This overview class of Contemporary Christian Spirituality is actually something I could use as a class for the students who attend Treehouse. The students that find us and join us are usually 50% lifelong Lutherans. Lutherans of all flavors and understanding, meaning this semester we have a couple LCMS as well as ELCA students. The other 50% of students are those who have been shunned by the church, usually because they are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. We lovingly call these folks exevangelicals. This class would be something that would speak to the community that is trying to find their way in their faith. After leaving home and a congregation they have loved, liked, endured or have escaped from they are looking for a way to make faith their own even if they can not put that to words or know it. A lot of students on the A&M campus would probably define themselves as spiritual but not religious, and I am sure a few of the students who have attended Treehouse over its existence, the time I have been there, and this year would also claim this understanding.
All of this said, I believe the concepts and ideas we learned about this semester are things that would be readily accepted by the students at Treehouse. I know this is the case because last year I taught several classes on spirituality. We looked at Centering Prayer and practiced doing that at least once together each semester. We also talked about rosaries and Lutheran rosaries, as I have created Lutheran Pocket Rosaries and have an outline of prayers available on my website (https://asacredrebel.com/a-lutheran-rosary/). We also talked about labyrinths, and we “walked” finger labyrinths we received from a congregation. The students were asking for this and wanted to learn concepts and practices they could do to enrich their spiritual lives and connection to God.
This led to my DMin project for this class, a 6-session study on spiritual practices. I have told the students about this and how I was thinking about using it next semester as a part of our Tuesday night gatherings and the response was an overwhelming yes this is something they wanted to do. In this study we will look at Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer, Active Prayer Practice and Lectio Divina, in one session as an overview and then take the next session to practice Centering Prayer. I have to say that when I led centering prayer with the students last year I was surprised at how none of them were surprised or worried about sitting in prayer/silence for 20 minutes, and most of them asked if we could go longer. The Third session will be practice of Lectio Divina, which I am hoping will become a staple for Bible Studies. The Fourth Session is a prayer beads overview, looking at traditional Catholic Rosaries, Lutheran Rosaries, and Anglican Prayer Bead. In session 5 we will make prayer beads, and then practice praying with them. Session 6 we will visit a local supporting congregation and walk their labyrinth.
I believe these practices will be something the students enjoy and use for their time in college and possibly the rest of their lives.