After a concerned parent contacted us, we researched Harding University in Arkansas and Harding School of Theology in Tennessee (both under the same umbrella) and discovered that Harding needed to be added to our list of Christian schools that are promoting contemplative spirituality. Both the University and the School of Theology have integrated Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative) into their schools.
Course textbooks being used at both the University and the Harding School of Theology include, but are not limited to:
1. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (BFAM 338 Instructor: BAKER)
2. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton (HTS, 5901 Spiritual Leadership, Instructor: Huffard) (Mr. Huffard uses materials from several other contemplatives as well as you can see on this 2012-2013 syllabus: Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, David Benner, Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright, and more.)
3. Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard (HTS, 5901)
4. Several contemplative/emerging books recommended in 5732 Foundations of Counseling with instructor John Kennedy: Spiritual Friend and Spiritual Director by Shalem Institute’s Tilden Edwards as well as books by Henri Nouwen, Gerald May, M. Scott Peck, and Ken Wilber.
5. Introduction to the Old Testament by Walter Brueggemann (5001, Advanced Intro to Old Testament)
6. Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth (5450, Contemporary Christian Thought); Under recommended reading in the syllabus in this class is the mystic Karl Rahner.
7. Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa (5850, Congregational Ministry; Instructor: Bland) Note: The syllabus for this course shows other contemplative/emerging books used as well by: Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, Reggie McNeal, H.B. London, Dan Kimball, Eddie Gibbs, Marva Dawn, Steve Covey, and Tony Campolo.
8. Transformational Teaching with Professor Cochran is introducing “contemplative reading approaches” (i.e., lectio divina) to students (see syllabus). Syllabus in this class does not show textbooks.
Under the Master of Ministry, the following two courses are offered as well:
651. SPIRITUAL FORMATION AND DISCIPLESHIP. (3) Fall (odd) Exploration of meditation, prayer, and the essential methods of theological reflection pertinent to ministry: analysis of scripture, reflective writing, and discernment of case studies. An examination of one’s own faith journey (past, present, and future) and an exploration of strategies to mentor others in personal faith development in the contexts of family, communities of faith, and society at large.
652. SPIRITUAL FORMATION AND DISCIPLESHIP PRACTICUM. (1) Fall (odd) An individualized, practical component that provides hands-on experience in the congregational context for students wishing to increase their mastery of spiritual formation and discipleship.
Plus, three Spiritual Formation classes at the undergraduate level are:
BFAM 335 – Spiritual Formation of Adults
BFAM 331 – Spiritual Formation in Children
BFAM 332 – Spiritual Formation in Adolescents
There are other examples at both Harding schools to show that Harding has incorporated contemplative/spiritual formation into the programs there. Parents sending their children to Harding should know that they will be exposed to the spirituality of the contemplative mystics.