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Monday, November 29, 2010

High School Theology: Who Am I?

Update: This live course has concluded and is available now as a recorded course through our Unlimited Access! Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows. To subscribe or learn more: Catholic Homeschooling

What is Christian Anthropology? It sounds lofty and looks great on a high school transcript for college admissions, but can be simply put as the study of the human person in relationship to God.

Theologian Monica Ashour will be delving deep into Christian Anthropology next semester for Homeschool Connections. This is an excellent course for any mature high school student (11th to 12th grade). It will lay out a foundation for the rest of their lives.

Christian Anthropology; Who Am I?
(to register, please click on title)

Instructor: Miss Ashour, MTS; M Hum
Class dates: Tuesdays, March 8 to April 26, 2011
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Fee: $100 for entire 8-week course.
Prerequisite: None.
Suggested grade level: 11th to 12th. Note that this course will touch on sensitive subjects, particularly in Class Seven. Parents are always welcome to sit in on classes or review recordings.
High school credit: 1/2 semester credit in theology

Course Rationale: The student will study the foundational aspects of Christian Anthropology (the Catholic vision of what it means to be human). With this understanding, the student in this course will be challenged to apply such principles to being “in the world, not of the world,” with a critical mind of recognizing distortions regarding the human person that the world holds. Furthermore, the student will delve deeply into Trinitarian and Soteriological (how we are saved) theology in that we are made in the image and likeness of the Trinitarian God and in that Jesus’ death on the Cross gives the highest and deepest revelation of what it means to be human.
Course Goal: The student, through his/her embracing of this theological perspective, will be invited to grow in his/her humanity to become “St. Me,” the person he/she was made to be and whom he/she co-creates with God.

Homework: Weekly Quizzes, Major Project, & Final Exam: To be graded by parents. (Answer key provided.)

Course Reading:

The reading will assist the student in delving into a deep understanding of the human person, along with its application to the moral life and spirituality.

1. The Bible—Gen 1-3; Rom 3:21-8:39;
2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph #’s 249-421;
3. The Documents of Vatican II—Gaudium et Spes, especially Part I;
4. Redemptor Hominis (Pope John Paul’s 1st encyclical)
5. Pope Benedict’s address at Regensburg: ZE06091209 - 2006-09-12 Permalink:;
6. The Weight of Glory and “Man or Rabbit”, both by CS Lewis.

Optional: Not required, but for those who want more of a challenge and more credit earned:
CS Lewis’ The Abolition of Man;
Thomas Howard’s Chance or the Dance;
J. Budziszewski’s What We Can’t Not Know (Part I);
Dr. Joyce Little’s The Catholic Church and the Culture War (esp. the part about egalitarianism).

Course outline:

Class 1
Logistics of class/expectations/optional homework
Foundational Introduction to Theology
-- Difference between catechesis and theology
-- Trinitarian Theology: God Himself; What He has done for us.
-- Christology: Christianity's Goal; Christology from above/from below; High Pt of Revelation; Christ's Mystical Body
Anthropology (Study of Man (man and woman)
-- 3 Types of Freedom
-- 3 Ways People Approach God (2 wrong, 1 right)
-- Circumincession/Perichoresis-Our Home!
Foundational Introduction to Theology
-- The Trinity in our Lives-God is immutable: St. Thomas; God is love: Fr. Von Balthasar, Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict
-- Trinitarian Theology: Self-emptying (kenosis) in ad intra; Self-emptying in ad extra (what God has done-Jesus died for us)
Class 2
Anthropology-Study of Man; Solitude for Communion
-- Since in God's inner being, the Three Persons are kenotic, then we are to be kenotic; it is human nature to give the gift of self (nothing other than LOVE).
-- Theology of the Body: Self-understanding, self-possession, to determine our lives.
-- Humans are first receptive in relation to parents who symbolize God; we are to return that gift.
-- We are sons/daughters in the Son through baptism; we are divinized.
-- "Abstandikeit" others: let others be themselves.
-- Human Nature-Beginning and End; Origin and Telos
-- Relativism (opposite of human nature)-The worst evil of our time, says Pope Benedict; Self-contradictory statements
-- Sentimentality and Egalitarianism, two offshoots of relativism.
Class 3
Anthropology-The Goal of Kenosis for Union and Communion with God, within ourselves, others, and creation. Proper understanding of salvation.
-- Funnel Analogy-Salvation only within the Church, understood properly, not universalistic
-- Marriage as primordial sacrament to point to our union with Christ
-- Church's view of reality
-- 4 Fold communion
-- To sin is not being human!
-- God loves us freely, fully, faithfully, and fruitfully.
-- To be human is to LOVE! Kenosis.
-- Pelagianism (earning salvation)-wrong; Once saved, always saved-wrong; Through grace (God's own life and love in ad intra) working in love-RIGHT!
-- Solo Scriptura-wrong; solo fides-wrong; solo gratia-right, understood properly, working in love.
Class 4
Anthropology -The Sacramental View of Reality
-- All-Male Priesthood
-- Masculinity and Femininity and the "language of the body" (Pope John Paul's Sacramental view of reality-TOB)
-- Descartes Dualism-split of body and soul and TOB's reintegration
-- Objective Truth and Subjective Reality
-- Work on Marian Receptivity to be human (receive, not grasp)
-- Diagram of Mass in our Lives (The Source and Summit of our Faith)
-- Diagram of 4 Dimensions of Every Sacrament
-- Heart of the World Diagram-To love (to be human) is only possible when we love with Christ's Sacred Heart.
Class 5
Anthropology-Nominalism's Role in our Understanding of the Human Person/William of Ockham
-- The Wrong understanding of God's freedom in relation to Man's Freedom
-- Pope Benedict's Lecture at Regensburg, Germany September 10
-- Competitive Causality
Class 6
Anthropology-"Man's Conquest over Nature"-Francis Bacon's Influence on Modernity
-- Human Limits-when good/when not
-- Technology-when good/when not/when to question/making us more human? "escaping the body"?
-- Noise vs.Silence
-- Affirmative living - Dr. Conrad Baars; attention as the most precious gift of humans to another
-- Pope Benedict: "We give the other himself/herself"
Class 7
Anthropology-Tough Questions and Loving Responses, all based on Anthropology
-- Homosexuality
-- In Vitro Fertilization
-- Contraception
-- Cohabitation
Class 8
Anthropology-Summation of Entire Course
-- Review for Final Exam
-- Mariology-True Anthropology!

Instructor's biography: Having had 20 years of experience in the classroom, 3 years of experience working at St. Mary's Catholic Church at Texas A&M University as one of the Campus Ministers, and Master Degrees in Humanities and Theological Studies from the University of Dallas, Monica Ashour comes to us with a breadth and depth of vision that will solidify and electrify high school students. Orthodox, passionate, and pedagogically adept, Miss Ashour reaches youth especially in the areas of Christian Anthropology, Moral Theology, and Social Ethics. Her former students come to her often with gratitude in preparing them for the various experiences that they faced in college. She is also a gifted speaker for the The Theology of the Body Evangelization Team.

-- The October 24, 2010 Our Sunday Visitor lists Monica Ashour as one of the top 10 speakers in the nation: Although Ashour, who co-founded the Texas-based Theology of the Body Evangelization Team, speaks to adults as well as teens, there are few speakers as experienced and gifted as Ashour at reaching young Catholics

-- Published in, September 10, 2010, How to Reach Teens
-- Consultant for Theology of the Body for Teens-Middle School Edition, to be released by Ascension Press in March 2011
-- Published chapter in Set Free to Love, Servant Books
-- Author, The Theology of the Body and Social Networking, to be released by Ascension Press in 2011
-- Author, Children's Books Series based on the Theology of the Body, to be released by Ascension Press in 2011

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.

Miss Ashour will be available via email in between classes for questions and comments.
Recordings of classes are provided to students within 24 hours and available for 6 months.
Homeschool Connections does not provide record keeping services.

(to register, please click on title)

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