Article: Georgia Harkness: A Chastened Liberal Spirituality for the Mainline Protestant Church, by Joseph D. Driskill

Joseph Driskill’s SSCS Presidential Address, delivered at an SSCS session of the American Academy of Religion meeting last November, appears as an article in the newly published spring issue of Spiritus. Here is an excerpt from the article’s introductory section:

Among her accomplishments, Harkness published a number of books and articles on topics focused on spirituality, including, works on prayer, the dark night of the soul, and mysticism. Given the growing interest in Christian spirituality among mainline Protestants since the final decades of the twentieth century and the explicit emphasis on prayer in the United Methodist Church since 1983 through its Academy for Spiritual Formation retreat programs, it is surprising that little has been done to reintroduce and reclaim Harkness’ works. It was only in 2005 that her major work on prayer (published in 1948), Prayer and the Common Life, was reissued. There is little critical assessment of her understanding of Christian spirituality or of her contribution to the spirituality of mainline Protestant denominations. This paper will take a small step in addressing this lacuna by investigating concepts central to her spirituality and assessing the contribution her work makes to mainline Protestant spirituality.

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