We have been meditating on the appearance of four policemen before congress who testified to the nation about the horrors they and 140 other policemen underwent on January 6 when thousands of raging men stormed the capitol building to end the lawful counting of electors in the last presidential election.
Six of these officers are now dead (four from suicide) and others carry many physical and mental scars. They are examples surely of the healthy masculine, standing up for what is right, doing their jobs even to the point of sacrifice for others, defending what they, and presumably most Americans, stand for, namely the rule of law and rights laid out in the constitution.
What we all saw on our television screens January 6 remains with us as a collective memory of masculine energy gone berserk, hatred, anger and violence on display and out of control.
So we have taken a look at what ails men in our time, asking why so many appear out of touch with their deeper humanity. We have considered the teaching from a Native American prison chaplain about the difficulty men have “looking inside” and “finding the nobility inside.”
What is that “nobility inside” that we all carry with us? We have turned to the deep teachings from Meister Eckhart about what does lie inside all of us—a royal and noble person, a divine person and image of God which is our true self and is very much a creative self.
Yesterday, the United Nations released a report on climate change that “sounds ‘code red’ for our planet.” Are toxic masculinity and healthy masculinity, violence and nobility related? If so, how? Is there medicine to be found that can forward the humanity in all of us and lessen the grave sins of denial and despair that feed on one another?
Eckhart says that an important part of our “nobility” is our creativity. Creativity is, as I have written elsewhere, “where the divine and the human meet.” We co-create with the “planetary mind” and “Mind of the universe.”* Part of creativity is letting go, a willingness to see things differently—letting go is surely called for today at every level of culture including education, politics, media, economics and religion.
Are we up to it? It surely includes reinventing the way we derive our energy and moving beyond fossil fuels. Clearly, we have to do more; and move faster.
A bottom line to “nobility” is caring for the common good–justice; balance; fairness; especially for the young who are inheriting a wounded earth.
Here is one creative proposal: Why not redefine “defense departments” and STOP all the military machinery around the world they are engaged in? Steer them instead, with their trained personnel and vast resources, to work together to defending our world from global warming and extinction? To bringing out the spiritual warrior and green man in us all defending Mother Earth? To combatting a common foe—climate change—instead of one another?
*These two names for Divinity come from two scientists, astrophysicist Arne Wyller and physicist Erich Jantsch respectively. See Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 14f., 11 ff.
See Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet
And see Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
Also see Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson and Jen Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth.
Banner Image: Deadvlei is a white clay pan in the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia where blackened skeletons of camel thorn trees stand in witness to climate change-driven drought in ~1340-1430 C.E. Photo by Ralph Kränzlein on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
What connections do you see between the nobility inside and the raging fires, melting snows and ice, droughts, floods and rising seas on the outside confronting our future?
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug
In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.” ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.
Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT