This unit provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on decreasing interest in institutional religion but increasing interest in spirituality. Using a range of educational tools, the unit will examine: generational differences in the western post-modern world; the role of religion in traditional and post-traditional societies; an overview of the development theory; biblical, traditional and more modern understandings of faith; the dialogue between institutional religion and personal spirituality; the modern challenges facing individuals and religious communities in our contemporary scientifically oriented society.

Unit code: DP9010Y (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Identify the impact of generational and cultural changes on the role of religion, images of God and the understanding of faith


Exhibit an awareness of theological and developmental theories of human growth


Discuss cultural and age-related issues in the construction and reconstruction of meaning


Recognize the relationship between people’s image of God and their ideas about religion and spirituality


Analyse the challenges and possibilities of reconstructing personal and communal meaning in our contemporary scientifically-oriented society


Propose and evaluate a way of engaging Christian identity with broad, diffuse spirituality in contemporary culture


Lectures, structured questions for reflection, class discussion, student presentations

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bouma, Gary. Australian Soul - Religion and Spirituality in Australia. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Cowdell, Scott. God’s Next Big thing – Discovering the Future Church. Mulgrave: John Garratt, 2004.
  • Delio, Ilia. The Emergent Christ, New York: Orbis Books, 2011.
  • Frame, Tom. Losing my Religion- Unbelief in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009.
  • Gallagher, Michael Paul. Faith Maps. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2010.
  • Langmead, Ross. Reimagining God and Mission. Adelaide: ATF, 2007.
  • O’Leary, Daniel. Begin with the Heart Recovering a Sacramental Vision. Dublin: The Columba Press, 2008.
  • Maher, Anthony, ed., Bridging the Divide between Faith, Theology and Life. Adelaide: ATF Theology,2015.
  • Ranson, David. Across the Great Divide – Bridging Religion and Spirituality Today. Strathfield: St Paul’s, 2002.
  • Rolheiser, Ronald. Seeking Spirituality – Guidelines for a Christian Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998.
  • Rolheiser, Ronald. Secularity and the Gospel - Being missionaries to our children. New York: Crossroad, 2006.
  • Tacey, David. Beyond Literal Belief, Religion as Metaphor. Mulgrave: Garratt Publishing, 2015.
  • Treston, Kevin. Emergence for life not fall from grace. Preston: Mosaic, 2013.
  • Walker, Andrew. Spirituality in the City. London: SPCK, 2005
  • Webb, Val. In Defence of Doubt. St. Louis, MI: Chalice Press, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay on a topic related to the student’s ministry or experience which looks at the challenges facing Church members in meeting the needs of the varying groups in our communities (4500 words)

4500 70.0

Analysis of major ideas and issues presented in article/s chosen by the lecturer (2500 words)

2500 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-30 19:16:45 +1100