Educational Crisis, Cultural Crisis, and the Birth of New Values

In this season of the coming of light into the dark time of the year, part of the Christmas story and the Chanukah story, it seems appropriate to reflect on the darkness of our culture and ways out of the darkness.  The daily news delivers lots of the darkness.  For example, we have been examining the dark news about education—and some who are bringing light into the darkness.

Capturing the cosmos. Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

One reason education—and the rest of culture with it—is in such crisis today is that we are between stories (and myths) of the world we live in, that is the old, modern cosmology upon which we built so many of our cultural institutions from education to religion to law and the rest.

A new story and cosmology is emerging but just because scientists come up with a new story of the universe does not guarantee that our cultures (including our religions) hear it, digest it, or explore how to apply it to our values and decision-making and everyday lives. 

It follows that often those with the loudest megaphones and with the largest radio and television and social media access fill in the void with their noise. 

Buzzards roosting on a Fox News station tower. Photo by QueenMaab on Flickr.

Often too it is the richest who have access to such megaphones.  And the noise is just as likely to be barking values of illusion and negativity as values that are positive and sustainable.

When I wrote my book Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth 28 years ago, I had just emerged from my fourteen months of enforced silence dished out by the Vatican.

During that time I had traveled to Central and South America to visit Leonardo Boff and Bishop Casigalida and other persons who were genuinely committed to a Christianity of justice and liberation. 

Stations of the Cross 14,” Jesuit mission, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The military soldiers torturing Jesus are dressed in Bolivian uniform; the witnesses have the features of Bolivian men and women. Artist unknown; photo by Patrick Furlong on Flickr.

I wrote that book in response to the stories I had learned in the South, stories of heroism and martyrdoms and torture amidst settings of poverty and hunger and rainforest burnings that are still going on. 

I stressed in the book how so-called “first world people” needed to create a liberation theology that moved the privileged ones of the world and that it was not enough that we simply adapted the liberation from poor nations since our starting points were very different. 

“Condor y aguila.” Artist unknown; from “Águila y Cóndor Volarán Juntos – Ni las Águilas ni los Cóndores podrán Sobrevivir Solos” by Onelia Baravalle in, telling the prophecy of the condor and the eagle.

Solidarity, yes.  Imitation, no.

One dimension I stressed was the values we can learn from the new understanding of the cosmos as we are receiving information from today’s science.  In a chapter called “Gifts of Wisdom: Rules for Living in the Universe,” I summarize values the cosmos is calling us to today.  In subsequent meditations we will consider some of those values as a lead-up to Christmas and Chanukah.

See Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner Image: Candle wick falling into the wax. Originally posted by Maria Keays on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you feel the struggle between times as part of your own struggles today?  How do you bring light into the world?  And resist darkness?  How can preparing for Christmas or Chanukah assist that effort?  How does the new cosmology assist you?

Recommended Reading

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.

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4 thoughts on “Educational Crisis, Cultural Crisis, and the Birth of New Values”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Gary,
      I cannot agree with you more. These daily gifts of wisdom in a slow paced introduction of life saving concepts provide us with a path forward from our present spiritual and cultural strangulation. He is the man cutting through the vinyl faux sky in The Truman Show (Jim Carey film) – who also lets down a ladder and a helping hand to coax us into a more authentic life!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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