Visiting Professor of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship
At the bottom of my heart is a family memory of my Great Great Grandmother Tetrick (“Tex Anna Jane”) from Wild West Texas. A converted cattle rustler and gambler, she and her husband became traveling evangelists in the holiness movement in the early 20th century. Around1906, Tex Anna was ordained as a deaconess in the Church of the Nazarene at Pilot Point, Texas. Claiming my holiness heritage, I felt called to urban ministry, was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, and became the founding pastor and executive director of Golden Gate Community, Inc. in San Francisco in the 1980’s. I became a United Methodist minister in the mid 1990’s (pastoring churches in San Francisco and Berkeley); and a professor of practical theology at Drew University. Teaching at the intersection of theology, spirituality and social justice, I focus on social innovation and spiritual transformation. My signature courses are Theology and Practice of Shalom and Exploring Chrisitan Spirituality with Henri Nouwen.
I studied with Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School and was a founding board member of the Henri Nouwen Society in Canada. I love to teach, preach, travel, coach pastors and train leaders in team building, organizing, and asset based community development. Currently, I provide leadership to WorldHope Corps, which drills village wells, provides educational scholarships, sponsors community health initiatives, and conducts leadership training in Malawi, Uganda and elsewhere.
Though I don’t surf, I do attend a weekly 6am Men’s Bible Study comprised of surfers in Ocean Beach, San Diego. I am married to Rebecca Laird; we have two daughters (both educators who mentor social entrepreneurs); and we live near San Diego Bay.
Chapter on “Deification in the Wesleyan Tradition” for new ecumenical volume on Theosis; Revised and expanded edition of C.S. Lewis on Scripture (1979)
Edited Volumes by Henri Nouwen: Nouwen Though a Wesleyan Lens (Cokesbury, 2015); Nouwen Spiritual Trilogy (3 volumes): Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith; Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit; and Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen with Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird, HarperCollins, (2006, 2010, 2014). The Heart of Henri Nouwen: His Words of Blessing, Rebecca Laird and Michael Christensen, eds. (2003).
Partakers of the Divine Nature: Deification in the Christian Traditions, Michael J. Christensen and Jeffery Wittung, eds. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007. Paperback edition: Baker Academic, 2008
C S. Lewis on Scripture (1979, 1988, 1996,2002); Editorial Board Member and Contributor, The C. S. Lewis Bible. HarperCollins (2010)
Associate Editor and Contributor: Routledge Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements, Richard Landes, General Editor (Routledge 2000).
PhD, Drew University
MAR, Yale Divinity School
BA, Point Loma Nazarene University
Point Loma Nazarene University
Wesleyan Theological Society
Historical Theology, Practical Theology, Spirituality and Ministry
The Christian Tradition (History of Christianity)
Theology and Practice of Shalom
Topics and Figures in Chrisitan Spirituality
Modern Lay Theologians: C.S. Lewis and the Inklings
Spiritual Formation: Reading Henri Nouwen with his Sources
Elder, United Methodist Church
Local Church Involvement
First United Methodist Church, San Diego (Water’s Edge campus)