Engaging the Spirituality of Henri Nouwen: What is Discernment?

Posted: September 20, 2012


November 27, 6:00 -7:20 pm 

APU Wilden Lecture Hall


Michael J. Christensen (M.A., Yale, Ph.D., Drew) is the Director the Shalom Initiative for Community Development at Drew University and Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley, Ca. 


         As Affiliate Professor of Spirituality in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew, Dr. Christensen teaches spirituality and religious studies and from 1995-2007 was Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew in which he oversaw six doctoral program concentrations.


        He graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a B.A. in Literature and a minor in Psychology and has an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School, where he studied with and became personal friends with Henri Nouwen, and also has a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies from Drew University where his dissertation was on “Apocalyptic Interpretations of the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster”. 


       As a public policy activist for the children of Chernobyl since 1990, Dr. Christensen served as Senior Consultant and Program Manager of the psychosocial component of the Chernobyl Childhood Illness Program--a 4-million dollar USAID cooperative agreement to support medical treatment and mental health training in Ukraine. 


       As a certified field traumatologist and trainer, his has trained several hundred community mental health workers, organizational volunteers, and indigenous leaders in Belarus, Ukraine, Macedonia, and New York City (After 9/11). 


As a community development consultant-trainer, he continues to train and equip community-based coalitions in the USA, Haiti, Malawi, Uganda and other strategic locations through Communities of Shalom. 


         The Reverend Dr. Christensen is the author of nine books and many articles with his most recent books being edited volumes of previously unpublished writings of Nouwen —Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Discernment— all co-authored with his wife, Dr. Rebecca Laird, who is a professor at Point Loma Nazarene University.  They have two adult daughters and live in San Diego, CA.


Note: This information is current for the 2016-17 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.