    To experience personal transformation

3.    To deepen one’s prayer life

4.    To discuss issues of personal transformation with colleagues in ministry

5.    To reflect biblically and theologically on this experience, especially within the African American perspective of Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King, Jr.

6.    To understand personal spiritual transformation as the necessary foundation for all relevant church, urban, and global transformation


1)    Howard Thurman, Essential Writings

2)    Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

3)    Lewis Baldwin, Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

4)    James Perkinson, White Theology

5)    James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree



1.    Attend and participate in class sessions

2.    Formation Covenant

The basic principle of spiritual formation is to live in intimate and unceasing union with God, the Father, the Mother, through Jesus, the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

a.    As you move forward to enhance your formation covenant, please briefly state the most important goal for each of the following: Spiritual, Intellectual, and Pastoral. This one page paper is due at the beginning of the first day of class, Saturday, July 21.

b.    Following the completion of Part I of CM150 Spiritual Formation, you are requested to reflect on your spiritual formation paper submitted on July 21 and, again, briefly state your most important goal for each of the following: Spiritual, Intellectual, and Pastoral. The one page paper is to be emailed to no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 23.

c.    At the completion of Part I and Part II of CM 150 Spiritual Formation, you are requested to draft the containing your most important goal for each of the following: Spiritual, Intellectual, and Pastoral. This one-to-two page paper is to be emailed to no later than 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31. In addition, a copy is to be submitted to Dr. Piippo with your Spiritual Journal.

3.    Keep daily, structured devotional times with God for 6 weeks, 5 days per week, one hour per day, beginning the week of July 29, 2012.

4.    Keep a Spiritual Journal that records what God is saying to you during these times.

5.    Type out your journal and e-mail it to Dr. Piippo using Microsoft Word. This document should be sent no later than Monday, September 17, 2012.

6.    Read the three books that are required reading. Write a 5-page paper summarizing the required reading. Submit this paper no later than September 17, 2012, to Dr. Piippo.


  1. This is a pass/fail course.
  2. Class attendance is required.
  3. Keep the required prayer times.
  4. Keep a spiritual journal and submit.
  5. Read the required texts, write a 5-page reflection paper, and submit.

No laptops or texting in class, please.


*all classes will take place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. unless otherwise instructed by professor

Part I

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Morning Lecture

  • Black Theology

Questions and answers

Group activity

Afternoon Lecture

  • Black Theology

Questions and answers

Group activity

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Worship Service

            Quinn Chapel AME Church

            Dr. Frederick Wright, Pastor

            10998 Southland Road

            Cincinnati, OH  45240


Post Worship Service Session

  • Dialogue and reflection

Monday, July 23, 2012

Morning Lecture

  • White Theology - Dr. James Perkinson, Professor of Ethics and Systematic Theology, Ecumenical Theological Seminary

Questions and answers

Afternoon Lecture

  • White Theology - Dr. James Perkinson

Questions and answers

Wrap Up

Part II

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Explanation of Syllabus

One hour of prayer and listening to God

Corporate sharing & response


  • Intro to Spiritual Formation
  • Keeping a Spiritual Journal
  • Restoration, Renewal, Formation, Transformation
  • One’s need for renewal and transformation
  • Formation into Christlikeness
  • Spirituality of Howard Thurman

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One hour of prayer and listening to God

Corporate sharing & response


  • Review
  • Recognition of the gap
  • Realization that only God can form us
  • Abiding in the presence of God
  • How to hear the voice of God
  • Spirituality of Howard Thurman & Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One hour of prayer and listening to God

Corporate sharing & response


  • Review
  • Metaphors of the spirit
  • Removing the false self
  • Ontological dualities (the “from-to” nature of spiritual transformation)
  • Humility
  • Discernment
  • Spirituality of Howard Thurman & Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Piippo will present his own lectures on Theology and Practice of Spiritual Formation. Extensive notes will be published on his website during the week of classes. (

Annotated Bibliography

Arnold, Eberhard. Inner Land: A Guide Into the Heart and Soul of the Bible (Rifton, N.Y: Plough Publishing House, 1976). A classic in Anabaptist spirituality.
Blackaby, Henry T., and King, Claude V. Experiencing God. An excellent, clearly written text that is especially good for church study.

Boyd, Greg. Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy
(IVP: 2001). An excellent study on the kingdom of God, esp. on spiritual battle and the kingdom of Satan. A coherent Christian response to the philosophical problem of evil.

Boyd. Present Perfect: Finding God In the Now. (Zondervan: 2010) This is an excellent, clearly written little book that contains some deep spiritual insights that are not found in other spirituality texts. Greg’s meditation on “death” is worth the price of the book.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. The Practice of the Presence of God (Garden City: Image, 1977). A spiritual classic by a 17th-century monk that is still relevant today, and is especially good at knowing God in the everyday, mundane tasks of life.

Buechner, Frederick. Godric (New York: Harper and Row, 1980). A beautiful novel, spiritually deep and uplifting. The character of Godric reminds me of Thomas Merton.

Campolo, Tony, and Darling, Mary Albert. The God of Intimnacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice. Nicely puts together the spiritual disciplines and social activism.

Collins, Kenneth J. Exploring Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Reader (Baker Book House: 2000). An excellent one-volume text.

Cone, James. A Black Theology of Liberation.

Costen, Melva Wilson. African American Christian Worship.

Dawn, Marva. Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living In An Affluent Society (Presbyterian Publishing Corporation: 2003). This is a deep, profound study allowing us to see our materialistic world and our spiritual place in it through God’s eyes.

Deere, Jack. Surprised By the Voice of God: How God Speaks Today Through Prophecies, Dreams, and Visions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996). A very good, clearly written biblical and historical presentation of how one hears God speaking to them.

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim At Tinker Creek (Harper and Row). This makes my personal top ten ever-read list. A beautiful meditation of the creation, especially its microscopic aspects.

Fee, Gordon. God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994). This massive text is, arguably, the definitive statement of the apostle Paul’s spirituality. A detailed study of every Pauline reference to the Holy Spirit.

Fee. The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987). Superb, meditative, scholarly commentary on what it means to be pneumatikos (“spiritual”).

Felder, Cain Hope. Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation. (Augsburg: 1991) This edited collection does an excellent job distinguishing the Eurocentric bias in biblical hermeneutics from an African American perspective which gives place to the now-experiential reality of God’s Spirit speaking to us through the written text.

Foster, Richard. A Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco: Harper and Row). The modern classic on the spiritual disciplines. If you have not yet read this it should be one of your choices.

Foster. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (Harper and Row: 1992). Examines several different types of prayer that are both biblically and historically Christian.

Foster. Life With God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation. (HarperOne: 2010)

Foster. Longing for God: Seven Paths of Spiritual Devotion. (Intervarsity Press: 2009)

Foster, and Griffin, Emilie. Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines (Harper and Row: Feb. 2000). A very good collection representing the great Christian types of spirituality.

Foster. Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith (Harper and Row: 1998). On the following traditions: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, and incarnational.

Gutierrez, Gustavo. We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1988). Excellent, especially in its emphasis on corporate spirituality.

Holmes, Urban T. Spirituality for Ministry. Still one of the best books on this subject.

Jones, Cheslyn, et. al., eds. The Study of Spirituality (New York: Oxford, 1986). A very good one-volume source on the history of Christian spirituality.

Kelleman, Robert, and Edwards, Karole A. Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. (Baker: 2007)

Kelly, Thomas. A Testament Of Devotion (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1941). This brilliant, provocative little text makes my top ten ever-read books on Christian spirituality. A modern classic.

Kraft, Charles. Christianity With Power: Your Worldview and Understanding of the Supernatural (Ann Arbor, Mi.: Servant, 1989). A brilliant study in paradigm theology by an anthropologist and missiologist at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Ladd, George. The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Eerdmans: 1959). A classic, still-used examination of the kingdom of God as both present and future. Schoalrly, but it often reads devotionally.

Leech, Kenneth. Experiencing God: Theology As Spirituality (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985). An excellent historical study, from biblical times to the present, of the experience of God.

Leech. Soul Friend: The Practice of Christian Spirituality (New York: Harper and Row, 1980). The best book available on spiritual direction.

Leech. True Prayer: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1980).

Lovelace, Richard. Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1979).

Lovelace. Renewal As a Way of Life: A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1985).

Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel. A beautiful, very thoughtful meditation on the grace of God.

Manning, Abba’s Child. This book spoke deeply to me about my need for experiential knowledge of the love of God.

Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus. Very good as it gets at the real Jesus.

May, Gerald. Addiction and Grace (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1991). An excellent, clearly written book with an especially helpful section on addiction to control.

May. Care of Mind, Care of Spirit: A Psychiatrist Explores Spiritual Direction (New York: Harper and Row, 1992). A very good text on the nature of spiritual direction.

May. Will and Spirit: A Contemplative Psychology (Harper and Row: 1987). An excellent text.

Mbiti, John. African Religions and Philosophy.

Mbiti. Introduction to African Religion.

McManus, Erwin. The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within (Thomas Nelson: 2005)  Don’t be put off by the title. I loved this book about what it means to be a real follower of Jesus.

McLaren, Brian. The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Thomas Nelson: 2007). I loved this book about the kingdom of God.

Merton, Thomas. The Inner Experience: Notes On Contemplation (Harper: 2003). This is Merton’s final book. Few write about contemplation as well as he does.

Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions, 1961). Merton at his best.

Merton. No Man Is an Island (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983). Contains the classic chapter, “Being and Doing.”

Merton. Seeds (Shambala: 2002). A killer collection of Merton quotes. A tremendous introduction to the depth, wisdom, and discernment of Thomas Merton. Prophetic.

Merton. The Sign of Jonas (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981). One of Merton’s journals, containing many spiritual gems,

Miller, J. Keith. A Hunger for Healing: The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth (New York: Harper and Row, 1991).

Miller. Hope In the Fast Lane: A New Look at Faith in a Compulsive World (New York: Harper and Row, 1987). An excellent text on overcoming sin in one’s life. Especially good on identifying the deep source of stress and overcoming stress.

Miller. The Secret Life of the Soul (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1997). About the vulnerability needed for the transformation of the soul.

Muse, J. Stephen, ed. Beside Still Waters: Resources for Shepherds in the Marketplace (Smyth and Helwys: 2000). An excellent text that uses Psalm 23 to speak to Christian leaders regarding spiritual issues. Very good on our need to care for ourselves physically.

Mulholland, Robert. Shaped By the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation (Nashville: Upper Room Press, 1985). An excellent book on how the Bible interprets us.

Nelson, Alan. Broken In the Right Place: How God Tames the Soul (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1994). A very good book on how spiritual brokenness effects personal transformation.

Nouwen, Henri. A Cry for Mercy: Prayers From the Genesee (Garden City, New York: Image, 1981). A beautiful book of prayers expressing our heart’s fears, struggles, and longings.

Nouwen. Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons (Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 1987).

Nouwen. Gracias! A Latin American Journal (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983). One of Nouwen’s spiritual journals.

Nouwen. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (Harper and Row). A brilliant little book, among the best I have ever read on pastoral leadership.

Nouwen. Lifesigns: Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective (New York: Image, 1986).

Nouwen. Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1981).

Nouwen. Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Spiritual Life (Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 1980).

Nouwen. Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life (Garden City, New York: Image, 1976).
An excellent text; a modern classic. On solitude, hospitality, and prayer.

Nouwen. Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith.

Nouwen. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit.

Nouwen. The Genesee Diary: Report From A Trappist Monastery (Garden City, New York: Image, 1976). This book makes my top ten ever-read list in terms of spiritual impact. An excellent example of journaling that is of spiritual value.

Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love (Image Books: 1999). I find it hard to express how much God used a slow, meditative reading of this book to effect changes in my life.

Nouwen. The Living Reminder: Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ (New York: Harper and Row). A tremendous book for pastors and Christian leaders.

Nouwen. The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life.

Nouwen. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (New York: Image, 1992). Simply put, one of Nouwen’s best and one of my very favorites.

Nouwen. The Way of the Heart (New York: Ballantine, 1981). A beautiful, meditative little book on solitude, silence, and prayer.

Paris, Peter. The Spirituality of African Peoples.

Payne, Leanne. Listening Prayer: Learning to Hear God’s Voice and Keep a Prayer Journal (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991). A very good, well-written text on what it means to hear God’s voice.

Peterson, Eugene. The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction (Dallas: Word, 1989). I have read this book two or three times. It always reminds me of my priorities in pastoral ministry.

Peterson. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. The first of five books in Peterson’s summary of his spiritual theology.

Quinn, Robert. Deep Change (Jossey-Bass: 1996). A very good book, written from a leadership-business perspective, on the inner transformation required to lead effectively.

Senn, Frank, ed. Protestant Spiritual Traditions (New York: Paulist, 1986). Various authors writing from the following perspectives: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, Puritan, Pietist, and Methodist.

Smedes, Lewis. Shame and Grace. (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1994). For me, a beautiful book on overcoming self-condemnation by a deeper understanding and experience of the grace of God.

St. Teresa of Avila. Interior Castle. (Image Books: 1972) A spiritual classic.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Pathways (Zondervan: 2000). Very good on showing different spiritual styles and various ways persons experience God (the naturalist, sensate, traditionalist, ascetic, activist, caregiver, enthusiast, contemplative, and intellectual).

Thurman, Howard. For the Inward Journey: The Writings of Howard Thurman (Harcourt Brace: 1984). An excellent anthology of Thurman’s spiritual writings.

Thurman. Jesus and the Disinherited (Beacon: 1996). If you’re going to read one book by Thurman this is the one to read. He is brilliant, insightful, and extremely relevant for even today. There s a timelessness about Thurman’s writings.

Thurman. Howard Thurman: Essential Writings. (Orbis: 2006) Edited by Luther Smith. Smith is one of our great, if not our greatest, Thurman scholars. His introduction to Thurman’s writing is very helpful.

Thurman. Meditations of the Heart. (Beacon: 1999)

Weems, Renita. Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt (Simon and Schuster: 1999). An excellent reflection of the silence of God and intimacy with God.

West, Cornel, and Glaube Jr., Eddie S. African American Religious Thought: An Anthology. (Westminster John Knox: 2003)

Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (Harper Collins: 1998). What a deep, beautiful book on the kingdom of God.

Willard. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (IVP: 1999)

Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (Navpress:2002). This excellent book is all about spiritual transformation and is especially helpful in defining biblical terms like “soul,” “heart,” “spirit,” and “body.”

Willard. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Harper and Row: 1988). A great book, profound, clearly written. Richard Foster called it “the book of the decade.”

Wilmore, Gayraud. Black Religion and Black Radicalism: An Interpretation of the Religious History of African Americans.

Wimber, John. Power Healing (Harper and Row). An excellent, encouraging text filled with realism and hope.