Contemporary Italian philosopher and psychologist (and ex-priest) Vito Mancuso, wrote a very rich Introduction to my book Original Blessing when it was translated into Italian. In Italian the title was changed to, In principio era la gioia, “In the Beginning there was Joy” because, as the translator explained to me, the word “blessing” in Italian has come to mean something very ecclesiastical, a priest’s blessing or a pope’s blessing, so the word has lost its primary meaning.
Mancuso talks about the journey from fall redemption religion to creation spirituality that includes a Via Positiva this way:
In putting the good and not the bad at the center, the bene-diction and not the male-diction (or the sin), the joy and not the sorrow, almost automatically brings forth a new pedagogy for which our society, so closed and depressed, has an indescribable need.
Is our society closed and depressed?
There is a mystical spark, a capacity of marvelous origins, present in every child. It is this dimension that the pedagogy must cultivate, awakening in each of us the recognition of the primal joy of being, of being in the world as an innocent piece of the creation.
Mancuso uses the term “Cosmocentrico”, or “cosmocentric”, to describe the journey and ride we are making and “amartiocentrico”, or “sin-centered” to describe its antithesis. The journey from Fall/redemption to Creation spirituality. He also invokes martyr and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in this way:
Bonhoeffer criticized the theology of God as “a stopgap” when he shed light on the falsity of sin-centered Christianity that insistently reminds us of humanity’s weakness in its natural state, for which “if one is not able to lead humanity to consider or to designate his happiness as a disaster, his health as a sickness, his life force as despair, then [our theology] is good for nothing.” He expressed the desire for a theology that knows “to speak of god not as a boundary, but as the center; not of weakness, but of strength; not in relation to death and culpability, but of life and of the goodness of humanity.”
Bonhoeffer would have been happy with Fox’s cosmocentric spirituality, and would have read this book with pleasure.
See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality and In principio era la gioia, pp. vii-xiii.
See also Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: “Milky Way into the Darkness: I was waiting for her.” Location: Fellito, Italy. Photo by Erriko Boccia on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Bonhoeffer about what makes for despair in religion? And do you recognize the phrases of “cosmocentric” as distinct from “sin-centered” as useful language as applied to how to look at the world as sacred?
Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack
To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship. His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.