Week of April 10-15, 2023: Evil, Justice, the Sacred & Resurrection

April 10, 2023. Gifts from Two Artists Received during Passover/Holy Week
Matthew shares with us a painting from an artist friend and two powerful poems from a poet friend. The poems, written by Rafael Jesús González, are about two timely issues: 1) the demand for justice for Justin Jones, Gloria Johnson, and Justin Pearson of Tennessee, and 2) how we treat those who are seeking a better and safer way of life. Here is an excerpt from the second poem: and we who live in the empire that displaced them can do no less than what the Master did: to tenderly wash their feet & say, “We have a place set for you at the table.” Meanwhile, the painting, called “The Crucifixion,” is by Ullrich Javier Garcia Lemus. He says, It is Jesus connecting to the universe for our salvation.  The universe is crying and the sky is crying.

“Crucifixion.” Painting by Ullrich Javier Garcia Lemus. Used with permission from the artist.

April 11, 2023. The Sorry State of Tennessee and American Politics
Matthew bemoans the state of our country today–of the fascist Tennessee legislature, the continuing unethical behavior of a certain news station, the continuing belligerence and unaccountability of a former president, a Supreme Court justice who has been accepting bribes for over twenty years, and more unbearably sad school shootings. As Matthew says, “A society cannot survive without a shared commitment to the common good and a basic agreed-upon ethics and morality.”

Vice President Kamala Harris gives a fiery speech after Tennessee lawmakers ousted. CNN

April 12, 2023. Beyond Evil?
In this meditation, we explore the evils of the world and contemplate the question raised by author Simon Wiesenthal in his book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. Wiesenthal tells the story of being a prisoner in a concentration camp who is faced with a dying Nazi soldier asking for forgiveness. “What would you do?” he asks. Meanwhile, Matthew teaches that the opposite of evil is not goodness but holiness. Rabbi Heschel says this: The Biblical answer to evil is not the good but the holy. It is an attempt to raise humans to a higher level of existence, where one is not alone when confronted with evil. Living in ‘the light of the face of God’ bestows upon people a power of love that enables them to overcome the powers of evil. 

April 13, 2023. On Evil and Its Remedies, Part II
German-Jewish philosopher Martin Buber teaches that we cannot wipe out evil, but we can work to turn it into good. Matthew tells us that “the good is a door to the Sacred. (“I am the way.” “I am a door.”) Matthew then asks and answers three questions: 1) Where is the good all around us?  (In the blessings.) 2) Where is the good within us?  (In the seven chakras.) 3) Where are the doors to evil in us? (The seven chakras when they are unbalanced.) He tells us that “the seven capital sins or sins of the spirit are doors that allow evil to enter us.”

A 1-minute sound bath designed to balance the seven chakras. MeditativeMind

April 14, 2023. Evil & Grace, Crucifixion & Resurrection out of Nashville
As Matthew says, “There is going on in our time… a great mixing of evil and grace, crucifixion and resurrection, moral outrage and promise, despair and hope.” We celebrate the reinstatement of Representative Justin Jones and Justin Pearson to the state legislature of Tennessee. First they were crucified for daring to speak up against gun violence. Now their reinstatement is a kind of resurrection, as Jones himself said.
Art has always been a profound way of protesting, and how wonderfully synchronistic that Jones and fellow protester Representative Gloria Johnson happened to be on the same plane as Joan Baez. Jones greeted her in the airport and they sang together “We Shall Overcome” while Johnson videotaped them. We are thankful for some moments of joy in the midst of all that has been happening in our world.

” 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

April 15, 2023. On Turning Evil Around: Prescient Teachings from Ernest Becker
Rabbi Heschel calls on holiness to turn evil around. Meanwhile, author/cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker teaches that spirituality or healthy religion needs to offer the possibility of a new heroism, the heroism of sainthood. He says that the churches have turned their backs both on the miraculousness of creation and on the need to do something heroic in this world. This is obviously in alignment with the values of Creation Spirituality. He prophetically warns us that in science, as in authentic religion, there is no easy refuge for empty-headed patriotism, or for putting off to some future date the exposure of large-scale social lies. 

Banner image: “Do Infinite Good.” Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

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

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

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