March 13, 2023. Joy! Why We Are All Here
Matthew poses the delightful questions: Did you ever consider that maybe the “Big Bang” was a Big Laugh? Or a Big Shout of Joy? Or perhaps, since scientists say there was no sound at that time, a great mischievous smile. What if the purpose of the universe is Joy? Aquinas said, “Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” He also said that “joy is the human’s noblest act.” Wouldn’t it be lovely to teach this to our children—divine joy instead of divine wrath and original sin? Let’s join Creator in spreading around as much joy as possible!
March 14, 2023. Adam Bucko & Fox on Spiritual Experience, Concepts & Contemplation
In this meditation, we get a glimpse from the book Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox of a conversation between the two of them. Both emphasize the experiential but also how concepts are important to name our deepest experiences. Bucko says that this new approach goes back to that God of Life–-it’s about starting from what we are already experiencing, acknowledging the sacredness of it, and then using practices and other things to deepen that experience and sustain it. Matthew responds: I think when it comes to concepts, that the four paths of creation spirituality are really helpful. The four paths are conceptual, but they’re thoroughly grounded in experience, and they return to experience.
March 15, 2023. How Concepts Assist Our Spiritual Journey’s Deepening, ii
In exploring the benefits of the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, Matthew warns how one can get stuck in any one path—each one is that powerful. By exploring all four, one retains a sense of balance that keeps us spiritually alive. Adam Buck responds that the Four Paths “reconcile things like action and contemplation, and contemplation and creativity, creativity and social justice.” Matthew asks if Bucko uses these concepts in his work with young street people. Bucko says that they work deeply with two questions: “What breaks your heart?” and “What makes you truly alive?”—the via negativa and the via positiva therefore.Bucko says, “The goal is not to answer these questions. The goal is to be present to them with all that we are.”
March 16, 2023. How Concepts Can Assist Our Spiritual Journey’s Deepening, iii
We explore how concepts, such as the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, can assist people in understanding their journeys. Matthew names other concepts that can deepen our understanding of our spiritual journeys. These include: panentheism; the Cosmic Christ and the Buddha nature; the Motherhood of God and sacred masculinity; as well as “realized eschatology” and Pere Chenu’s concepts of “continuous creation” and “continuous incarnation.”
March 17, 2023. St. Patrick’s Day 2023: Honoring the Celtic Tradition of Sacred Creation
On this St. Patrick’s Day, we remember the indigenous earth-honoring Celtic traditions which influenced the wisdom of many of our Rhineland Christian mystics. The book Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, by Scottish theologian John Philip Newell, brings Celtic wisdom alive. We also explore the presence of the Celtic cross, which dots cemeteries and landscapes throughout Ireland. It is a combination of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified and a circular form perhaps representing the sun and maybe the resurrection.
March 18, 2023. Surrendering to the “Glory of Existence”– Celtic Spirituality, II
On this day, we continue to explore the beauty and power of Celtic spirituality by remembering some of the wisdom of those who honor and celebrate both our planet and our cosmos. Here are some excerpts: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age… The force that drives the water through the rocks drives my red blood. (Dylan Thomas) The earth does not belong to people; people belong to the earth….This earth is precious to the Creator and to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon its Creator…Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red people. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. (Chief Seattle) This new language is primarily the language of the earth, a language of living relationships that extend throughout the universe. (Thomas Berry) Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars. Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings. Now, think. What delight God gives to human kind with all these things…. (Hildegard of Bingen)
Banner image: The Labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool for prayer and meditation. One walks reflectively on a journey toward the center and only then does one journey back to the outer world. Photo by Rob Tol on Unsplash
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
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.
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