Week of Oct. 17-22: Defending Democracy, Honoring Albert Nolan, OP.

Each Sunday, we are offering a brief summary of the meditations from the previous week, as a kind of “index” inviting you to return to a previous meditation which may call to you.

“Rise for All Creation,” co-written by The Peace Poets and East Bay Thrive Street Choir.

October 17, 2022: Further Cataclysms including Elephant Futures

Matthew Fox concludes his reflections on “cataclysm,” addressing the need to pray, meditate, and act on the multiple assaults on U.S. democracy, climate change denial, the matricide of Mother Earth, and the killing of our more-than human relations, the elephants and other animals.

October 18, 2022: Is Democracy Sacred and Worthy of Saving?

Democracy is rife with failures and imperfections.  But what are the alternatives? With the challenges facing democracy in our world today, and the authoritarian and far-right movements rising against it, we are asked to explore what is needed for democracy to survive in our times.

Father Albert Nolan, OP. Unattributed photo from Goodreads.com.

October 19, 2022: The Death of a Prophet, Albert Nolan, OP

We recall and honor the memory of South African Dominican Albert Nolan, theologian, author, and activist for social justice. In his decision to decline his election as Master of the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order), he was a source of guidance and inspiration when Matthew Fox was dismissed from the order. 

October 20, 2022: Albert Nolan, OP, Prophetic Activist & Author, continued

Matthew Fox continues sharing his memories of Father Albert Nolan: the late theologian/activist’s thoughts on the lack of solidarity in America; and the only way to liberate oneself from one’s enemies: by “reaching down to the root cause of all oppression and domination: man’s lack of compassion.”

October 21, 2022: Nolan on the Jesus Story, Politics and Religion

“Christ of the Breadlines” by Fritz Eichenberg for The Catholic Worker. Uploaded to Flickr by Jim Forest

What was Christianity before it became a church? How did Jesus’ early followers live their faith under the Roman empire? We reflect on the teachings of Albert Nolan from his book, Jesus Before Christianity, on the days when Christianity was a matter of spirituality rather than religion, showing the primacy of experience over structures.

October 22, 2022: The Price of Democracy and the Price of Compassion

We bring the life of Albert Nolan into the context of other brave men and women who have stood and sacrificed for democracy and justice, returning to the need to begin with compassion and the discovery of our common humanity, taking a stand against those forces working against our shared humanity. How do we carry this core realization with us into the polling place?

Banner Image: “Mahsa Amini #1” On Saturday, October 8, 2022, several hundred protesters gathered at Parliament Square as part of a worldwide series of protests in solidarity with Iranian women and Iran’s wider population struggling for personal, political and religious freedom and social justice against a ruthless authoritarian theocracy. Photo by Alisdare Hickson on Flickr.

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

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.

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3 thoughts on “Week of Oct. 17-22: Defending Democracy, Honoring Albert Nolan, OP.”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    October 19, 2022: The Death of a Prophet, Albert Nolan, OP. We recall and honor the memory of South African Dominican Albert Nolan, theologian, author, and activist for social justice. He was a source of guidance and inspiration when Matthew was dismissed from the order. His excellent book on JESUS BEFORE CHRISTIANITY brought forward what he called “prophetic theology,” and Matthew even used it as a primary textbook for many years at the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College. I am especially appreciative of his work on Jesus, the pre-Constantinian and pre-Nicene creed Jesus—the pre-empire Jesus. Therefore, we discover a Jesus without institutions, hierarchy, patriarchy, apostolic succession, magisterium, canon law or infallibility. Were all these things the stuff of evolution of a faith, or a de-evolution, in terms of what the founder had envisioned ??? Jesus gave us a movement and we got the Church.

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      I was fortunate to grow up in a small Congregational Church that basically taught simply to follow Jesus, abide by the Golden Rule, and love God and neighbors. There was no dogma and no teaching to exclude anyone. This has been continued in the UCC, which early on welcomed our queer neighbors. There are exceptions and internal church conflicts always exist, but I am most grateful for this early teaching. In the UCC, love is a verb, not a noun.

      1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
        Richard Reich-Kuykendall

        Sue, FYI I was a UCC minister for over 30 years, so I know totally what you are talking about. In my retirement years however, I have been working to bring change within the Catholic Church. As a UCC minister I heard Matthew some 40 years ago and what he taught was what I really believed at my core. Since he was Catholic at the time, as well as his whole upbringing and career, I decided to become Catholic to see where he came from. And since I have been there for the last few years I have tried to work for change on the things that he had been working on. My efforts may be in vain, as his was, but there are always those who are open and touched by the Good News that the Christian faith can be looked at differently than they have been taught.

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