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"Fire and Light" is an month-long class at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, which Fr. Dave Denny has taught since 1993, joined in 1995 by Tessa Bielecki. This is a survey course on the history of Christian mysticism, from its Biblical and desert origins into the 21st century, with an emphasis on the Carmelite tradition.

Many friends have shown interest in the syllabus, and we include it here. The class takes place between Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you are looking for an autumn study project, you may want to follow the syllabus and read along with us. Or you may prefer to gather friends and make it a study group. We would enjoy hearing from you.

Each day three of our students present a brief verbal reflection on a painting or sculpture of their choice from Sylvia Judson's The Quiet Eye. They relate their thoughts to the mystics, to their other academic interests, and to their personal lives. This is one of the highlights of the class.

Another highlight involves "Dialogues with the Mystics." In the first years, we noted that students tend to think of the mystics in the third person. Although this may be a helpful academic discipline in some contexts, we wanted the students to experience the mystics as vibrant and real men and women. Now each student represents a given mystic in the first person. Some students even come up with imaginative costumes reflecting either the mystic's time and place, or a mood or concept the mystic conveys. If you read along with us, imagine presenting one of the mystics to a group of friends, and presenting your reflection on a work of art. Try it in your study group!

Fire and Light photos || Fire and Light Syllabus


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