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Faith & Religion, Teaching/Education

Teaching Spirituality and Wellbeing

During my years of theology lecturing I’ve had the opportunity to teach a number of courses in the area of Christian spirituality, as well as do some research connected to that. (Back in the day as a BD student I did the Spiritual Formation Integrated Fieldwork (IFE) option in my final year, rather than the typical theological teaching option taken by BD students).

The courses I’ve taught include:

  • Expressions of Christian Spirituality (University of Auckland)
  • Spirituality in Aotearoa New Zealand (University of Auckland)
  • Spirituality and Wellbeing (University of Auckland)
  • Historical and Contemporary Models of Spirituality (Laidlaw College)
  • Christian Spirituality and Wellbeing (Laidlaw College)

Some of these courses were ones I inherited, others I co-taught with colleagues, sometime I covered them when a colleague was on sabbatical, but over the years I have made them distinctively mine each time I have taught them.

As an aside, the Spirituality in Aotearoa New Zealand course was a course that a colleague and I developed as a blended course that integrated online and on-campus students. It was developed around three core modules, and a smaller fourth module:

  1. An introduction to spirituality, and in particular, Christian spirituality.
  2. Indigenous spirituality;
  3. Peace and peacemaking;
  4. Everyday spirituality;

The course used extensive multimedia resources we developed and curated that allowed students to work individually and collaboratively on tasks related in the modules (e.g. The peace and peacemaking module had a section exploring ‘Anzac spirituality’, including analyzing how different media outlets covered Anzac Day). For the on-campus students, there was three hour teaching block each week split evenly between lecture and computer lab time. Was a good course at developing relationships between online and on-campus students, as well as

Over this summer, I’ll be teaching the Masters level course, Christian Spirituality and Wellbeing. The course has its origins in the University of Auckland course I taught three times, and this year I’ve spent a lot of time updating the topics and related materials to include more recent local scholarship from Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and Australia. The problem, of course, is that I can’t cover every topic, and in fact, every topic is worth a course in itself. I had to drop the spirituality and children module, as well as the material on spiritual addiction, though I’m sure they’ll come up in discussion. The spirituality and identity section has been enlarged though, and spirituality and sport has been expanded to reflect on the human body more broadly.

The course is always a joy to teach – for example, one year I had someone in to talk about tikanga in medical research – and I learn a lot from each cohort of students. This time the course looks like this:

R402.830 Christian Spirituality and Wellbeing

NQF Level: 8 Credit Value: 30


Christian spirituality reflects the integration of beliefs, value and practices oriented around the person and work of Jesus Christ. This course critically examines the relationship between Christian spirituality and personal and communal wellbeing. It examines how the practice of Christian spirituality contributes positively to the notion of wellbeing, as well as how it might function negatively. Topics covered include Christian spirituality in relation to food and hospitality, sport and recreation, the marketplace, health and medicine, and sexuality.


  • Course introduction: Spirituality and wellbeing
  • Spiritual but not religious?
  • Spirituality and identity
  • Theological perspectives on wellbeing
  • Spirituality and the dark night of the soul
  • Spirituality, disability and healthcare
  • Spirituality and the marketplace
  • Spirituality and the body
  • Spirituality and hospitality
  • Spirituality and sexuality

Formal enrollment for credit is now closed, but there may be a few places for non-formal students (audit) for the teaching block after New Year over 14-19 January 2019. Contact the Laidlaw Graduate School to check.

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