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Discerning In Color: Seeking the Spirit through Creative Processes

Text: Discerning in Color Image: Paintbrushes sitting in paint

Unfortunately, Discerning in Color has been cancelled for this fall. At this time, we do not know when it might be rescheduled. Thanks so much for your interest in courses of the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. 


September 2 – October 7, 2020

The critical challenge for those who follow Christ and seek to live a life faithful to God is to hear God’s voice amidst the din of all competing voices and demands in our lives. How do we know which decision will bring fulfillment or which voice is the Spirit’s leading? Contemplative creative expression assists in quieting our inner and outer worlds in order to discern God’s leading. Employing our creativity reveals the intersection of our desires and God’s desires, as well as exposes the places where our desires may conflict with God’s.  If you are ready to use your own creativity as a tool for discernment, journey with your classmates for five weeks of discovery. Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen will serve as our text.

No artistic training is necessary!

This course is perfect for individuals who are willing to use their imagination and creativity to discern God’s leadings in their own lives and those seeking to assist others to discern God’s guidance through spiritual direction/formation ministries within their congregation and community.

Course Information

For 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), plan to spend about 3.5 hours per week, reading, working on assigned exercises, posting your responses on Moodle Forums, and responding to postings of other members of the class. Make a total of at least 3 responses each week to classmates’ Forum posts. Post your assignments by 12 midnight on Thursday of each week of the course. You will respond to classmates during the following week as you prepare for the next assignment. You will meet virtually with one other participant throughout each week of the course.

Be prepared to take photos of your creative expressions and upload them in a jpg format to Moodle to share with class members.

Course reading:

  1. Course handouts/ PowerPoint /YouTube– available from the instructor on line.
  2. Text: Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen with Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird . New York: Harper One,  2013.
  3. Additional posted bibliography. Class participants will choose one additional reading from the rich resources in spiritual direction/formation ministry to create their specialized learning objectives for the course.
  4. A variety of artistic media will be used including oil pastels, photography, water color, poetry, journaling, and collage.

About Rev. Dr. Karla Kincannon

Rev. Dr. Karla Kincannon

Rev. Dr. Karla KincannonReverend Karla M. Kincannon, D.Min., is an affiliate faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a retired elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Karla believes God’s gift of creativity is an essential tool for navigating the spiritual journey, and a necessary element for the corporate life of the church.  She invites others to be courageously creative as a way of knowing God, embodying God’s image, and building God’s kin-dom on earth. She is the author of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection, as well as numerous articles about the spiritual journey.  She has created curriculum for the United Methodist Church. Karla lectures, leads workshops, and facilitates retreats in a variety of ecumenical settings nationwide. She has served as a parish pastor, campus minister, college chaplain and has been a spiritual director for 30 years.



Please visit the Connectional Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the full list of our frequently asked questions.

Want to learn more about the online courses offered through the Rueben P. Job Institute? Please visit the Rueben P. Job Institute Online Courses in Spiritual Formation/Direction webpage.

Cancellation Policies

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Course Cancellation Policy

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary reserves the right to cancel the course if a minimum participation level is not reached. If we cancel this offering, participants will be notified of the cancellation 7 business days before the offering’s start date and will receive a full refund.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Policy for Participant Cancellation

Participants can withdraw from the course in writing via e-mail to

Refunds will be provided according to this schedule:

  • Withdrawals received more than 30 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 100% refund.
  • Withdrawals received between 29 to 16 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 50% refund.

No refunds will be issued for withdrawals received 15 days or less before the course starts.