The Northwind Center for Theology, Spirituality, and Ministry fosters a creative dialogue between students and faculty working at the four-way intersection of theology (study of God), ministry (service to the community), creative imagination (the way of the heart), and spiritual formation (growth and development). The intellectual and practical focus of this Center is on the dynamic programs, publications, research methods, and creative approaches to theological reflection, spiritual formation, and community development.
Spiritual Formation, according to both C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen, is the formation of the
heart or deepest self, requiring both a ‘baptized imagination’ and an enlightened mind, open to
new and old ideas and ways of being.
The Northwind Certificate and Degree Programs in Spiritual Formation focus on the distinctive approach of Henri Nouwen to spiritual direction, formation and
Faith-Based Community Development, surprisingly, is one of the many practical applications of
spiritual formation and romantic theology, and as such, is included in the program offerings of
Northwind’s Center for Theology and Ministry.
Northwind Certificate and Degree Programs in Community Development focus on practical tools for community development ministry.
This doctoral course of study offers Inklings lovers and life-long learners a systematic way to read the creative works of the whimsical Inklings and to contribute to the field of Romantic Theology. The process involves meeting with the doctoral advisor to develop a bibliography and reading schedule for “Oxford-style” independent learning, periodic tutorials with visiting faculty, and viewing guest lectures.
Pure “Northernness” engulfed me: a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of Northern summer …and almost at the same moment, I knew that I had met this before, long, long ago….” --C.S. Lewis in Surprised by Joy, ch.5
The name of our seminary--Northwind--points to the breath of God and dynamic movement of
the Spirit to orient the compass of our lives to true North. North is the first of the four Cardinal points of the compass to which all others are related. Symbolically, northernness is an orientation in life, a quality of character in literature, an image and metaphor in mythology and poetry, and one of the quadrants of the wheel of life. For C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, the way to God lies to the North, embedded in the images and stories that point to the “regions of the summer stars.”
The Northwind Doctoral Program in Romantic Theology seeks to capture this twilight notion
found in Norse mythology and Celtic spirituality and embodied in the imaginative writings of the Oxford Inklings. In witnessing to primordial truths in ancient wisdom and premodern Christianity, the legacy of the Inklings lives on in the post-
postmodern era, now in service to theology and ministry for the neXtchurch. Students who want
to formally study the writings of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings should apply to this program.