In Paris, at the Institut Catholique de Paris he met his mentor, Pere M. D. Chenu. It was Chenu who named two traditions within the teachings of the Church, and it is Chenu that Matthew is now writing a book about. The two traditions are:
1. The Fall/Redemption Tradition born of Original Sin.
2. Creation-Centered Spirituality born of Original Blessing.

“Catholic Institute of Paris, 21 Rue d’Assas, Paris, France.” Wikimedia Commons.

More than this, Fox found that he had questions concerning the relationship between mysticism and justice-making, and the fall/redemption tradition’s denigration of the body, the senses, and matter in general.

After receiving his Ph.D. Fox taught religion in a number of colleges, but he first established his Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality in 1976, at Mundelein College, Lake County, Illinois. There he began to develop his own unique form of pedagogy. His teaching integrated the creative spirit with the intellect. So, one had academic studies (often studying the mystics) as well as art-as-meditation.

“Spiral Dance Starhawk – Goddess Conference 2014.” The Goddess Conference Glastonbury UK

In 1984 he moved to Holy Names College in Oakland, California and set up his Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality. At ICCS at Holy Names College, Fox had a very diverse faculty—with an American witch named Starhawk who taught ritual-making, and Jeremy Taylor, a Unitarian–Universalist minister who taught dream interpretation in a group setting. There was also artist-with-clay and poet, M. C. Richards, painter, Adrianna Diaz, Native American teacher Buck Ghosthorse, and others.

Banner image: Entrance to Institut Catholique de Paris. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Share a place where you learned to be who you really are, spiritually.

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

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.

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8 thoughts on “Matthew Meets His Mentor”

  1. Avatar

    “Then, Now and to Come”

    When I look inward, I experience God and all of God’s benefactors. In this, there is no separation of time and space.

    If God was with us then, God is with us now. If God is to be with us tomorrow, God is with us now.

    If God was seen back when, God is to be seen now. If God is to be seen tomorrow, God is to be seen now.

    Our God is ever-present and in our midst. We all have an ever-present mentor, guide and lover. I will write about that, and have then, now and to come. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    The goddess banners on the stage at the Starhawk spiral dance in the video are the creations of the late Lydia Ruyle.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    There are a few places where I continue to learn who I am spiritually, which I weave together as one. The first was through the Women’s Wisdom Lodges, that I was drawn home to my Self. Within these circles, I was spiritually awakened to my deeply personal and intimate connection of relationship with Grandmother Earth, through the wisdom teachings of Swift Deer, of the Metis Twisted Hairs Deer Tribe, through apprenticeship, engaging in rites of passage gateway ceremonies and rituals.

    The second, is through the spiritual literature of the Christian Mystics and Saints that are being released through Mirabia Starr, Mathew Fox, Joan Chistister, Richard Rhor, Christine Valter Paintner, Elizabeth Johnston, and others. Here I learn of the wisdom teachings that are rooted in mysticism within Christianity. I deepen these experiences by going on spiritual retreats, and daily engaging in meditation, reflection and contemplative practices.

    The third, is through my own personal, unique, authentic relationship of companionship with God, the Great Spirit, the Great Mystery, the Holy Spirit of She Who Is, which unfolds, evolves and emerges through the creative, imaginative, expressive pages of my sacred journal, my life testimony; of converging with this spiritual reality of the Divine essence and presence, that is not only within me, but within others, and the all and the everything of creation.

  4. Avatar

    I was privileged to take part in the special community of Journey into Wholeness, a southeastern U.S. organization which for thirty years held conferences and workshops that brought together Jungian psychology, Christianity, and practices from multiple disciplines that fostered spiritual growth. In beautiful natural settings like the Episcopal retreat center, Kanuga, we heard speakers, including Matthew Fox, and participated in experiential workshops and rituals to nurture the Self within. These group experiences at Kanuga, in the western North Carolina mountains, led to my continued study of Jungian psychology and were the basis of the spiritual path I continue on to this day.

  5. Avatar

    Mystically, I am learning to always being open to the Sacredness of the Present Moment and Place within my heart and surroundings to the Presence of God’s Loving Creative Compassionate Spirit, especially with my sisters and brothers, Beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth, and within All of our Beloved Creator’s ongoing physical and non-physical co-Creation~Evolution of Our Loving Diverse Oneness Cosmos….

  6. Avatar

    In Livingston, New York, at Shalom Mountain, I met my mentor, Tom Ronen Goddard. It was Goddard who introduced two paths within the teachings of Integral Spirituality. The two are:
    1. The Wisdom School of Evolutionary Mysticism
    2. The Shalom Process of somatic energy practice.

  7. Avatar

    I haven’t really thought of my direct mystical experience and the continuous, gradual discovery of its original multicultural tradition and the unwrapping of its wisdom- messages, in terms of “where” the opening and those insights happened, but they actually all occurred in various “homes” I lived in, or returned to, in the same city that Matthew was born and raised in, Madison, Wisconsin. I, too, was raised there, though my parents lived on the “workers’ side of town,” the east side. “Home” was where a deeply intuitive, introverted female like me was most comfortable and felt safe enough to stretch my soul in radical new directions when the Spirit knocked on the door.

    I always enjoyed walking in nature, but I grew up with limited exposure to it because my parents never owned a car, we never went hiking except in our city’s arboretum, and it was dangerous for single girls/women to go off alone in wooded areas, even in the city. (It was dangerous even in the “stacks” of the campus library, back in the 70’s). Feeling attuned to nature, feeling interwoven with it, is something that deeply resonates with me, but it’s always within the larger, implied context of the safety of the location.

    Being “one with nature” is easier for men to take for granted.

  8. Avatar

    In either 1991 or 1992 a friend and attended a week long Creation Spirituality conference led by Matthew, in Asheville North Carolina. I had read Original Blessing and was hungry for more. The week was one of education, ritual, dancing, and joy. There were many other changes that needed to happen in my life before I could claim my own spirituality but when I left I was certainly on the path.

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