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University of Creation Spirituality
Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program

March 2004 Intensive
March 22-26 2004 CA

Seminar: Immersion in Creation Spirituality  © - # 60001A

Instructor: Mel Bricker, D.Min, Carol Vaccariello, D.Min     

Faculty Bio: Mel Bricker holds a D.Min. in Spiritual Care and Counseling and M.A. in Creation Spirituality. Served for 29 years as a United Methodist clergy in west Michigan where he was active in addressing World Hunger issues, served as Chairperson of the Michigan Area (UMC) Task Force on Spiritual Formation and taught seminars on Prayer and Healing at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, MI. Currently Mel is Vice President of Academic Affairs and Co-Director of the D. Min Program.   

Carol Vaccariello is the Co-Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ and has served as Senior Minister and Bridge Builder in Ohio, Michigan and Texas Congregations. Carol’s emphasis is bridging among western, eastern and indigenous spiritual expressions. She is a practicing facilitator of the Labyrinth, a teacher of the Medicine Wheel, and a builder of Sacred Drums. Carol is teacher, lecturer, leader of ritual, healer and spiritual guide.

Course Description:   This overview and introduction to Creation Spirituality will explore CS as a movement of the Spirit creating community for living compassionately in our time; will help participants be familiar both intellectually and experientially with the Four Paths of CS and the themes as outlined in Original Blessing by Matthew Fox; and will provide a framework within which to explore ones own psycho/spiritual journey for healing and transformation for self, the human community and GAIA. Topics which emerge in class will also be explored.

Learning Objectives:

Monday---To experience the awe and wonder of a creation-centered spirituality set in a cosmological context

To understand its grounding in the Christian Tradition

To become familiar with CS as a movement.

                 To explore CS as an awakening to the sacredness of the whole of life, to the mystic in each person and  to CS as a way of being in the world.

Tuesday---To become familiar with the four paths of Creation Spirituality as articulated by Matthew Fox as a spiraling journey to and in compassion.

                 To learn about themes for understanding the via positiva, particularly:

§         Dabhar

§         Creation as Blessing and Savoring Blessing

§         Cosmic universality

§         Trust & Expansion

§         Panentheism

§         Realized Eschatology

     To experience CS as a spiritual practice as well as a system of thought.

     For students to discern signs of where they are in the via positiva

            Wed.-------To learn about themes for understanding the via negativa, particularly:

§         Emptying: Letting go of Images

§         Letting silence be silence

§         Being Emptied: Letting Pain be Pain

§         Sinking into Nothingness and Letting Nothingness be Nothingness

      To appreciate the via negative as a way of entering into the divine

      To discover the via negativa as fertile ground for entering into the via creativa

      For students to discern signs of where they are in the via negativa

Thurs.-----  To learn about themes for understanding the via creativa, particularly:

§         Cosmogenesis

§         Trust & Expansion

§         God as Mother, God as Child

       To discover ones own resources for creativity

       For students to discern signs of where they are in the via creativa


Friday--------To learn about themes for understanding the via transformativa, particularly:

§         Compassion as a passion for creation

        To learn through stories of transformative work

        For students to become committed to compassionate infiltration of the worlds in which they move

        For students to discern signs of where they are in the via transformativa

Required Reading:

1.                   Fox, Matthew. Original Blessing. Santa Fe: Bear, 1983. (Bring to class)

2.                   Swimme, Brian: The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos. New York: Orbis, 1996.

3.                   O’Murchu, Diarmuid. Evolutionary Faith:  Rediscovering God in Our Great Story, Maryknoll, New York: Tarcher, 2002.

4.                   Steindl-Rast, David. A Listening Heart: The Spirituality of Sacred Sensuousness. New York: Crossroads, 1983,1999.

5.                   Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992—or, any book of Oliver’s poems.


Suggested Reading:

1.                   Swimme, B. & Berry, T. The Universe Story. New York: Harper San Francisco, 1992

2.                   Fox, Matthew, A Spirituality Named Compassion. San Francisco: Harper, 1990.

Pre-Class & Post-Class Writing Assignment: Choose one option for each paper: Pre-paper 5-8 pages, post-paper 5-15 pages. Please cite bibliographical references.

1.                   Reflect on how Creation Spirituality has enabled or is enabling you to move beyond a dominant focus on a fall/redemption world view.

2.                   Collect images of the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality. Select one image for each of the Four Paths and reflect on how each image relates to the path for which you selected it.

3.                   Identify points at which an understanding of Creation Spirituality sheds light on your understanding of or transforms a part of your religious/spiritual tradition.

4.                  Take a crucial issue of our day and reflect on it in light of the themes and principles of Creation Spirituality.

5.                   Share about a community or communities of which you are a part, identify ways in which Creation Spirituality can empower you to live with compassion within it/those.

6.                   Choose something in the natural world and explain how it brings you to awe and wonder. How is it a microcosm of the macrocosm? Where is the divine within it?

7.                   Reflect on where the center of the universe is in the cosmology of Brian Swimme. What does that suggest about the empowerment and employment of your life energies?

8.                   Open: Choose a topic with which you particularly connect  or share something in your journey which you want to explore in relationship to any principle or theme of CS.

Your paper must evidence reference to the readings for the class and/or class discussion. A general personal journey paper without specific reflection on the readings or class discussion will be returned for rewriting.

© Fulfills Core required class

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