We’ve heard some inquiries from people who are not walking a Christian or Christ-based path – who identify with other faith traditions, or call themselves “spiritual but not religious,” and who are skittish about a workshop identified with Christ in any context.
So, we felt it would be good to have a planning team member share her experience as an Earth-based spiritual edgewalker who’s clenched her teeth, swearing silently “I will not bolt, I will not bolt” when she’s heard ministers edging too close to standard-issue Christian doctrine, or scented the least whiff of proselytizing, and who shies away from theology and dogmatic constructs like poison ivy…
…and who, for years, has been seeking a way to bridge the psychological chasms between a “heretical” childhood vision of the Divine conscious oneness of creation, versus evangelical-charismatic teen and college years, versus a twentysomething near-vocation to the convent, versus an adult life drawn to Earth-based and indigenous spirituality, along the way witnessing too many spiritual manipulations and abuses across too many denominations, and grieving helplessly over the injustices done to the First Peoples of the world as Western Civilization proceeds on its rapacious way, mowing down primeval cultures and ecosystems like blades of grass.
That search finally found its fulfillment in the ancient/post-modern Creation Spirituality teachings of theologian/author/activist Matthew Fox…and particularly when he said that the Earth, women, GLBT people, people of color, and indigenous nations are being crucified on the cross of modern Christians’ shadow-Christ. This priest, I knew in that moment, saw what others could not or would not. Two years later, I was managing his website and helping to promote his work.
Even so, it was a stretch for me to attend the first in the newest series of trainings that he and author Andrew Harvey are co-directing, the Christ Path Seminar: was this just Christianity in a sneaky new wrapping, a new form of pious deception, I wondered? No – knowing the integrity that the two author/educators demonstrate, that was surely impossible.
It was a worthwhile and healing stretch, as it turned out, as I listened to them deconstructing the pop-Christ for a deeper, truer, more integral cosmic Awareness, and reframing Jesus from a schmaltzy BFF to a potent advocate for justice and compassion for all, and especially for the most vulnerable. I found myself reconnecting to my earlier, forgotten experiences of Jesus-connection, forgiving and integrating the see-sawing spiritual path of my past. Yes, I was (and am) still a solitary, Earth-based, spiritual edgewalker, but a door that had been shut in my soul was now ajar.
So why am I sharing this?
For the past six months, I’ve been helping to promote the Christ Path Seminar….and this coming weekend, June 28-30, is the next workshop in the series, exploring the Cosmic Christ and Historical Jesus, with theologian Bruce Chilton as guest speaker. True to Doctors Fox and Harvey’s teaching techniques, this weekend will engage us, on-site and online, in learning and practices for the mind, body and spirit:
- We’ll explore depictions of the historical Jesus and the new vision that has emerged during the last 30 years as a result of the work of The Jesus Seminar and scholars such as Fox, Harvey and Chilton.
- Matthew Fox will give an overview of the historical Jesus as a revolutionary and a radical in all aspects of his message–political, economic, religious.
- Andrew Harvey will reveal the secret nature of Jesus’ teachings available in the Gospel of Thomas–and we will discover the Jesus who did not want to be adored as an avatar, but who had discovered an empowering and divinizing relationship with the Father/Mother, and sought to share it with everyone.
- Matthew Fox will introduce a new, transformational practice that he has been working on — walking the Stations of the Cosmic Christ. This practice can transform us and inspire the artist in us to create our own Stations.
If you want to get a sense of the passion and eloquence of these two master-teachers’ offerings – enough to make this Earth-based “spiritual anarchist” come back for more! – check out the DVDs of their first Christ Path weekend, just $50 + s/h for the full 12-DVD set, 20 hours of recorded content.
But more important, do sign up for the upcoming weekend, which will remain available as live-stream recording for 30 days after the actual event. I guarantee – there will be no altar calls, but lots of challenges to your preconceptions and invitations to step beyond them into a new, broader and deeper experience of the Divine. Truly a worthwhile and inclusive experience to be savored again and again, whatever your faith tradition.
To learn more about the upcoming Christ Path Seminar weekend being offered online and on-site in Pittsburgh, PA, 6/28-30, see http://www.christpathseminar.org/ai1ec_event/cosmic-christ-and-the-historical-jesus/?instance_id=123
To order the complete 12-DVD set of recordings from the first Christ Path Seminar weekend, see http://www.christpathseminar.org/participate-by-dvd/