The Dali Lama observes that the Number One obstacle to Deep Ecumenism is a bad relationship with one’s own faith tradition. 

Mechanical engineer and Muslim philosopher of science Safiyyah Sabreen Syeed speaks on her areas of interest in quantum mechanics, mysticism, and Islam.

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. 

Infinite Potential: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm” is a feature documentary about the physicist who posited pioneering insights into the underlying nature of reality and the profound interconnectedness of the Universe and our place within it. Learn more HERE.

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?

Recommended Reading

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

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9 thoughts on “COP26 and the Need for Deep Ecumenism”

  1. Avatar

    The opening statements of today’s DM, regarding the obstacles to deep ecumenisism within the Christian faith, that being many Christians being illiterate about the deep mystical traditions within this faith, in my experience is unfortunately so very true. Throughout my own journey this has caused me personally much confusion and deep soul and spiritual wounding, as I am not illiterate of such truths. When trying to share with others what I had discovered, I was accused of being cursed of which I needed to be healed, delivered and set free from. I was also accused of being cultish and a paganist, possessed of some evil spirit. I left the church, however, because of what I knew to be true, I choose not to leave my Christian faith.

    I am grateful to have discovered, or rather shall I say to have been led by the Holy Spirit, to other Christians like myself, whom have searched for connection with the deep ecumenisism to be found in the mystical traditions of the Christian faith. This has provided me with not only much needed healing from the wounding that I experienced from within the institution of the church, but it has also confirmed and validated what I had discovered and learnt on my own, from my own depth of searching for truth within my own faith. Although I often feel lonely in my faith walk, I am grateful for on-line sites like this one and others, like Richard Rohr, where I can connect with, share with, and learn with others the mystical traditions, spiritual practices and deep ecumenisism to be found within the Christian faith.

    I am also grateful to those spiritual writers both past and present whom were and are brave enough to write of such things, that have been my mentors as well in my own spiritual journey, all those whom have become a kind of spiritual community to me, even though we have never met in the physical. There is such a thing as spiritual connections, a kind of relational connection beyond the physical, and mystics know this reality.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, I too am grateful to have discovered deep ecumenism. I had read of it before in books like Raimon Panikkar’s THE UNKNOW CHRIST OF HINDUISM, John Hick’s, GOD HAS MANY NAMES and in the idea of Karl Rahner’s “anonymous Christian.” But it was Matthew that put it all together for me. How I could still be a mystical Christian and yet learn form the philosophies and practices of other faiths. I am so moved my the idea of deep ecumenism, that my Creation Spirituality Community is devoted to that…

  2. Avatar

    Thank you Mathew for your teachings of Truth. I start my day here everyday. You help us all see the common thread which runs through our hearts.

    Karen Elise

  3. Avatar

    Related to today’s meditation about the relationship between mysticism and quantum physics, I wanted to again recommend Paul Levy’s book, “The Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality,” (written for readers with no physics background).

  4. Avatar

    re The Eckhart book… You noted several people who were touched by Meister Eckhart, but you missed the one who brought me to him, and that was John Wesley. As a United Methodist student pastor, I was introduced to Eckhart in seminary at Candler because he was noted as an influence on John Wesley. I’m grateful to see your thoughts on how influential he has been. I’m also grateful always to read your thoughts about how we are truly “one” with each other and with/as God. Thank you for helping us step back to see everyone and everything from a different, larger perspective!! That is salvation.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Laura, Thank you so much for sharing that Eckhart was an influence on John Wesley! I have to admit that is a new one on me, but I am glad to hear that Eckhart has even reached the Protestant world in the person of Joh Wesley and Methodism!

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