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Courses Taught in Recent Years | Touching The Spirit

Voice of the Soul, Music of the Heart

Courses Taught in Recent Years

Spirituality Through Music
Exploration of the power of music to express and evoke our deepest humanity; to heal, renew, and develop the person; and to put us in touch with the sacredness and mystery of the universe. Consideration of the connection of music with silence, listening, and discovery of one’s authentic voice; its essentially relational and communal dimension; its blend of inter depth and outer expression; its link with presence, memory, and longing; its relationship with religion and spirituality. Examples will be drawn from classical music, spirituals, folk songs, and other sources; sacred and secular expression; instrumental and vocal forms. No musical background required.

Word, Sacrament and Music
An examination of the notion of word, sacrament, and music as “tangible soul,” that is, as outward expression of an inner reality. A consideration of these as a dimension of human existence, and their reflection in everyday life, its major stages and “rituals.” An exploration of their personal and communal meaning in life and in key activities of the Christian Church: in services such as Baptism, Eucharist, marriage, funerals; other pastoral concerns; church architecture and art.

God and Human Experience
An exploration of the profound human experiences which have led people to affirm an ultimate Reality or Presence; experiences such as wonder and beauty, joy and anxiety, solitude and love, forgiveness and healing. These themes will be illustrated with selections from music and other arts. Pastoral implications will be drawn.

The Universe as Family: Towards A Spirituality of Relationship
In this course, we shall consider the human place within the universe, featuring a theology of creation which stresses the universe as a community of beings to reverence. We shall also examine other dimensions of relationships, including the Trinity as community, loneliness, friendship, and varieties of human relationships, the nature and kinds of family and community. The underlying perspective will stress the sacredness of the human person and of all beings, their interiority, and their essential relatedness.

Loss and Grieving, Healing and Hope
A consideration of experiences related to loss, such as illness, death, separation, divorce, and betrayal. An exploration of how we may understand and respond to these events which, though difficult, are a normal part of life. A reflection on how we may find healing and hope for ourselves and assist or minister to others. An examination of spiritual, religious, and other resources.

Spirituality As Authentic Vision And Way Of Life
In this course we shall consider spirituality as the vision and values by which we shape our life story in order to live meaningfully. We shall explore the human journey to discover and live according to our true self, a self that is unique yet inseparably related to others, to the wider community and to the earth itself. We shall consider key elements of spirituality: personal depth and growth, interpersonal compassion and social justice. The basis of this spirituality will be seen as the sacredness or worth of the human person and of all beings. We shall also explore basic practices such as prayer and meditation, the role of music and other arts, response to suffering, and possible expressions or forms of social involvement. The course will draw upon such authors such as Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen, Kenneth Leech, and others will be considered.

Storytelling and Theology
An examination of story as articulation of life experience and as interpretation of the meaning of life, its key stages and dimensions. The relationship of ones personal story to the core stories of the religious tradition, their liturgical expression, theological interpretation, and ethical implications. The impact of cultural stories on shaping thought, attitude, and action. The situation of one’s personal, relational, and cultural story within the earth story and universe story.

Studies in Practical Ministry
This course examines the notion of ministry as a dimension of human caring as well as the roots, nature, and forms of Christian ministry, from its New Testament origins to its present expressions. Key themes, such as service, presence, compassion, care, healing, justice, etc., will be considered. Presentation and on-site visitation (where feasible) of existing forms of ministering, e.g., hospitals and other care facilities, organizations responding to personal and social needs, or those addressing current issues.

Systematic Theology
This course will explore themes and topics in systematic theology through the exploration of representative theologians of the 20th century, their approaches or methodology, their writings on central teachings of Christianity, and their relationship with other authors and current cultural issues

Theologians for Our Day
This course will examine major themes in the thought of contemporary theologians, chiefly Gregory Baum, Karl Rahner, and Rosemary Ruether, who attempt to relate religion and spirituality to lived experience. They strive in their writings to discern the core of the Christian tradition, to respond to the experiences and questions of the present, and to open up new vistas for the future

Introduction to Christology
This course will examine the person, life, message, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of the New Testament and of later theological reflection. It will consider the impact of Jesus and the response he evoked, which also depend upon the interpretations given to his person, life, and message, as well as the experience and cultural context in which they are given.

The Life and Thought of Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton’s life and thought is a blend of contemporary awareness and prophetic social criticism. This course will look at Merton’s own life journey and explore his thought, both on the inner journey in solitude to one’s true self and God, and on the outer journey to others in compassion and social justice.

The Theology of Karl Rahner
This course will explore the underlying vision, central themes, and practical implications of the theology of Karl Rahner, who attempts in his theology to be faithful to the Christian tradition, to respond to the experience and questions of the present, and to open up new vistas for the future