HENRI NOUWEN: Journey to Perfection through Imperfection
A Six-Week Online Course
July 1-August 10, 2013
3-4 hours at home study and on-line each week
This course focuses on the spiritual journey of Henri Nouwen, highlighting his integrated approach and his counterintuitive brand of spirituality. First of all, it is a synthesis of Nouwen’s holistic approach to Christian formation—one that integrates spirituality inwardly with psychology, outwardly with ministry, and upwardly with theology in a seamless fashion. Secondly, it is an exploration of Nouwen’s spirituality of imperfection which he embodied throughout his lived experience—where the journey toward perfection is through the realities of imperfection.
It is hoped that by the end of the course the participant will (1) be able to acquire a balanced and integrated understanding of the inward, outward, and upward nature of the spiritual journey and appropriate its reality within one’s own experience; (2) be able to grasp in both theological and practical ways a spirituality of imperfection that Nouwen himself exemplified.
The six weeks will be divided into two major focal themes: the first three will tackle the nature of our integrated journey and the last three will deal with the reality of our imperfect journey. The learning structure will constitute three things: text readings, threaded interaction, and blog posting.
To get the most out of the course, students are expected to commit themselves to the following threefold learning structure by participating actively in each of them:
Each week there will be assigned readings from the two required texts:
Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life (Image Books, 1975).
Wil Hernandez, Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection (Paulist Press, 2006).
Every Tuesday, each student will respond to a prompted discussion question (DQ) on the topic of the week. The rest of the time until Friday, everyone is free to interact with each other’s responses through brief postings (2-3 each week). Depending upon the size of the class, we may set up small groupings of 4-5 participants per group.
Every Friday, each student will share to everyone their learning highlight of the week via a short blog post, summarizing the insights they have processed through their readings and interactions.
Refer to the Course Syllabus and Weekly Charted Schedule for more details.
Wil Hernandez, Ph.D., Obl. O.S.B., is a trained counselor, certified spiritual director, retreat leader, and the author of a trilogy on Henri Nouwen. A passionate promoter of his enduring spiritual legacy, Wil has been teaching courses focusing on Nouwen’s spirituality in several Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities across the U.S. and abroad for the past eight years now. He has also taught at the Upper Room-sponsored Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation and has been a frequent workshop presenter at its annual SoulFeast Conference. A Benedictine Oblate of Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, CA, Wil conducts numerous retreats all year round everywhere he is invited. His website is www.nouwenlegacy.com.