Warriors for a New Normal of Economic Justice: Meister Eckhart and Friends

During these “12 days of Christmas” we are asking whether the suffering of the past year might serve as a portal to a New Normal, one where we don’t take racial, economic or eco injustice for granted but find our warrior energy and moral imaginations to envision and stand up for a society that serves the future and not a nostalgic normal.  

CONSUMER on calculator. Photo Credit:
Mike Lawrence (CreditDebitPro.com

Among our spiritual ancestors who urged such adventures is Meister Eckhart who said: “The person who understands what I say about justice and the just person understands everything I have to say.”  After all, he, like Jesus and the Buddha, calls us to compassion, and then declares: “compassion is the same as justice.” Eckhart did not pursue spirituality in an armchair or speak from a safe and comfortable position of tenure in an academic ivory tower. In fact, he abandoned academia in Paris to work on behalf of the poor—peasants, the young, women and beguines in Germany and elsewhere. 

Special guest Joan Baez joined The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis and the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, and the Lower East Side Girls Club Choir to raise money for young activists in #Ferguson on November 19, 2014. Originally posted to YouTube by Middle Church.

Eckhart engaged the world of his time and sought to translate his spiritual experience of compassion into action. Like Jesus, he was, one might say, a “sacred activist,” or a mystic-prophet, or a mystic-warrior. He urges us to be the same. The stakes today are high and involve the very survival of our planet as we know it, as well as the survival of our species, and Meister Eckhart’s words speak loudly to principal issues of our time. If all Jesus or Eckhart had taught was finding “personal peace,” would Jesus have been crucified?  Or Eckhart hounded by the Inquisition and condemned? Of course not. They were, in fact, disturbing the peace — in Jesus’s case the pseudo-peace of an empire that oppressed others; and in Eckhart’s case the pseudo-peace of an ecclesial, patriarchal powerhouse that was dangerously closed in on itself. 

We face similar choices today. We live in a time when the Earth and her ecosystems are being destroyed in the name of multinational imperialism. We are gripped by an anthropocentric narcissism, a species closed in on itself. 

“Wake Up” call to get involved in the work of climate justice. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Our era is not a time for business as usual, for politics or economics as usual, for religion as usual. Modern-day prophets are calling us to “wake up” and face today’s evils. In this and subsequent daily meditations, I will present a range of prophets who speak to correcting economic injustice with imagination.  Here are some opening lines from a few of them.  Says David Korten, “The old economy of greed and domination is dying. A new economy of life and partnership is struggling to be born. The outcome is ours to choose.”  

Says Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, “Why not improve life for the world’s poorest first? Is it so impossible to move business from private greed to public good?”  

From Howard Thurman, “Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish teacher and thinker [Jesus] appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed.” 

See Matthew Fox, “Warriors for Ecological and Economic Justice,” in Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 221-223.

See conversation between Matthew Fox and Kolbe Times on Ecological Justice, and a variety of topics.

Banner Image: Famous portrait of Catholic Mystic and Dominican Order Priest, Meister Eckhart. Photo originally posted HERE

Do you agree with Meister Eckhart that justice lies at the heart of your spirituality?  What follows from that?  Can you see an “old economy of greed and domination” dying?

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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3 thoughts on “Warriors for a New Normal of Economic Justice: Meister Eckhart and Friends”

  1. Avatar
    Joan Anundson Ahr

    We must be careful about where we direct our sacred activism. The funding for any populist movement should be traced back to it’s sources before we jump on any bandwagon that appears to represent our goals, but actually benefits the few who wish to control us. What is theater and what is grassroots? Mainstream media attention can be a clue.

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