More Wisdom on Trust from Fred Shuttlesworth & Others

Yesterday we meditated on Fred Shuttlesworth and where courage comes from: “It comes from trust,” he told me.  Indeed, he preferred the word trust to “courage” because for him it is the source of courage.  

“Remembering Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.” WCPO 9

Notice too that his consciousness—like that of courageous people in the Amazon—was about the movement, the collective, the people.  Holiness is not an individualistic thing; it is about grace alive in people, communities, movements.  “You can kill the individual but not the movement,” he said.

So far, we have considered how Joy and Courage are signs of holiness in our time and now we can add the word trust because Fred, a person of demonstrable courage, has instructed us that trust is the way to courage. 

He is not alone.  Other mystics and saints have had much to say about trust and in my Original Blessing book I dedicate a chapter to “Trust: A Psychology of Trust and Expansion.”  I like that title because trust is the root meaning of faith and is another way to expand the heart and thus birth courage—coeur large, big-heart. 

“Statue of Shuttlesworth in front of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute by sculptor John Walter Rhoden.” Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Following are others who speak on trust:

Gerhard Von Rad, a scholar of wisdom literature in the Bible, says that the world of wisdom literature in the Scriptures “is a world that is thoroughly worthy of trust.”

Hildegard of Bingen: “Trust shows the way.”

The psalmist: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart….”

“Happy is she who trusts in the Lord….”  (Notice the link between trust and joy.)

“He who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.”  (Ps. 3.5; 16.20; 28.25)

Meister Eckhart: “You can never trust God too much.  Why is it that some people do not bear fruit?  It is because they have no trust either in God or in themselves.”

Julian of Norwich: “Often our trust is not full.  We are not certain that God hears us because we consider ourselves worthless and as nothing.  This is ridiculous and the very cause of our weakness.  I have felt this way myself.”

Amal Clooney, human rights lawyer, speaks about how courage is needed today, more than ever. AP Archive

Trust, once learned, leads to entrustment also.  Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann: “What God does first and best and most is to trust his people with their moment in history.  He trusts them to do what must be done for the sake of his whole community.” 

Are we being entrusted today with our moment in history like King, Shuttlesworth, Dorothy Stang and others were in theirs?


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 81f.

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

Banner image: Images of Freedom Riders who bravely rode integrated buses into the volatile South as part of the Civil Rights Movement. From an exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia at The Center for Civil and Human Rights. Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons.


Queries for Contemplation

What is the role of trust in your spiritual journey?  Do you recognize a connection between trust and entrustment?


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

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11 thoughts on “More Wisdom on Trust from Fred Shuttlesworth & Others”

  1. Avatar

    ‘Trust’ and not insanity is when what you do does not work out, does not work out, does not work out, despite everything you do and the different ways you do it, but you still have the energy, the zest, the fire and love in your heart, to continue to move forward. With ‘trust’, loss is not a failure, but merely another stepping stone on the path as we move ahead. And we continue to move forward knowing full well that God’s enduring and unending greatness and glory will be revealed and manifested, with, through and despite us and our weakness and failings. And as good ‘soldiers’, good ‘disciples’, we continue our march in good times and in bad, in times of joy and sorrow, in pain and in good health. And we march together towards ‘the light’ even in the darkest of times, and dark they will get at times. — BB.

    1. Avatar
      Gwen McGrenere

      Bill’s statement “And we continue to move forward knowing full well that God’s enduring and unending greatness and glory will be revealed and manifested, with, through and despite us and our weakness and failings.”

      It seems serendipitous that I just read this Latin quote Carl Jung placed above the main door of his Kusnacht home: “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit.” (Called or not called, God will be there.) At that time Jung was “participating in the civic and political life of the Kusnacht community.”

      1. Avatar

        The way I see it, there are those who wait for trust, or who choose a belief in which to trust, those who wish they had more trust with which to act, and those who keep trust is at a distance to the gift of their life wanting to be lived. Shuttlesworth acted in the integrity of his being and life, walking out of his home and sensing trust arising right through his body, sensing the connection in his soul to all who he was (and is), all he was doing, and the greater whole of humanity he was serving and living. I see trust coming right out of his experience of him living his gift of life.
        I will never forget hearing a man say, “I was waiting for faith to arrive in the mailbox.” My daily challenge is to get active in the gifts I’ve been given and to keep touching the greater whole. Thank you Matthew Fox for keeping me in touch with so many players and ideas. Hanging out with courageous people and active actors is one of the best advises going–especially if it’s true that we are our relationships.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    In today’s DM, Mathew spoke of the importance of NURTURING trust, especially in one’s earliest formative years. When one does not receive this nurturance of trust… trust in Mother/Father God… trust in living in the spiritual reality of this relationship… trust in oneself, and one’s journey… trust in one’s connection with Mother Earth… trust in a love, compassion, mercy and the just is of this… due to the trauma of physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse… then one struggles throughout life… to TRUST. One then must learn to trust, by first healing these wounds; which leads one to learn how to begin to nurture this trust, which this one has so longed to embrace. Julian’s words in today’s DM, speaks to this, for I too have felt this way!

    For myself, Trust is a continuous kenotic process of healing and transformation; in which I slowly over the years… see the unfolding, evolving, emergence of this holy gift beginning to unfurl from within. The image that arises to the surface, is that of the flower that only blooms at night, beneath the light of the moon.

    1. Avatar

      Early abuse, neglect, and a mother’s message of being unwanted because of not being a boy, not being talented or good enough, and also a religion that reinforced a message of female unworthiness, tainted my ability to trust my world and feel valued by God. The profound level of trust that opened my soul to my mystical experience was a rare occasion of blessed, uninhibited, joyful peace, the deepest intimacy of unbounded openness. It was a gift not only of the revelation itself but an indelible memory of what total, uninhibited, radical Trust is like.

      For those who have known abuse, courage begins when we dare to tell ourselves that we deserve to be loved, and always, totally, fundamentally did, and when we start believing that God always held and forever holds us us in Love. Learning to trust means convincing the wounded, punished, frightened inner child deep within us that she/he deserves God’s Love and can trust God to give it unconditionally. It takes courage to challenge the messages of self-hatred that others have tried to crush us with. Trust takes time.

      1. Avatar
        Carol Vaccariello

        Hi Melinda, Thank you for sharing your heart-trust journey – ongoing.
        I resonate with your experiences. Being a child who wanted with her whole being to be a Priest, realizing in third grade that I had a permanent impediment to a Spirit infused dream. You are so clear about the trust journey of the inner child. It is a tender and soul wrenching journey when one’s basic identity is the issue.
        Yes, you have lived a long and forever journey of continual trust building – it takes courage. You are courageous to speak up here. I thank you for your vulnerability and your superability to trust this unique DM community with your life’s pain and your way through.
        To support your life journey, I would like to share that I am in my 77th year and I am being led and taught by Spirit to live a life of RADICAL TRUST. Maybe that is the reason we need to live courageous lives to strengthen the Being, we are – so we can do it RADICALLY – resting in the wisdom of Spirit, the Divine, even when nothing makes sense. I now keep a journal of RADICAL TRUST moments, in the attempt to understand the Wisdom they hold for me. If you are open to sharing more of your journey, pivotal moments, awakening…Deep Love holding you, while making the way, and being at the end of the road at the same time… -Do I see you smiling?

  3. Avatar

    WHEN we remember that God is 100% love, hears our every prayer, and ALWAYS response in a positive way, our trust increases spontaneously. Love begets love. God trusts us because we are trust-worthy. God too is trust-worthy:). Our trust in God is well-founded.

  4. Avatar

    I am sitting up, listening and learning!!
    Thank you Matthew and DM for introducing me to Fred Shuttlesworth. I will learn more about him. His courage and example spoke loud and clear to me and touched my heart, providing guidance to my path.
    What resonated most with me is that he told Matthew his courage came from Trust.
    I see now how crucial community and relationship with others is an integral key
    not only to our survival but to our thriving.
    I am ready to engage! Next, the eye opening confirmation that Trust is the root of Courage is so profound and deeply spiritual.
    His understanding and example of Trust is, Yes, Biblical in its scope!
    So when any human being is a witness,
    a messenger, a worker for this Spirit of Love,
    than truly I feel the Presence of this Spirit in my life. The word and actions of Fred Shuttlesworth, MLK, Matthew Fox, the mystics and others, founded in their Trust, sheds the life affirming power of this Trust
    to us. I am grateful!

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you for your powerful comment. I, too, am sitting up, listening and learning!! I am dumbfounded that I don’t recall Rev. Shuttlesworth’s name. For being a steady influential Presence and “mentor” for Doctor King and with him all the way. For modeling non-violent resistance because he held the profound understanding: it is all about the Community, the Goal of Justice and equality for all. An amazing Being for sure, to live through so much hardship, violence, and near death experiences. To embrace pain and suffering for all beings, is the way of the Lakota Sun Dance Priest.

  5. Avatar

    “In God we trust” is the motto on the currency of the United States. A variation on this motto is “In God we trust; all others pay cash.” Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” Jesus said, “Fear is unnecessary; what is needed is trust.”
    I have learned from sad experience that some people cannot be trusted, such as “confidence men.” There must be room in this grey life for suspicion, caution, background checks and other people’s views, especially where money is concerned.

  6. Avatar

    Divine Love~Wisdom~Faith~Trust~Truth~Peace~Justice~Strength~Healing~Mercy~Compassion~Service~Creativity~Beauty~Joy… are All gifts and fruits of the Spirit within, through, among, around us, especially within our unique eternal Souls~True Heart Selves, and our compassionate relationships with one another, with sacred/beautiful Mother Earth and all her creatures and graceful abundance, and with All our sacred multidimensional-multiverse Cosmos and beings in our ongoing/eternal co-Creational-Incarnational-Evolving Cosmos within Our Creator~Source’s Loving Diverse Oneness….

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