Christophany, Creativity, & Church of the PlanetAn Introductory Course on the Center for Christogenesis
A New Online Course Offering from the Center for Christogenesis
Christophany, Creativity, and the Church of the Planet
An Introduction to the Center for Christogenesis
Tuesday Evenings, May 11 – June 1
7:00 pm – 9 pm ET USA (UTC/GMT-4)
Limited to 80 Participants
What are the essential characteristics of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophical and theological insights? How might they help to shape a new appreciation of the God-world relationship?
The twentieth-century Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was an exciting and novel thinker. He had a profound love for the natural world and grappled intimately with the mystery of materiality, a dynamic exchange that ultimately revealed an unmistakable luminosity at the heart of all things. For him, science was not a closed system of predetermined truths about the universe; it was an interactive process of probing the dimensions of the unknown, whereby each act of discovery was a new and more compelling truth. Teilhard identified this deepening awareness, or consciousness, with Christ as the very fiber of a complexifying, unifying, and personalizing universe.
As we continue to grapple with the revelations of the world—the new truths that frequently require a reorientation of the content of our hearts and minds—the Center for Christogenesis is offering this course as an opportunity to explore the unique Teilhardian vision of Ilia Delio, with the explicit intention of digging deeper into the core concepts of Christogenesis, Creativity, and Christophany. We will deal primarily with such questions as: What are the essential characteristics of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophical and theological insights, and how might they help to shape a new appreciation of the God-world relationship? What exactly is this notion of “Christogenesis” so frequently evidenced in his writings, and why is the term necessary and important in an evolving world? How might religion and spirituality be enriched and expanded by these concepts?
More specifically, this course has been designed to provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the mission and theology of the Center for Christogenesis. Through group learning and discussion, participants will be enabled to interpret and apply theological concepts, while at the same time be nourished by select spiritual exercises in the spirit of the transformative power of love in the cosmos. By the end of our time together, the hope is that each student will obtain a deeper appreciation of the theological work of the Center for Christogenesis, and so be prepared to engage and hopefully advance the Teilhardian vision of Ilia Delio.
The course will meet on four consecutive Tuesdays from May 11 to June 1. Each meeting will last for two hours, with time allotted for a presentation from the instructors, guided small group discussion, and time for participants to ask questions. While no theological background is required to register, participants are asked to read the books listed below each class description, and a small selection of relevant texts. PDFs of the readings will be supplied to registrants. Links to purchase them are also listed below and will also be provided in your receipt email after registration.
Meeting 1: 5/11
Christogenesis and Christophany
Roman Catholic priest Raimon Panikkar lamented that Christology was unable to answer the questions that meet the needs of our age. He saw a disconnection between faith in Christ, the cries of the poor, and the abuse of the earth. While he noticed that Christians were concerned with their own internal problems, he also noticed that these same Christians were blind to the world in which they lived. Panikkar’s solution to such a disconnect was to emphasize that the Incarnation was not simply a historical event, but a cultural event in which the material and spiritual are indivisibly one. As such, each person who encounters Jesus Christ can recognize him as the prototype for all humanity, “a central symbol of all reality,” in which “all treasures of the divinity [and] all the mysteries of [humankind]” are united. Thus, there is a deep inner center in the human person with the capacity to manifest Christ, and Panikkar calls this “Christophany.”
Christophany is an invitation for every person to evolve into God, to be drawn in love, to live from a new center of love and to be oriented toward the fullness of love. This class will focus on bringing to light Panikkar’s ideas of Christophany, examine the Christ event, and explore the ways in which Christophany can radically transform spirituality.
Meeting 2: 5/18
The Dynamism of Personhood
Perhaps you have been able to live your whole life without asking the question of what it means to be a human person? A quick internet search on what it means to be human will reveal all sorts of answers, from anthropology to zoology. In this course, we will explore a more holistic understanding of personhood. By considering the human person as both a part of evolution, and also deeply conscious of our collective lives, we can begin to see that we are not just fixed entities but are growing with the universe.
Through a more integral exploration of what the human person is and the place of the human person in the evolution of the world, we can arrive at a deepened understanding of the critical role the person plays in the life of the cosmos. More than just an individual, the human person is drawn to more life, ultimately co-creating the world and adding to the life of God.
Meeting 3: 5/25
Putting on the Mind of Christ: A Consciousness of the Whole
Many individuals who grew up in religious traditions came to know the idea of “sacraments” through strict definitions. Most who have participated in traditional organized religion might recognize sacraments, such as baptism, communion, or marriage, to name a few. What if organized religion, however, did not have a monopoly on the idea of sacrament?
The Catholic Church understands a sacrament to be an “efficacious sign of God’s grace.” This class will explore how we might consider sacraments as more than just liturgical celebrations, but as real manifestations of God’s life in all the material elements of the world. How might our understanding of God, the world, and ourselves change if we can be more attuned to the efficacious signs of God’s grace that are revealed in surprising places in our day to day lives?
Meeting 4: 6/1
The Church of the Planet, Entanglement, and Creative Wholeness
Make no mistake about it: People today are searching for something to believe in, a power that vitalizes and dynamizes life. If the God of Jesus Christ “fills all things,” as St. Paul writes, then God must be found in all things. To belong to the Church is to belong to those committed to finding God in all things. Ilia Delio writes that: “We have to reorient our priorities. What do we really want and do we want it together? This is the question of being Church in the world. The idea of a single individual is an illusion and to live an illusory life is to bear the consequences of separation and isolation. Rather, we are to ‘live with a single passion, the desire to help forward the synthesis of Christ and the universe.’ We must have hope in the Church of tomorrow and desire to be part of its future.’”
Delio’s observations call for a necessary reimagining of Church in the twenty-first century. Following the themes of previous classes, therefore, this class will culminate in a discussion of what “Church” is becoming, and what our responsibility is to shape, create, and become a Church of the Planet.
About the Instructors
Jillian Langford is a PhD student at Villanova University studying systematic theology and spirituality. She earned her BA in theology from Aquinas College, and her MTS from Villanova University. Her research interests include metaphysics, spiritual ecologies, and theologies of friendship. Jillian lives in Philadelphia, PA.
Robert Nicastro is a Ph.D. student in the Theology and Religious Studies program at Villanova University who is specializing in the areas of Biblical Literature and Systematic Theology. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in Theology from Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. Robert’s research interests lie at the intersection of theology and artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and quantum physics.
Hardship Scholarships for Free Access
The Center for Christogenesis wants to be sure that our message can be shared by all, not only those privileged with economic and other advantages. We are keeping a certain number of spaces open for those experiencing a financial hardship. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, as we have limited space available.