The other day I was asked by a Sufi practitioner who is also a Jewish scholar: “where did you first wrote about the term “Deep Ecumenism?” He reminded me that the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who was one of his mentors, loved my term “Deep Ecumenism” and was a pioneer in it used the term extensively.
I told him how my first use of the term was in my book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, chapter 29, “The Cosmic Christ and Deep Ecumenism,” published in 1988. The book appeared at the very time I was silenced by the Vatican for a year (it turned out to be fourteen months actually). I relay in that chapter how I invented the term from Johanna Macy’s teaching of “Deep Ecology” which was not just ecology for politics sake but ecology with a spiritual dimension to it.
I thought I had answered his question sufficiently, but then I got to thinking: This is my first use of the term, but it is not the first use of the consciousness of Deep Ecumenism—nor the last. Deep Ecumenism has been following me like a shadow—or an angel—for a very long time.
For example, in 1981 I edited a book, Western Spirituality: Historical Roots Ecumenical Routes where I show how Creation Spirituality has a long history in the West beginning with the Hebrew Bible and its teachings on “kingship” and “royal person” and more.
While the first part of the book treats “Historical Roots,” the second part offers essays on “Ecumenical Routes.”
I dedicate the book “to Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel, a rabbinic prophet, two persons with the courage to explore their roots and worldwide routes. May we never forget them or their courage.” To be continued
See Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 228-242.
And Matthew Fox, Western Spirituality: Historical Roots, Ecumenical Routes.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Faiths of the World by TomTom.” Photo by Chris Christian on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
How do you practice Deep Ecumenism? Will humanity survive, will the planet as we know it survive, without Deep Ecumenism?
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
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.
In this book, Fox gathers scholars from various cultures and traditions such as Helen Kenik, Jon Sobrino, Nicolas Berdyaev, Rosemary Ruether, M. D. Chenu, Mary Jose Hobday, Ronald Miller, Monika Hellwig, James Kenney, Justin O’Brien and others to approach creation spirituality from many traditions and many angles.
“An exciting and important book…a pleasant alternative to the oppressive burden of the fall/redemption tradition.” ~ New Review of Books and Religion