The deep teachings from Bruce Chilton that he shares in his significant study, Resurrection Logic: How Jesus’ First Followers Believed God Raised Him from the Dead and that we discussed in our dialogs on “Resurrection” (see HERE), keeps working on me in deep ways.  

Gazing at the sun. Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

In a nutshell, Chilton urges us to let go of an “obsession” or fetish with an empty tomb and look harder at Paul’s teachings on the Resurrection (and Paul never mentions a tomb empty or not).  His was the first and the fullest teachings on Resurrection after all; and he gives us a list of people besides himself who experienced the Resurrected Christ—Mary Magdalene, Peter, James, other disciples and “the 500.”  

What resurrection comes down to in Paul and Chilton’s understanding is, in my parlance, our mystical experiences of union with Christ, God or nature/creation.  John Dominic Crossan, another reliable New Testament scholar of our time, tells us that for Paul, you cannot be a Christian without being a mystic.  This is parallel language to what I am talking about.

It follows that the work of recovering the mystics, which has been a big part of my calling over the years, takes on even more excitement for me as I study what these current Biblical savants are telling us about resurrection.  

The Peace Poets share a “resurrection message” through their song “Our Liberation”. Originally posted to YouTube by Witness Against Torture

Our waking up, our coming alive from our experiences of oneing (Julian of Norwich); or breakthrough (Meister Eckhart: “In breakthrough I learn that God and I are one”); or ecstasy (Aquinas and also my language of “natural and tactical ecstasies” in my book Whee! We, wee All the Way Home: Toward a Prophetic, Sensual Spirituality); or “illuminations” (Hildegard); or “states of insight into depths of truths unplumbed by the discursive intellect.  They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain” (William James)—all these are expressions of our resurrection encounters.  

Chilton stresses how the resurrection as such does not lend itself to historical analysis directly, but what follows does—that is, how imperatives accompany them that transform people in history and thereby transform history.  That is measurable and factual.

The flame of the heart. Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash.

Resurrection also means that these encounters accomplish what Otto Rank insists is so important to individual growth and to cultural maturity—getting over the fear of death and democratizing immortality.  

It helps to explain why he insists that the “unio mystica” (mystical union) is the medicine for that “original wound” of separation that we all carry inside us and that began when we separated from our mothers on entering the world and that recurs again and again when we undergo trauma, trouble or separations that life throws our way.  Rank says this mystical union happens to us by way of love and art.

It is valuable in this context of Easter Week and of any week, when news can be riotous and disturbing, or, on occasion uplifting and hopeful, to return to major wisdom figures to see how they articulate the archetype of resurrection in their life and work and teaching. 

To be continued...

See William James, The Variety of Religious Experience, p. 293.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart;

See Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond;

See Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times.  

Banner Image: Easter lilies. Photo by Serafima Lazarenko on Unsplash.

Which of the names listed for mystical experiences most speaks to you?  Do you have your own name for such resurrection experiences?

Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book

A centering book by Matthew Fox. This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart was a 13th-century Dominican preacher who was a mystic, prophet, feminist, activist, defender of the poor, and advocate of creation-centered spirituality, who was condemned shortly after he died.
“These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.  

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

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

Join Matthew Fox and Steven Herrmann for a virtual teach-in on Psychology and Spirituality: William James, Carl Jung and Meister Eckhart hosted by,
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8 thoughts on “Easter Week and Resurrections Everywhere”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much for your focus on Julian and Eckhart!
    I am a retired (but still serving) UM pastor, and I first heard about these two (and others) in seminary. Julian I’ve always been connected with for a couple of reasons – primarily, that she was a woman, and she made a real difference, not only in her own time, but in all time since – and also, that the picture I remember most was her with a cat, and I’m a cat person. ?
    However, I want to tell you that the first reason I was interested in Eckhart is that I read that he was an influence on John Wesley – as well as the others you’ve mentioned. Wesley’s connection with him expanded my understanding of John Wesley, in fact, so I’ve been grateful for your focus on him, too.
    Thanks, too, for articulating a “different” understanding of the resurrection, which I’ve always believed was most likely. I keep trying to articulate that in some form, as well as the understanding of Jesus as truly human and God as Everything and Everyone.
    I’m grateful to discover you again in these Meditations. I read and remember clearly your “Cosmic Christ”, so it has been a blessing to hear your thoughts again. And I’m also grateful for your connecting with current events and people.
    Thank you, Matthew Fox!! You are a blessing to my mind, my heart, and my life! – and I share it!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Laura, Thank you for your comments. Its good to find someone outside of the Catholic world who knows and appreciates Eckhart and Julian. I remember when I read Matthew’s THE COMING OF THE COSMIC CHRIST. It was the first time I heard a version of Christianity that I could live with !!! Thanks for sharing !

  2. Avatar

    It has often occurred to me that until mystical experiences of union with God become commonplace, humanity will still be wandering around in the dark looking for answers. Five years ago I was gifted with such an experience and it Immediately and completely shifted my sense of identity, foundation and perspective on all of realty. Once this happens, God is not some intellectual idea we carry around in our brains, but a living sustaining Presence. My daily prayers include the petition for the light of this love to be kindled in the hearts of all.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Martha, Your prayer is a good and important one. And your comment that “God is not some intellectual idea we carry around in our brains, but a living sustaining Presence,” reminded me of a couple of lines in Matthew’s book, THE PHYSICS OF ANGELS: “When you experience something, you do not have to believe in it any longer; it’s not a matter of belief but a matter of experience. Mysticism is about trusting our experience.” Thank you again for your comments.

  3. Avatar

    Dear Matthew, I would call my experiences (I dared not call them “mystical” for years and years because of being warned by the church and by the nuns that these could be the work of the devil, etc. etc.) breakthroughs while also still experiencing wonderful ecstasies off and on for all these years. The first big breakthrough healed my scrupulosity, and filled me with “Oneing” which Julian speaks about in your book, which I still delve into pretty regularly. For the longest time, all I needed to do when going through dark times was breathe in the word “Father!” and peace would simply return to my heart.

    Then, at some point, a few years ago, I started paying too much attention to some negative thought that scared me. You see, Love had healed me, but there was plenty of negative stuff that I had not dealt with, which inevitably came up to be acknowledged and worked on so I can continue growing in wisdom and grace.

    Mainly the things that I’m still working on include: staying in the present, forgiving myself, accepting whatever happens, and practicing becoming aware that “I Am the Awareness” behind every thought or feeling that comes up. Quite a lot of work to do before I go Home, which I so look forward to . . . even though I know that I’m already there!

    Thank you for your patience with me, and for giving me the opportunity to share what matters most to me in my whole life. God bless you, Matthew! Namaste!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Vivian, Thank you sooo much for sharing your experience with us! We’ve all still have a lot of work to do on ourselves, but you have the first steps in knowing the things you need to know and do. And you list them as: 1) staying in the present, 2) forgiving yourself, 3) accepting whatever happens, 4) practice being awareness !!! The points you make here are good for us all to consider as we walk our own spiritual paths.

  4. Avatar

    Thank you again, Matthew for reminding us that , “By their fruits, ye shall know them”. And for quoting from one of my favorite books, “The Varieties of Religious Experience”. I first read it in college over 60 years ago and several times since. Not having any ecstatic experiences, I am comforted over and over that there are many other less dramatic experiences. That book, along with your “Original Blessing”, and Martin Buber’s “I and Thou”, have been gifts that I treasure. Peace and all good to you. Thank you again for providing us with wisdom from you and other sources that is food for thought and for spiritual growth.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      And thank you Sue for your comments. I too enjoyed the book THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPEREIENCE as well as ORIGINAL BLESSING and they have added to the richness of my spiritual life. And Matthew’s book, especially for me, has served as a spiritual guide book…

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