The Dali Lama observes that the Number One obstacle to Deep Ecumenism is a bad relationship with one’s own faith tradition.
Many Christians are illiterate about their own mystical tradition and few seminaries have been teaching that tradition or even know how to in the 20th and 21st centuries. Why is that? Much of it is due to bad pedagogy, the fact that religious education has often sold its soul to accrediting bodies that are clueless about spirituality and the mystics. An academic system founded on rationality and principles of the Enlightenment which, as eco-psychologist Theodore Roszak tells us, “considered mysticism the worst offence against science and reason,” is not prepared to teach spirituality.
Yet it is precisely at the depth of spirituality and mysticism that humans must meet today if we are to rally our diverse strength to combat climate change and put the beauty, health and sacredness of mother earth ahead of economic and political idols. The limits of the current COP26 gathering is evidence of that.
Eckhart helps to carry us to this new level of evolution, this deeper expression of what it means to be human at this time in history. “Deep Ecumenism” is a phrase I coined decades ago and that I derived from the term “Deep Ecology” which named an ecological movement that was not merely about switching the hats of power but of going deeper into the land of the sacred.
There is where our deepest intuition–Eckhart would say, in the “spark of the soul” from which conscience is born–the Divine dwells and all the angels and spirit helpers who can assist us in this shamanistic vocation to heal so that the people may live.
We need all the resources we possess as a species — science and technology along with our varied spiritual traditions—to honor our existence and prolong it. As physicist David Bohm put it, “something more than science is needed.” Something to truly wake people up and alert them to the need for generosity and letting go and sacrifice “so the people may live.”
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. xxif.
Banner Image: In March 2017, New Zealand’s Whanganui River became the world’s first river to be declared a legal person. James Shook [CC BY 2.5]/Wikimedia Commons
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that 1) Deep Ecumenism can make an important contribution to saving Mother Earth as we know her? And 2) That the biggest obstacle to Deep Ecumenism is a bad relationship with one’s own faith tradition?
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