Week of 4/3 – 4/8/2023: Fallibility, Irony, Right Speech, Easter

April 3, 2023. Ending the Doctrine of Discovery, continued
Matthew speaks about how the bubonic plague caused Christians to doubt the innate goodness of creation. As a result, a theology based on redemption was born, which prompted the Vatican’s infamous Doctrine of Discovery and the resulting genocide of indigenous people and their way of life. Contrast this travesty with the wisdom of the mystics: “Blessedness is grounded on nature.” (Aquinas) and  “The first good thing is the goodness of nature” and “God is the very essence of nature.” (Hildegard) How different our world would be if those tenets were known and practiced!

“Vatican officially repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery,” APTN News on YouTube

April 4, 2023. The Doctrine of Discovery & Papal Fallibility
It’s rare for the Vatican to admit to a mistake, so Pope Francis’s repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery is very big news. Matthew has frequently called for the document to be publicly burned in St. Peter’s Square, but barring that, a papal condemnation of it adjacent to the Doctrine of Discovery in the Vatican museum would be a nice touch. What else can the Vatican confess to? The canonization of Junipero Serra? How about Pope John Paul II and Jose Maria Escriva? How about their views on homosexuality? As Matthew says, No wonder 75% of 18 to 30 year olds identify as “spiritual but not religious.”

April 5, 2023. MLK’s Martyrdom & Presidential Criminality: A Day of Irony
April 5th is the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was martyred 55 years ago for his good and godly work in our world. MLK stood up for Truth and Justice. Sadly, this work against racism is needed today as much as ever. One man who consistently lies and utters hateful remarks was indicted today. How ironic. May Truth and Justice prevail.

MLK says, Let us fight for Justice and Freedom. “Let us never fight with falsehood and violence and hate and malice.” From the “Birth of a New Nation” speech, April 7, 1957, at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Brett Bymaster on YouTube.

April 6, 2023. Right Livelihood and Good Work vs. Fox News
In the continuing wake of the Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, we explore the Buddhist Teachings of Right Speech and Right Livelihood. As Thich Nhat Hanh said: To practice Right Livelihood, you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others. Meanwhile, Aquinas tells us to “always rejoice in the good work that you do.” Perhaps everyone who works at Fox should consider Thich Nhat Hanh’s admonition that we “should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.”

April 7, 2023. Passover, Holy Thursday, Good Friday 2023.
This week we experience the convergence of several holy days in the Jewish and Christian faiths. Regarding Passover, Rabbi Greene asks the very important question: “What is it that enslaves us, and why do we fear to break the chains?” Also, children have a special place at the seder table where they are told the story of their people’s exodus from Egypt. Do children have a special place at our national table? On Wednesday, children around the nation protested the guns responsible for killing their friends and which continue to endanger them all. And they weren’t listened to. In fact, in Tennessee they were lied to; told that banning assault weapons would have no effect on diminishing the numbers of school shootings. This is a blatant form of adultism, in which children are not being respected. When will we stand up for the children?

Rachel Maddow reports on massive protests by Nashville, TN students demanding legislators act to improve gun safety following the Christian school shooting that left three children among the dead. MSNBC on YouTube

April 8, 2023. Easter 2023
Matthew tells us that Easter is a story of liberation; that “resurrection is a story of deliverance from the fear of death” and “therefore an invitation to live life fully.” The great psychologist Otto Rank, though Jewish, believes that Paul and Jesus espoused the “most revolutionary idea” that humanity has ever come up with, namely, that resurrection applies to all. Considering the rampant fear of death in our culture, the idea of resurrection is one that brings hope. And, speaking of Paul, he was the first to write about a firsthand encounter with the risen Christ. And it turned his life around.

Banner image: Spring—when the Earth herself resurrects. Hans on Pixabay.

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

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

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