In this advanced online synchronous seminar, students will both study and engage in the writing of spiritual autobiography, guided by an established author and minister with many years of experience teaching writing for liberation, healing and resilience.
In this course we will discover how spiritual life writing and journaling provide compassionate self-stewardship and reparative self-care across the helping professions and offer healing from moral injury and secondary trauma. We will learn how life writing as a faith practice can open a path to transcendence, self-integration, and inner security, as well as an ever-deepening relationship to the Divine as well as an opportunity to reflect with theological insight on one’s lived experience. We will witness, in our own work and that of others, how spiritual life writing cultivates not only religious life and community but also courage, integrity, consistency, resiliency and well-being. Such practice is essential for helpers and healers, for justice-workers, care-givers, chaplains and preachers seeking to remain grounded in a time such as this, when we must both serve others and prepare ourselves to engage in “the next battle for our Democracy.”
We will be accompanied in our work by exemplars and ground-breaking writers. As a tool of self-revelation and spiritual enlightenment, spiritual life writing is one of the oldest forms of writing. Religious persons and mystics like Augustine of Hippo, Julian of Norwich and Marjorie Kempe left records of their journeys in the form of life writing, and some wrote about the spiritual lives of others, just as Athanasius of Alexandria wrote about Anthony of Egypt. Other narratives of liberation, like those who wrote about escaping enslavement in the American South, or Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, or the Autobiography of Malcolm X, are also part of this tradition, along with the poetry of Adrienne Rich and many others.
This course is part of Dr. Braxton’s book project in progress. Students who produce exceptional work may have an opportunity to have their work included in the volume.
MDiv and MASC students. SKSM Thresholds: 2. Prophetic Witness and Work 5. Spiritual Practice and Care of the Sole 7. Educating for Wholeness and Liberation and MFC competencies: 2. Pastoral Care and Presence 3. Spiritual Development for Self and Others 6. Serves the larger UU Faith.
Prerequisites: 1) A previous course in creative writing or expository writing, at either the graduate or undergraduate level. 2) A commitment to engage with both the study and the practice of spiritual life writing. 3) A capacity to engage in self-reflection and moral discernment, while holding space for others to engage in the same way.
Faculty Consent Required. Enrollment max: 20. Auditors excluded.