This morning I was struck by a well-meaning and very bright person who wrote this about my work and the resistance aroused in some lofty religious places: “His mistake was reviving Creation Spirituality, which decries original sin (the doctrine that we’re all born sinners) in favor of ‘Everyone born is a Blessing (seeing all creation as divine).’”
I wrote her in response to emphasize that “Original Blessing,” while it does apply to humans, also very much applies to the 13.8 billion years of the universe’s work that preceded the human. The universe has been an original blessing from the get-go. That is what Genesis one is saying in its cosmology story, telling us repeatedly that various moments and beings are “good” (or “beautiful”, the Hebrew word can mean either), and, when humans arrive, “very good” (or “very beautiful”).
How some theologians and church leaders miss this point—and dive into the Adam and Eve story as if that were the first story in the Bible baffles me. That is, until one asks some political questions about the compulsion to control and to feed guilt and shame as a device to control and to more successfully carry on empire building married to religion.
The bottom line is that the Bible begins with cosmology; and most believers begin with the human. Eckhart: “Whenever we talk about God the Creator we are talking about goodness.”
Aquinas says that the essence of religion is “supreme thankfulness or gratitude.” Surely that is easy to grasp when one considers that 13.8 billion years of the universe have made our earth amazingly beautiful and wonderfully diverse—are there giraffes, elephants, rainforests, whales, horses, dogs and cats anywhere else in our vast universe than right here in our earth home? Or humans who offer exquisite gifts like the musician and dancer blessed us with in yesterday’s DM in what they called the “Sacred Earth dance”?
So much beauty, so much goodness, everywhere we turn. How can we succumb to taking for granted our healthy earth and sky, air and waters, animals, birds, fishes, our bodies and our communities? How can one not be “supremely thankful and grateful” and not commit oneself to drinking deeply at the well of original blessing?
How can humans continue to indulge in war-making and war-profiteering and reptilian brain efforts to prove “I win and you lose” where there is so much to be thankful for? Do we teach gratitude in our schools (including law and business and seminaries)? If not, why not? We really ought to, before it is too late. Gratitude 101; 202; 303.
Let humanity gather to 1) give gratitude and 2) save the planet from…ourselves. Let us put all the money and talent and imagination that we put into making war against each other into “Defense Departments” that all nations contribute to defend Mother Earth from…ourselves.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 41-52.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Sunset with a rainbow in a field of poppies in El Suspiro del Moro. Villa de Otura, Granada – Spain. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
How would you teach courses on Gratitude 101, 202, 303 in med schools, business schools, law schools, seminaries? What might follow from that?
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit