Evil & Grace, Crucifixion & Resurrection out of Nashville

There is going on in our time and on the media a great mixing of evil and grace, crucifixion and resurrection, moral outrage and promise, despair and hope.

Democrat Rep. Justin J. Pearson, following Rep. Justin Jones, is unanimously reinstated to the Tennessee state House just days after Republicans expelled them for protesting gun violence on the chamber floor. MSNBC.

This is being played out in the current story of the “Tennessee Three” which includes the firing of two young and black congress members of the state of Tennessee–and then their reinstatement by their constituents.  Their “crime” was standing up with high school students demanding that their state government do something about school killings. 

Their reinstatement was a kind of resurrection for sure—just as Justin Jones said it was.

Spiritually, we are being invited to learn anew a resurrection/passover dimension to everyday life and politics.  This dimension blends our experience of evil (crucifixion, despair) with hope, impossibility within possibility.

Joan Baez sings “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” with Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones (video by @JoshuaBodwell) To hear them sing, click on the image.

And Joy enters too.  Consider this story: yesterday, on the plane from Nashville to Newark, representatives Jones and Johnson happened to notice Joan Baez on the plane with them.  On landing, in the corridor of the airport in Newark, Jones and Joan Baez sang a song together with Johnson videoing them.

This is intergenerational action and respect, a wondrous sign of our times: The holy protests of the sixties linking up with the necessary holy protests of the 21st century.  Music linking the two generations together.

Art, the “way of the prophets,” rises to the occasion.  Music brings joy and joy brings awakening and a unity of hearts of all ages, all generations, all souls, all races.  Lots of smiles and lots of memories enter the fray.  I am of the Joan Baez generation and am proud to witness her smiles once again alongside those of newly born activists Jones and Johnson.

Blessings on us all.

One act of courage: “There is a place for you at our table if you choose to join us.” Excerpt from The Fifth Sacred Thing. The Poetry of Predicament

As for the sad Tennessee legislature, let us not leave them behind.  Let’s invite them to the party also, a party in quest for peace and justice and protecting our children as well as our planet (which is meant to be the inheritance for our children).

Let us meditate on these profound observations from the prophetic psychologist Otto Rank.  He warned us in the 1930’s about the decadent fear of extinction, which “is self-created by man who becomes afraid of his own power-ideology, which he has set up against the forces of nature in himself.”  Anthropocentrism creates its own demons. Demons of adultism and racism and ecocide that we can and need to resist together. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, pp. 44, 94, 278, 263 

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

Banner Image: “Today, I stood with parents, students, and the Tennessee Three. They won’t be silenced and their demands for gun reform must be heard. In Congress and in state legislatures around our nation, leaders must have the courage to act.” Tweet by Vice President Kamala Harris, April 7, 2023

Queries for Contemplation

What does hearing this duet of two generations do to your soul?

Recommended Reading

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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19 thoughts on “Evil & Grace, Crucifixion & Resurrection out of Nashville”

  1. Avatar

    Who will step up and boycott the Tennessee congress as was done to Georgia in the recent past (2021)?


    Major League Baseball on Friday pulled this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s new restrictive voting law.
    The “Midsummer Classic” was set for July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, in addition to other activities connected to the game, including the annual MLB Draft.
    “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

    1. Avatar

      I can assure you that Many Tennesseans disapprove of the Tennessee legislature and its expulsion of Rep. Jones and Pearson and its near-expulsion of Rep. Johnson. A majority of Tennesseans is for sensible gun control and banning AR-15’s. We vote but, unfortunately, our districts are gerrymandered, so we have little legislative voice. Protests have been held all over the state in support of Jones, Pearson, and Johnson. Please pray for us.

      1. Avatar

        We are in the same situation in Florida. We all need to pray for one another. I see the truism that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely alive and well here and in other parts of the country. I have hope from the small pockets of resistance and the stalwart stance of good people against these crimes against human rights.

      2. Avatar
        Carol Vaccariello

        Isabel, your heart is tender. You are genuine and strong. Thank you, for a peek through a window not often opened.

  2. Avatar
    Patricia Ferrari

    I am deeply grateful to MATTHEW and his team to continuing to educate me about the things that matter. Truth , social activism and protecting mother earth, teaching and giving hope as I travel my last days . I have 6 grandchildren all young adults . My hope is to share these values and truths before I die. Blessings and much love to all of you.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Yes, Patricia, our legacy is our Elder Wisdom. Matthew teaches from a heart full of Elder Wisdom.
      He has promoted Youth and Elder gatherings so that we might learn from each other. Good to be aware of your
      Wisdom and to want to share it with the young. Listen to their youth-filled wisdom, too!

  3. Avatar

    I recall the MAD strategy of last century. It now seems prophetic: Mutually Assured Destruction with weapons of war ramping up in communities across the globe. The earth and the citizens of the earth are in the crosshairs. And yes, there are bright lights shining in the darkness. Thank you Matthew and Co. ?

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Yes, Gwen. There will always be both – the light and the dark. It is the way of the Universe. We are part of the dark and the light.
      We are the Universe! Thank YOU, Gwen, for your comment.

  4. Avatar

    Anthropocentrism is closely related to the historically unbalanced, toxic, and destructive values of patriarchy in human history up to our modern times. This has also caused the pervasive problems of adultism, racism, and ecocide as Matthew points out in the DM.
    Anthropocentrism has been truthfully analyzed as the absence of fully recognizing and integrating our divine transcendental nature along with our human nature on the spiritual journeys of our eternal souls here on Mother Earth. This is why our souls continue to evolve and reincarnate as many genuine spiritual traditions teach us. Our True Heart Selves~Sacred Eternal Souls~Cosmic Christ Consciousness Present deep within, through, among us help us realize that as human beings we are also part of and interconnected to the Divine Flowing Loving Diverse Oneness of our Source and ongoing co-Creator….

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      HI, Damian. When I read your comments, I am touched by your longing to say it all and not miss one iota in the telling. Today, I sat in silence and knew in my heart, the empty fullness of the deep void, the no-thing that is everything in the same instant.
      Thank you, Damian, for inviting me to recall my “True Heart Self-Sacred Eternal Soul-Cosmic Christ Consciousness, Present deep within” – perhaps that is where we collaborate and interconnect to the “Divine Flowing Loving Diverse Oneness of our Source and ongoing co-Creator”….. Maybe? Possible?

  5. Avatar

    “Whatever the mind thinks of, that alone it sees.” (Hindu Master Visishtha)
    The evangelical/republican cult can “see” no further than its own terror of change and of its god. This infests their attitude to women, people of color, people of whose sex preferences they disapprove, and all advancements of science (that do not interfere with advanced medical care THEY need!).
    Invite them by all means, but I think they are too terrified to attend.
    These people are the bane of existence; the enemies of creativity, art, and life itself.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Olive, yes we are living in deeply challenging times. What I attempt to remind myself, is that we are called to love, embrace, include…..even the most difficult among us. I find it very difficult and extremely important.
      Do you?

  6. Avatar

    Thank you for the excerpt from The Fifth Sacred Thing. I read it when it was first published (1993) and it doesn’t surprise me how prophetic Starhawk was. I count her (and Matthew) among others as Teachers.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Elaine, thank you for lifting up Starhawk. When I worked with Matt at the University of Creation Spirituality, Starhawk was invited to teach. She was a master at the Spiral Dance, weaving us into Oneness and Diversity at the same time.

  7. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    In the 60’s generation, the Holy Spirit of LOVE passed over the hearts of the people. In this 20th century generation, the Holy Spirit of JUSTICE is being resurrected in the hearts of the people. These two generations linked… pass over and carry forward the living Spirit of LOVE AND JUSTICE; unfolding, evolving, emerging and converging with the true spiritual wisdom of all ages… which has withstood the test of time, trials and tribulations. This is the season… The Aquarian Age… of LOVE AND JUSTICE! The image that arises within me, is the Archetype seen in the Star card of the Tarot.

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