Joy as Spiritual Path in Caregiving Vocations

Spring 2017
T 8:30am - 10:20am
Area IV
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Pastoral care for persons, communities, and the world need not be a dreary, depressing, or defeated endeavor. This course explores joy in action in the narratives of five notable figures: Heidi Neumark, Henri Nouwen, Gregory Boyle, Pauli Murray, and Paul Farmer, gleaning their pastoral theological wisdom and exploring the ways of compassion, connection, freedom, and justice along their spiritual paths. We will learn how to cultivate perspectives that are deep enough to hold human suffering and spacious enough to perceive the divine goodness, beauty, and love. The practice of narrative care will be taught as a means of supporting human flourishing at personal, communal, and societal levels.

Background Expected: 

The Intro, REL 807 is helpful.

Course Requirements: 

Reading about 100 pp/week

Two turns at helping to lead seminar discussions of the reading

Participation in learning exercises

Final paper -20 pages

Basis of Evaluation: 

The default grading system for this class is “Regular,” meaning that you will earn a grade ranging from honors to low-pass. If you prefer to take the course for credit/no credit, please bring the necessary form to the professor. The scale is as follows:

Honors to H-Range—Class participation is marked by thorough preparation, curiosity, perceptive listening, and insightful speaking. Superior to excellent understanding is evident in all assignments. Summaries are concise and well-written; leadership of the discussion is sensitive and searching. Final paper is of publishable quality. It is original, comprehensive, creative, and reflective, technically proficient, and such a good read.

High Pass+ to HP Range—Class participation is marked by thoughtful preparation, interest, and meaningful contributions to the conversation. Exhibits a fine understanding of the required reading and regular practice of exercises; offers thorough summaries and perceptive leadership. The final paper demonstrates a good analysis of the author’s ideas and practices. It is clearly written, well documented, original, and sound, though not ready for publication.

High Pass- (required for “credit”)—Class participation is marked by preparation and thoughtful exchange of ideas. At least 80% of the reading and exercises must be done; summaries and discussion leadership are coherent and complete. The final paper fulfills the assignment and reflects vocational growth as well as a basic understanding of course themes. There may be some technical errors in the writing.

Low Pass –This work is only marginally passable. At least 70% of the reading must be done, and there may be up to two absences. The paper must fulfill the bulk of the assignment.  Let’s not go here.