Reflecting on the Nazi state steeped in obedience, Dorothee Soelle writes,
Surely it is no longer possible to speak of obedience, as it is here used, with a sense of theological innocence.…I suspect that we Christians today have the duty to criticize the entire concept of obedience and that this criticism must be radical, simply because we do not know exactly who God is and what God, at any given moment, wills.
Soelle warns that “obedience operates in the barbaric ethos of fascism, but also in that of technocracy as well.” She feels that the errors of religious obedience need to be replaced by mysticism wherein
…our relationship to God is not one of obedience but of union.…of being at one with what is alive. This then becomes what religion is about. When this happens, solidarity will replace obedience as the dominant virtue.
Solidarity is what the first chakra is all about: Being solidly connected to the solid earth and the earth’s home which is the universe and being in solidarity with all the sounds of the universe and its yearnings for life. “To be in solidarity with,” requires that we are listening with and to one another. Obedience may prove to be a far greater evil than disobedience.
Selfishness would seem to be a shutting ourselves off from the cries of others, the suffering of others. Surely it is related to shutting oneself off from one’s own pain and suffering as well, because we do, as has been said, “love others as we love ourselves.” If we are sitting on our suffering — as an addictive consumer society teaches us to do — we are also muffling the suffering of others.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 200f.
See also, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox.
Banner Image: A mining engineer listens for signs of life; such listening is an act of solidarity with vulnerable coworkers. The contraption is affixed against his sacrum, his root chakra, and it looks like an animal’s tail. From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, via Wikimedia Commons.
For the transcript of Matthew’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Does our consumer culture encourage addiction and thereby interfere with solidarity, caring, and the building of community? What are we doing about it?
Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation
Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.
“Occupy Spirituality is a powerful, inspiring, and vital call to embodied awareness and enlightened actions.”
~~ Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist and author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods
“Wisdom, Grace, Love” – a 3-part online lecture series by Caroline Myss, Andrew Harvey, and Matthew Fox, September 8, 15, and 22, 3:00-4:30 pm Pacific (GMT/UTC-7). Learn more HERE.