This morning I gave the second in a series of talks at the Bethel University Library that will preview chapters from our forthcoming Whole and Holy Persons: A Pietist Approach to Christian Higher Education. My topic was “Pietism from the High Sierra to the Somme: Holistic Education in the Ecclesiola of Off-Campus Study.”
This is actually a chapter that won’t appear in the book, something David Williams and I have been talking about for a while. We meant to start with then-president Carl Lundquist‘s 1976 post-sabbatical proposal that Bethel integrate spiritual retreats into the college curriculum. Though that idea never materialized, David and I thought that some of what Lundquist valued about spiritual retreats took root in off-campus programs like the ones we’ve taught (David with Azusa Pacific’s semester-long High Sierra Program; me leading a J-term trip to Europe to study World War I). In particular, we wanted to use Lundquist’s proposal and our off-campus experiences to explore two themes that seem central to a Pietist approach to Christian higher education: renewal of the whole person, and renewal of the church (through ecclesiolae in ecclesia).
In the end we decided to save this particular story for a follow-up article, and give the space in the book to David for a broader exploration of how Pietists understand teaching and learning community. But it did seem like a good topic for a half-hour talk — and a way to introduce some themes from the coming book.
Now, I’m hoping to live-tweet most of the talks in this series (as I did Tuesday, with Sara Shady and Marion Larson’s presentation on interfaith dialogue), but obviously I couldn’t do that while I was giving the talk. So I previewed and reviewed my key points throughout the day today. Here are some of my tweets. (You can follow the series and get other book-related information at #wholeandholypersons.)