Dorothee Soelle believes that feminist theology offers us another way of thinking of transcendence.
Transcendence is no longer to be understood as being independent of everything and ruling over everything else, but rather as being bound up in the web of life.
Here she is very much echoing Hildegard of Bingen from 800 years ago who talked about the “web of life” that binds all creatures together. This would seem to be an apt consciousness for a time of ecological emergency. Feminist consciousness and feminist theology are earth-saving therefore.
Being “bound up in the web of life” echoes what today’s science is telling us, that all things and all systems are interdependent. This too is a teaching from pre-modern mystics.
A century from now, those who have been rabidly anti-feminist, like the previous pope, will have a lot of explaining to do.
Soelle explains that such a consciousness “means that we move from God-above-us to God-within-us and overcome false transcendence hierarchically conceived.” There is such a thing as false transcendence and we need to be on the lookout for it. Religion readily falls into that trap which, as we saw yesterday, can exhibit Christolatry but can also manifest as Christofascism.
Soelle named both for us and we owe her a debt of gratitude. Christofascism is very real, very powerful and extremely well financed in our time. The rushed and obscene canonization of fascist priest Jose Maria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, is just one frightening example of the rise of Christofascism in our time.
So too is the marriage of large chunks of the American evangelical community with far-right wing politicians and the “normalizing” of such marriages within what was once the Republican party.
And the rise of “Christian nationalism” and “white supremacy” groups is a logical next step. So too the rise of anti-Semitism. Institutional violence–which is Susan Sontag’s very definition of fascism–follows.
Racism is often part and parcel of fascism which is invariably buttressed by a religion of a punitive father God. A father problem exists wherever fascism reigns. No wonder feminism is an object of scorn and angst among such fevered believers.
Thomas Aquinas offered this powerful insight about tyrants when he said, “tyrants are more afraid of good people than of bad people.” They often attract and even employ them.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 277.
And Fox, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and What Can Be Saved, pp. 103-124.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Take Your Broken Heart, Make It Into Art” – Women’s March 2018, Vancouver. Photo by Sally T. Buck on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you see Christofascism as a problem today? Do you recognize authoritarianism and fascism as a father problem? Do you see that tyrants are more afraid of good people than bad people? Why do you think that is?
Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations
As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us I wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice. This revolutionary book does just that. Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations. Study and practice these teachings. Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth
The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.” — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II