The concepts of Christogenesis can be hard to grasp. Ilia Delio and other contributors to the website write in simple, and sometimes eloquent, prose, but those of us without a science or theological background can still struggle with what it all means.
One way to deal with this through a Christophany Group is to have a “book club”, in which the group members help each other unpack a text.
The Vancouver group has chosen a different tack. We have adopted a support group model. There are no assigned readings. Each member is responsible for their own growth through books, blogs and videos. We then meet and each person gets 10 – 15 minutes to share their growth and struggles. We then close with 10 – 15 minutes of communal silence. Because of the time needed for sharing, the group is limited to seven members. Because of the depth of the sharing we are finding the members have a strong sense of commitment.
The sharing can consist of either grappling with a concept or how the individual is experiencing Christophany in their own lives. For instance, in a recent meeting the following topics were covered:
- A Christogenic understanding of global warming
- Family’s responses to a member’s changing spirituality, both in terms of healing and opposition
- An “aha experience” about the meaning of the Cosmotheandric principle
- A major life change at a time when the member’s concept of God is shifting from anthropomorphic to cosmic consciousness. What is God’s guidance?
Consensus and agreement are not sought; the group is a safe place to share wherever the participants’ spiritual inquiries are taking them. Dialog is encouraged; criticism and “correction” is discouraged.
Group process is encouraged, and the group has experienced some recent tweaking initiated by group members, not the leader. We used to meet for two hours on a Friday evening once a month. The last 30 minutes consisted of quiet contemplation. We have now changed to 90 minute meetings two Mondays evenings a month, ending with 10 – 15 minutes of silence.
Our touchstone for conducting our group is the vision statement found on the website:
“The vision for Christophany Groups is to transform lives and heal our world through communal reflection and collective spiritual practice based in Teilhardian insight.”
We find our format honors this vision and serves us well.
By Bart Begalka, Group Leader, Vancouver