Exploring Spiritual Formation in the Christian Academy: The Dialects of Church, Culture, and the Larger Integrative Task

Volume
Volume 39
Issue
Spring 2011
Title
Exploring Spiritual Formation in the Christian Academy: The Dialects of Church, Culture, and the Larger Integrative Task
Abstract

The university in general, and the Christian university in particular, are contexts of radical change. Traditional university students are growing physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually at a rate that may never happen again over the course of their lives. This article will seek to help the reader better understand “emerging adults,” describe the unique setting of the Christian academy, and highlight specific areas where Christian higher education leadership should have a clear understanding and focused priorities. An underlying assumption is that the Christian university is a context of imitation and immersion: a powerful and rich moral community (Hill, 2009; Stark, 1996). The article will begin by establishing how language and culture are related, and sociolinguistics can serve as a convenient framework for exploring spiritual formation within the context of higher education. This is followed by a general exploration of the emerging adult demographic. The majority of the essay will focus on the two “dialects” of effective student formation on the Christian university campus: the language of the church and the language of the culture. First, the language of the church will focus on identity formation and growing in wisdom toward the larger goal of spiritual formation. Second, the culture section will look to define culture and worldview, understand culture as text, recognize the orienting, replicating and “EPIC” nature of culture, and finally explore the imago Dei and natural theology as common ground for a Christian engagement within the broader culture. Last, the article will conclude with an exploration of the particular challenges the Christian academy faces in the integrative task. The larger topic of integration will be introduced followed by a discussion of epistemology in light of the postmodern influence. The article will conclude with a reminder that all Christian academic endeavor must be done for the glory of God.

Author
R. Rhea
Pages
3 - 15
Price
Add to Cart $5.00