We continue contemplating the topic of deep ecumenism, with an excerpt from Occupy Spirituality by Matthew Fox and Adam Bucko…

Sweat lodge. Photo by Hvoenok, Adobe Stock

Like Adam Bucko, Matthew too comes from the Christian tradition and remains in it but not at all in an enclosed way.  He admits that his sharing of prayer in sweat lodges, sundances, vision quests and more with indigenous people for example have been essential to his spiritual growth and well being.  Along with Buddhist encounters and practices, Tai Chi, Taoist readings, Jewish rabbis and much more including in depth psychological thinkers and practitioners.  We are already living in a time of deep ecumenism.  Therefore a time of spiritual democracy.

Life trumps religion. Life and existence in this universe are 13.7 billion years old and religions are 5,000 years old or 100,000 years old when you include the oldest which are the shamanistic and the indigenous. But the point is that, why would we be driven to put religion before life?

In his DM video of 10/27/2021, Matthew Fox reflects on the themes of deep ecumenism as archetypal myths, “foundations of values and ethics.”

And then, of course, go to war with other religions—take life, destroy life, in their name? So hopefully this is one element of human evolution of consciousness that is shaking down at this time.  Many people are rejecting the notion that my God beats up on your God or Goddess.

In my book on Deep Ecumenism, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions, I celebrate instead of rue the diversity of our traditions—but also their common unity.  I offer 18 themes and issues and myths that are common to all our world religions.  Among them are diverse names for Divinity; meditation; sacredness of creation; compassion; spiritual warriorhood; creativity and imagination as a gift from God; and much more.

In other books I have tried to utilize deep ecumenism as a method of approaching important topics.  For example, work.  In my Reinvention of Work book I draw from many world spiritual traditions to form and formulate a spirituality of work.  In my research I found a great amount of unanimity among world spiritual traditions on issues of spirituality and work. 

Flash Mob – Ode an die Freude ( Ode to Joy ) Symphony No.9. Beethoven’s last symphony, written despite depression and impending death as a hymn to freedom and joy for all people, is now the anthem of the European Union. Video by cd tube.

For example, on the importance of joy and work.  Consider these teachings:

In work, do what you enjoy.  (Tao te Ching) 

They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work.  (Bhagavad Gita) 

Always rejoice in the good work that you do.  (Thomas Aquinas)

Adapted from Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation, pp. 207f.  

And Fox, The Reinvention of Work, p. 91.

Also see Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Coexist” bumpersticker. Original design by the Coexist Foundation.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you employ deep ecumenism when bringing wisdom to topics and decisions that are important to you? 

Recommended Reading

Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.
Occupy Spirituality is a powerful, inspiring, and vital call to embodied awareness and enlightened actions.”
~~ Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist and author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods

The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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5 thoughts on “Deep Ecumenism, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Today we continue contemplating the topic of deep ecumenism, with Matthew Fox and Adam Bucko… Both Adam Bucko and Matthew come from the Christian tradition and remain in it but not at all in an enclosed way. Matthew mentions combining various Native American practices with his own spiritual practice, as well as Buddhist, Taoist, and Jewish practices. Therefore, Matthew concludes from this that, “we are already living in a time of deep ecumenism. Therefore a time of spiritual democracy.” In his book on Deep Ecumenism, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions, he celebrates instead of rues the diversity of our traditions—but also their common unity. He also does this in a different way in his book, The Reinvention of Work where he looks at how different spiritual traditions see the relationship between their work and their spirituality. For example, on the importance of joy and work. Consider these teachings:
    In work, do what you enjoy. (Tao te Ching)
    They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work. (Bhagavad Gita)
    Always rejoice in the good work that you do. (Thomas Aquinas)

  2. Avatar

    Two highlights speak to me, “Joy is larger than suffering and Joy seeks companionship.” What came to my remembrance was a memory of encountering the wonderful people of Panama, that broke my heart open to the Spirit of joy. Their homes and markets were simple shacks, made of tin and scrapes of mishaped pieces of wood with dirt floors. The poverty they were living in was evident. Yet, they welcomed us into their humble abodes, and they joyfully shared a simple meal with us. They shared their stories, their songs and their ceremonial dances, including us in their joyful celebrations of life and companionship. I realized in that moment that joy really has nothing to do with material possessions, or status, or the accomplishments of success; but rather has everything to do with relationships, as well as celebrating and sharing the inherent beauty and goodness of what we do have with one another, offering this as a blessed gift of companionship. These wonderful people appeared on the surface to be living in the suffering of poverty, yet they were spiritually rich in the true beauty and goodness of joyfully relating, celebrating and sharing the abundant life of what truly matters and that which gives meaning and purpose to our lives. Through this encounter I recognized my own suffering was due to my lack of understanding and practice of being and living what the sacredness of real joy is. Today’s DM has brought this message home to my heart once again.

  3. Avatar

    The longer I have been on this journey which has included many comings and goings in and out of Christianity, the more I have come to realize that Christ is universal. That if our Christianity has not revealed to us the Truth of “all God’s children,” then it is not of Christ nor Divine LOVE (God) Themselves. }:- a.m.

  4. Avatar

    For many years, I have considered myself a person of faith, fed by all traditions, though in a Christian framework. But I don’t want to be associated with nationalist or narrow minded and hate filled Christians. I have much more in common with others who share the same values and call to activism that I have, whatever their faith or no faith at all. I love the idea of spiritual democracy. And thank you for the video on the flashmob Ode to Joy. The sight of all those people joining in the singing brings tears every time.

  5. Avatar

    Beautiful DM today Matthew and DM Team! It brought joy to my heart, especially the enclosed video of the outdoor ‘Ode to Joy’ concert. My faith is enhanced and strengthened by our Creator’s SPIRIT of LOVE~WISDOM~PEACE~JUSTICE~HEALING~TRANSFORMATION~CREATIVITY~BEAUTY~JOY~
    COMPASSION~ONENESS… found in our hearts, sacred Mother Nature, and in our universal interspiritual wisdom traditions….

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