I noted a couple of weeks ago that I would share my university connections with online courses for people who want to study more in this time of life. This week I will highlight Regent College, my graduate alma mater. While I risk alienating some great grad schools, I cannot imagine a better place for me to do my degree. I was trying to learn how to integrate a vocation of ministry, teaching, and writing, and Regent College gave me a theologically-rich place to do just that.
Regent College is now an internationally renowned graduate school with a star-studded faculty team, but it began 51 years ago as small, relational, intellectually rich and spiritually dynamic Summer School program. As the graduate school sprouted up around this program on the UBC campus, the Summer School has remained central. I remember as a student there, having the opportunity to work with visiting faculty and the Summer School team, and attending weekly lectures by scholars and practitioners from around the world. You can read more about the Regent Summer School here, and I have included some nice testimonial videos below.
Not long after I graduated in 2005, I began working in Regent’s Distance Ed program, and I now am the instructor for two of Eugene Peterson’s spiritual theology courses, which began as Summer School courses a generation ago (you can find them here and here). As COVID-19 has disrupted international travel, Regent has moved its Summer School online. There are dozens of courses, conferences, and events, and I am tempted to just focus on courses by my mentor Rikk Watts (see Rikk’s two-punch Isaiah-Mark combo here and here) or my favourite OT introduction by Prof. Iain Provan. Instead, though, I will highlight just a handful of courses, and you can see the whole catalogue here:
In this course, world-leading biblical scholar Darrell Bock will help students consider key texts and themes that inform the theology of Luke and Acts—the largest unified block of material in the New Testament. A long-time teacher and writer, Dr. Bock’s commentaries have been helpful, and his groundbreaking A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized for All Nations is a good companion to the course.
In his beautifully crafted letter from a prison cell, the apostle Paul lays before us a glorious vision of what the living God has done for us in Jesus Christ. In no other document are we given as grand a scope of the good news. And in no other letter are we then so clearly shown how this good news is lived out in all the people of God in all walks of life. If we in our time could just live this one letter we would… Well, come and see.
Explore popular literature, music, television, and film that grapple with theological questions. Much of the popular art that we will focus on could be called “prophetic” in the way that it critiques the seductive, false notions of “the good life” that are often leading us away from the gospel itself. Although most of the artists that we will study are not Christians, they have an acute moral and spiritual sensibility that leads them to ask questions about meaning, fulfillment, and moral convictions.
This course will focus on the sayings of Jesus as recorded in all four Gospels – both the attractive (consider the lilies) and the challenging (sell all you own). Students will approach these sayings through the lenses of both scholarship and poetry, including Malcolm Guite’s current sonnets reflecting on and wrestling with the sayings of Jesus.
Examine Indigenous expressions of Christian faith and life. Compare and contrast Western and Indigenous theological methods with specific application to issues such as our understanding of the Creator God, the work of the Spirit, articulation of the gospel, and images of redemption. Critically examine the interaction of culture and the gospel, with particular emphasis on the implications of Indigenous language, voice, history, interpretation, and values.
For over two millennia, Christians have been praying. We will trace the cultural history of the Christian spiritual life from the beginning and follow the story to the present. Encounter the most vital historical traditions, gain perspective, and learn the dangers and opportunities for the Christian today who wishes to pray well. By the end you’ll be able to sketch a map of Christian spirituality—and with a map, one can enjoy a lifetime of exploration.