Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality

CSP 603W CORE READINGS: Cosmic Christ                                      Credits: 1


Instructor: Matthew Fox (art as meditation: Noirin Ni Riain)     


Schedule: Semester, Day, Time:  October 4-5, 2003

                 Saturday, October 4: Seminar: 9:00 a.m.-noon

                                                                  1:00-3:00 p.m.

                                                   Art as Meditation: 3:30-6:30 p.m.

                 Sunday, October 5:    (Process group: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)

                                                   Seminar: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


Course Description:  Core Readings courses cover the basic literature and themes of Creation Spirituality and Cosmology.  Basic texts include books of Matthew Fox, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and others.

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Christian tradition flies on two wings – that of the historical Jesus and that of the Cosmic Christ. Often people muddle the two and the resultant confusion results in a distorted Christianity and a deadened mysticism.  In this class we will explore the tradition of Cosmic Wisdom or Cosmic Christ and with it the mystical richness of creation-centered spirituality.  Like the Buddha Nature, the Cosmic Christ exists in all beings.  We will explore Biblical bases for this tradition and its implications for deep ecumenism, renewed worship, the dialog of science and religion, eco-justice and more.  And we will look at the medieval mystics and their teachings on the Cosmic Christ.


Course Objectives



Course Requirements


1.Attendance, participation and completion of reading prior to the class….60%

(Attendance at each session of the weekend is required in order to gain credit for the course).

2.   Final Paper (4-5 pages)..……..…………………………………………40%


Required reading: Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ


Recommended reading: Fox, One River, Many Wells




Seminar Class Outline:


Who, What is the Cosmic Christ?

How to re-read the Scriptures through the eyes of the Cosmic Christ

The Cosmic Christ as Buddha Nature: Deep Ecumenism

The Cosmic Christ in pre-modern mysticism including Hildegard, Francis, Aquinas, Eckhart, Julian of Norwich

Contemporary Issues and the Cosmic Christ including sexuality and mysticism

Environmental justice; renewal of worship




Art as Meditation: Noirin Ni Riain

 The Happy Heart is True” (Brigid, Irish Christian Saint, 5th century)


Magic happens when the heart listens in the space of silence.  There is a certain kind of listening that allows the sound of God to be heard.  It is a space that simply sings and sounds; a sacred space that aims at nothing other than the reality of God’s presence.  This three-hour space will reflect on the triune sound of God mirrored in the triune lettered word of A-U-M, the primal sounds of the universe.  Voices past, Hildegard von Bingen, Mira Bai, St. Augustine, Simone Weil, Emily Dickinson, the psalmists, the unknown composers of Gregorian chant, the unknown women from the Irish tradition who prayed through their songs, to name a few, will dialogue with voices present in the moment to listen out for and to respond to what Noirin calls “theosony,” the sound of God.  As the icon is the visual image of God, so too sound is the aural religious experience. Both work together: a democracy of sacred radicalness.  If the triune timespan allows, Noirin will illustrate how a visual iconic fragment of Scripture can become an aural and oral experience, rather akin to taking up a silent music score which on the perceiving comes alive in the inner ear.  This Scripture is not only read and heard; it reads and hears us too.  The words of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard say it all about the aim of this class:

“The true relationship in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for, but when the person praying continues to pray until s/he is the one who hears, who hears what God wills…the true person of prayer only listens.”