We continue contemplating the topic of deep ecumenism, with an excerpt from Occupy Spirituality by Matthew Fox and Adam Bucko…
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?
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.
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.
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Queries for Contemplation
Do you employ deep ecumenism when bringing wisdom to topics and decisions that are important to you?
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