A special blessing to all on the passing of our brother Thich Naht Hanh yesterday. He was and is a great gift to the world. We will be honoring his memory beginning in tomorrow’s DM.
Awe is one thing; the awful is real too.
Even though we look to the sky for awe and wonder and truth about our origins, back here on earth we are witnessing lots of Awful: a rise of more hate, more racism, more sedition, more cowardice by politicians, more lies championed by media who have no values whatsoever other than fanning fire in order to make more money to satisfy its insatiable greed, more vitriol, more despair, more chants of “lock her up,” more sick religion financed by authoritarian fronts, more fear, more anxiety, more meanness, more institutional violence (and therefore fascism) than ever before in my memory. More domestic terrorism and more political cowardice.
It is hard not to recognize the rise of authoritarianism and fascism, especially with a supreme court dedicated to having 1) dismantled the hard-earned voting rights act of minority citizens oppressed for hundreds of years and 2) informing us that corporations are people (Mussolini defined fascism as the marriage of government and corporations) and 3) a majority of the court having defined themselves as “political hacks”, some among them having been appointed when a certain senate leader denied a (black) president the right to appoint a supreme court judge within a year of an election and then turned around and rushed through a new judge while an election was going on. This new judge found it necessary to exclaim a few months into her job that “we judges are not political hacks.”
Fascism is often attractive when a feckless democracy accomplishes very little. Consider the weak democracy in Germany under Paul von Hindenburg that immediately preceded Hitler.
Consider how Hitler’s modus operandi included scapegoating and America elected (by electoral votes, not numbers of Americans voting for him) a scapegoating president who began his political career descending an escalator and declaring that Mexicans are rapists, etc. etc. Such scapegoating has only grown since that descent. Anti-semitism and anti-Asianism is more scapegoating.
A democracy with no regard for truth (such president was counted uttering 35,000 lies during his presidency) is doomed. No truth means no virtue, no values. A democracy cannot endure without truth as a value. Democracy also presumes some basic virtues which are sorely lacking in much of the media today and in our educational system. Judging from lawyers who create documents on how to steal elections, apparently they don’t teach values in our law schools these days. We find ourselves in a place where raw power and knowledge for power sake rule.
See Mary Oliver, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, p. 112.
See Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 1-34.
And Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 27-42.
And Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Insurrectionist carrying poster with Jesus in a MAGA hat at the Capitol, 1/6/21. Photo by Tyler Merbler on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
What are your thoughts about Awe and the Awful? About the media and education itself often being purveyors of the latter? Can Awe displace the awful?
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
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human
The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
“An awe-based vision of educational renewal.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.