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  1. Jeanneth
    Jeanneth says:

    Len, to answer your qoitseun as a Fuller M.Div grad yes and no. Both pretty are pretty big, in fact. First the no. Fuller isn’t very good about promoting spirituality. From what I can tell no seminary is very good at that. We’ve intellectualized the faith a lot and made te spirituality aspects sort of an assumption. Which really isn’t part of Christian history of discipleship. Spirituality has always been a part of the transmission of the faith.The Spiritual disciplines, and associated courses, are offered but they are not requirements.However, I have to also say yes because of my own experiences. Because I was intentional about studying that side of our shared faith I made a point of taking the available courses and pursuing conversations. Fuller very much is a place that is what you make it. It doesn’t force anything on anyone and there are enough people to facilitate working out what you want to work out. The faculty really do have an amazing balance of ministry and academics, meaning they are often quite willing to come alongside.Early on I took the class on spiritual disciplines and it really opened my eyes. So much of the neo-monastic movement as I’ve seen it is pretty shallow, to be honest, taking a lot of the forms and the words, but not really studying those who went before to discover the depths. Being able to study more thoroughly opened my eyes to the breadth of teaching and the depth.I notice how the neo-monastics don’t always tap into that, with a distinct historical limitation, it seems. There’s not a lot of engagement with Cassian, for instance, or the Eastern monastics, or so many others that tap into the depths of the struggles and goals of such a task. Fuller offers so much help in bringing depth to a neo-monastic side of things. No, it’s not going to say how to live it out, but what it can do is offer real training in how to approach those who offer so much teaching on the subject from centuries past and help to broaden one’s understanding.For my spiriutal disciplinse class one of the assignments was to write a rule and then keep it up for at least the duration of the class. There’s no accountability after the class, unless we pursue it on our own, but there was definitely emphasis and introduction of key themes to help those who are new become better versed.One of the desert fathers noted that no one should go out to the desert unless they are already a teacher. Committing to those disciplines has an advanced quality of learning that can so easily be lost in just copying the forms. Having the ability to teach to self-teach and apply within community means having the maturity and understanding to best embrace this advanced spiritual life. Fuller offers such a great way in becoming that kind of teacher. For me, I know, going to Fuller helped to absolutely prepare me for more advanced’ courses of God’s training through a monastic lifestyle after I graduated. If I didn’t have that background I would not have had the tools to understand how to deal with various issues, topics and challenges.So no Fuller doesn’t emphasize this or offer formal, required training. But yes, Fuller offers what could not only help but also radically ground a neo-monastic lifestyle and community.

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