Taught by God: Teaching and Spiritual Formation by Karen-Marie Yust and E. Byron Anderson Chalice, St. Louis, 2006. 186 pp. $21.99. ISBN 978-08272-3649-3.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATORS need a vibrant spiritual life. This seems obvious but it is easy to overlook. When we think about education, we immediately think about our own schooling where we were required to regurgitate information. We do not think about deeper dimensions of formation and what this demands of the teacher. But "can we teach Christians to pray" authors Karen-Marie Yust and E. Byron Anderson stress again and again, "if we ourselves do not know a life of prayer?" (p. 19).
Taught by God is designed to address this oversight. It retrieves a rich variety of paths to Christian wisdom. In fact, a more accurate subtitle would be "Spiritual Resources for Religious Educators." Organized around a four-part exploration of teacher identity, teaching context, models, and evaluation, the book essentially reviews a series of classical texts (Luther, Kierkegaard, Julian of Norwich, John Cassian, Jane de Chantai, Francis de Sales, Anthony, John Bunyan, John Climacus, Thomas à Kempis, Benedict, Catherine of Siena, Diadochos, Ignatius, Henri Nouwen, and Simon Weil), as well as contemporary educational theorists, such as Parker Palmer and Mary Belenky.
The summaries of primary texts and secondary source commentary on them makes for dry reading, a problem "easily rectified," Yust and Anderson say, "through further reading" of the classics (p. …