Friday, September 16, 2011

Sacred Soup curriculum for catechumens

    1. Fundamentals of Integral Philosophy
    A central reason that so many people are "spiritual but not religious" is that the practical philosophy that informs their day to day life is more mature than the religion they have been exposed to.  The religion seems childish.
    To move to a most robust spiritual awareness we must have an articulation of our religion that matches our most mature philosophy.  For me, that is Integral and this class will introduce in broad outlines what characterizes such a way of viewing experience.
    1. Developing a mature faith: stages of faith
    Everything that grows does so through stages or levels.  When a stage no longer works for us we have to go through an often difficult transition to a more complex way of being that makes life simpler.  The difficulties may cause us to get stuck.
    One of the things that grows is our faith.  In this class we will get clear first of all about what we mean by faith and then will look at what we have each experienced as the stages we have moved through and will imagine what stages lie ahead for us.
    1. Developing a mature church: stages of community
    Another thing that grows is community.  Using Paul Smith's book, Integral Christianity as our guide we will explore different stages in the development of Christian community.
    Rev. Smith lays out six different types of church as a function of the level of development of the theology of each.  He classifies them as Tribal, Warrior, Traditional, Modern, Post-modern, and Integral Church.
    1. Integral philosophy and Christian Theology
    In this class we will pull together the content of the three previous ones as we try to conceptualize what it means to follow Jesus from an integral perspective.  This central class will be a bridge to the three which follow in which we look at the incarnation, the nature of the divine, and how we can connect to the divine.
    1. Jesus and Christ:  do we worship or do we follow?
    The earliest Christians were followers of Jesus.  But by the time Christianity became the state religion under the rule of Constantine, the religion was more focused on what to believe about Jesus than on his teachings.  In this class we will consider the difference between worshipping Christ and following Jesus and will explore what that means for how we understand our own faith and our own potential to know God.
    1. Three relationships with one God
    God in three persons is not only a formula for the Trinity; it is also the grammar of how we relate to the divine as third person God out there, second person God as Thou in intimate relationship, and first person as God within our very being as the source of our own existence and experience.  In this class we will look at these three ways of being in relationship to God and will share our own experiences with and comfort with each.
    1. Prayer from an integral perspective
    Whatever may be our potential for resting in any or all of these relationships, we will have to give attention to those relationships to deepen them.  We deepen our relationship to the divine through prayer, but what does that mean and what does that look like?