Deep Ecumenism and My Writings, continued

In my book, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions, (published in 2000) I treat 18 themes that I propose are found in all spiritual traditions of the world.  

“Spiral Dance” Photo by Pat Kight on Flickr.

I draw from sources of mystics and scriptures that represent Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Indigenous, Celtic, African, goddess, Christian, that speak to these 18 themes.  It is my most explicit teaching on Deep Ecumenism and by matching different traditions’ wisdom side by side on these rich themes, something powerful emerges.  

The 18 themes treated include the following: Deep Ecumenism and the Universality of Experience; Creation—All Our Relations; Light; community and Interdependence. 

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

Names for God; The Feminine Face of Divinity; Wisdom: Another Feminine Face of the Divine; Form, Formlessness, Nothingness; The Divine ‘I Am’: Humanity’s Share in Divinity. 

Meditation and Mindfulness; Holy Imagination: Art and Ritual as Paths to Mindfulness; Joy; Suffering; Beauty; Sacred Sexuality; Dying, Resurrection Reincarnation.

 Service and Compassion (including Justice and Celebration); Spiritual Warriorhood.

A concluding chapter is entitled: “Where do we go from Here?  How Deep Ecumenism Explodes our Imaginations with Eighteen New Myths and Visions.”  There I treat the eighteen themes as myths and visions that can awaken humanity at this time and cite psychologist Rollo May about how ethics comes to us by way of myths.

Many people have told me that they use the book as a prayer or meditation book and that knowing they are zeroing in on insights from so many world traditions is itself a kind of blessing and a deep ecumenical practice in itself.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Students in a Chicago Wisdom Project class. Photo from CWP website section on “Reimagining Education”.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Rollo May that we teach ethics by way of myths?  Which of these 18 themes or myths are most pressing for our times in your opinion?

Recommended Reading

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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5 thoughts on “Deep Ecumenism and My Writings, continued”

  1. Avatar

    For myself, what I see as most pressing in our times, regarding the 18 myths mentioned in today’s DM… referencing these as ways to teach ethics is first for me, Suffering. All of creation is suffering right now, and we need to understanding the ethics of suffering in order to respond with love, compassion, and mercy. Suffering has a meaning and a purpose and humanity needs to awaken to this.

    Secondly, I would place Creation as all our Relations. The Earth herself is suffering, hence the crisis of climate changes… Her cries need to be heard and responded to in loving, compassionate and merciful ways and the ethics of this myth of Creation as all our Relations has much to teach us, so that we can listen, acknowledge and respond to Mother Earth and all of creation as our family of kin.

    Thirdly, I would place the myth of Community and Interdependence and its ethics it has to teach. Humanity is being shakened and awakened to the reality that we are one global family, beyond our man made boarders, cultures, religions, economics or politics. We are apart of one community, and that community includes not only all of humanity, but all of creation as well. We are all interconnected, interreliant and interdependent one upon the other. When one part suffers, the whole part suffers. The ethics of this myth will teach us the reality of this truth within our very existence.

    Fourth, I would place the myth of Humanities Share in Divinity, which I would add Responsibility, which is our ability to respond to this divinity within our humanity, which is to be shared. The ethics within this myth can teach us whom we are called to become and be, as well as awaken us all to a deeper meaning and purpose, a divine vision given, which we need to accept, acknowledge and respond to, in order to address all that we are faced with during these challenging, difficult and troubling times.

    Fifthly, I would place the myth of Service and Compassion, which includes Justice. The ethics of this myth can teach us self-less giving, moving us away from the imbalance of taking and consumption. The ethics of Compassion and I would add Mercy will move us away from apathy and the entrophy of this. This then would lead to the ethics of justice.

    The sixth and final myth, I would list of importance at this time in our evolutionary history is Beauty and the Celebration of all of these myths, these ethics coming together, that has the potential to move us forward into the things we must learn and the changes we must make, not only for own survival, but for the existence of all life, the all and the everything of creation, through humanity coming into balance and harmony with the beauty of that inherent goodness which we are all apart of. We have much work to do, and doing so will lead to the celebration of new life.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Let me see if I got it right? Your six points are: (1) All of creation is suffering right now, and we need to understanding the ethics of suffering, (2) Creation as all our relations, (3) Community and Interdependence and what its ethics it has to teach, (4) Humanities Share in Divinity, to which I would add Responsibility, (5) Service and Compassion, which includes Justice, and (6) The importance at this time in our evolutionary history is Beauty and the Celebration of all of these myths. Thank you for your systematic explanation!

  2. Avatar

    I look forward to reading “One River, Many Wells”! I will be recommending it to my spiritual friends and I hope it will inspire some of them to join me in January to form an ongoing ‘Contemplative-Creation Spirituality Support Group’ (Deep Ecumenism) with God’s blessings….

  3. Avatar

    Could you ask Matthew if he’s aware of a fascinating book I’ve recently become aware of (synchronicity?) about quantum physics — “The Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality” (2018) by Paul Levy? This is a brief review in the back cover by Richard
    Rudd: “This is a deeply alchemical work of breathtaking scope. Paul blends and shapes the scientific and the mystical into a scintillating synthesis that I believe forms the perfect springboard for a whole new means of understanding our universe.”
    — Blessings,

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