The opening plenary session here at CAPS was interesting. Gary Moon, Ph.D., who teaches at Richmond Graduate University offered a presentation titled “Psychology and Christian Spirituality: Puttting the Soul Back in Soul-o-logy.” Having studied as an undergraduate with the Jungian James Hillman I was interested in the direction that Moon would take with his own presentation. Hillman was (at least when he was my professor) antithetical to any suggestion that Christian (or really, any religion) could have a place in what he called “soul work.”
Moon argued, correctly I think, that historically modern psychology developed out of philosophy and ultimately Christian theology. Where his argument took a provocative turn when he referenced Nicean Christology. Where his presentation took an interesting turn was his argument that just as Christ held together divinity and humanity in Himself, so too Christians are called to do the same. Correctly, Moon identified this as the Orthodox doctrine of theosis (deification). Remember, that CAPS is composed primarily of Evangelical Christians and you have a sense of the radical nature of Moon’s talk.
It was noteworthy for me that in many of the presentations I heard—as well as in my side conversations with conference participants—there is a clear desire for the the Great Tradition of the Church (East and West). While this desire for the Great Tradition does not extend to an explicitly stated desire to join the Church, my experience at CAPS suggests that there is more that we can do as Orthodox Christians in our evangelistic outreach. We have, as I’ve said before, not really extended our outreach to the academic world in general, much less the world of the social and natural sciences.
But we need to—not simply because people are interested, but because Christ has commanded it of us!
Anyway, I’ll post more on CAPS tomorrow.