Spiritual Wisdom and Discernment

MS 3XD3/5XD5/6XD6

Many of us want to be able to see where God is at work in our lives, or in the people, church, community, or culture around us. How can we recognize God at work or discern where he is leading? Every person, whether in professional or lay ministry, the academy, or in life in general, needs spiritual wisdom and discernment, and the capacity for skillful and insightful theological reflection.

This course develops awareness of theory, methodology, practice, and the viability of spiritual wisdom and discernment in ministry, in professional and academic work, and in personal life. Wisdom and discernment are especially critical to gaining perspectives on vocation as we experience life-changes, cultural shifts, or aging that seems to change everything. (E.g. does God’s calling in our lives come to an end when we reach the age of retirement, or when a parent puts other things on hold to stay at home and raise children, or when a health challenge or other commitment requires a change of job?) In this course, we will explore various means for developing understanding of spiritual wisdom and discernment, whether through weekly content, reading selected authors, or engaging weekly with the class on our theme as encountered through literature, Christian biography, biblical characters, or events, current or historical events or institutions, and through personal experience. Through pursuing spiritual wisdom and discernment in these various areas, students also develop skills in theological reflection that are crucial to personal spiritual wholeness, professional effectiveness, academic integrity, and successful leadership. Final papers and projects in this course are shaped to the student’s personal, ministerial, or professional needs and interests, and can be done at any MDC degree course level.


  • Explore contemporary and historical perspectives on spiritual wisdom and discernment.
  • Discover ways of engaging in spiritual wisdom and discernment that are relevant for life, ministry, and vocation.


  • Be shaped by the practice of developing skills in theological reflection.
  • Become increasingly attuned to God’s leading in the past and present.
  • Be transformed in small ways through attentive interaction with our topics and each other.


  • Practice engaging in theological reflection on wisdom and discernment through weekly postings.
  • Increase your capacity for wisdom and discernment through thoughtful reflection on content, weekly reading, and research for assignments.
  • Develop your approach to spiritual wisdom and discernment through papers or projects that are shaped towards your own area of professional, ministerial, or academic concern.