Creation Spirituality Steps Out of the Catholic World

Fox was silenced by the Vatican from 1989-1990, was expelled from the Dominican Order on March 3, 1993, and was later forced to leave Holy Names College. In 1996 he, for the most part, moved the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality to downtown Oakland.

Matthew Fox’s appearance on “Thinking Allowed,” circa 1990. Video by ThinkingAllowedTV.

Many of his teachers in the program at Holy Names College relocated with Fox and began the University of Creation Spirituality, which provided doctor of ministry degrees (D. Min.) which built on whatever area one’s master’s degree was in, in order for the student to learn how to live one’s spirituality in the workplace.

Since that time, the University of Creation Spirituality morphed into Wisdom University, and Fox no longer deals with the school. But Fox founded the Order of the Sacred Earth; he has a non-profit called Friends of Creation Spirituality; and teaches at Creation Spirituality events put on by Creation Spirituality Communities, and other Creation Spirituality related programs.

Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where Matthew Fox was granted an honorary Doctor of Letters in 2000. Photo by MPen92. Wikimedia Commons.

Besides being the author of over thirty books which have sold more than 1.5 million copies in fifty-six languages, Fox was the recipient of the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, and the Ghandi-King-Ikeda Award from Morehouse College.

It is my intention to provide you the reader with some gems from Matthew Fox’s writings on the Four Paths so you can see the beauty in what he teaches, and thus help you to (as I did) fall in love with Creation Spirituality!

Today’s post written by Rick Reich-Kuykendall while Matthew Fox is on summer break.

See Matthew Fox, Essential Writings on Christian Spirituality.

See also Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest.

Banner Image: “Leaving the Manse,” lithograph by J.M. Corner (1893); a minister and his family leave their manse to form the Free Church of Scotland in 1843 — in a manner similar to Matthew’s departure from the Catholic Church to form Creation Spirituality as an independent movement. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you ever had to leave a spiritual community because you no longer fit?

Recommended Reading

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.

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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9 thoughts on “Creation Spirituality Steps Out of the Catholic World”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Yes, I have chosen to leave a spiritual community, after much discernment. Although these moments were sometimes painful, due to various reasons, letting go and moving on, opened new doors of opportunities to exploring and engaging with other spiritual wisdom pathways, which I sensed Spirit was leading me to, in order for my Soul sense of Self to continue to unfold, evolve and emerge.

    Following and trusting the promptings of the Spirit, I have learnt to honour my own souls unique and authentic journey. In the changing seasons and cycles of this journey, I’ve needed different things, ways, or teachings and it was necessary to connect and engage with new spiritual communities for these reasons.

    I have come to understand this as part of the sacred medicine that I carry, as an old soul. My sacred name is Circling Fox. What this name means is that I walk upon the sacred Earth, joining the campfire circles where others gather and share their spiritual wisdom stories and then I carry this lit ember with me, mutually sharing with and learning from each campfire circle that comes across the pathways that Spirit has led me to. This spiritual wisdom is then weaved together, like a braid of sweetgrass; or added like a bead on a prayerstrand, or is like seeds planted in the egg of my womb, which when further cultivated, nurtured, tended to and integrated; gives birth to my true Soul Self throughout the journey of my life.

    1. Avatar

      Your story is so beautiful Jeanette. I love your sacred name and what it means about who you are! Thank you so much for sharing!
      I too am on a journey to find my True Soul Self like so many of us. I pray we may daily find our unique connection to Creation Spirituality so we may weave and being woven into this precious experience of Life.

    2. Avatar
      Michael Dawkins

      thank you Jeanette. I also am searching and finding a new and wonderful spiritual path. Your words today were a blessing.

  2. Avatar

    Yes, the institutional Catholic Church. It was not that difficult because I was raised just a nominal Catholic, as were my parents. Since my young adulthood my graceful innate search for meaning, spirituality, and Faith included studying and being influenced by the mystics of all genuine spiritual traditions. As part of my spiritual journey and psycho~social~spiritual development in life, including Creation Spirituality, I became more aware of the destructive effects in human history of the toxic, egocentric, controlling, racist, spiritually unbalanced beliefs, values, actions of patriarchy in our personal, interpersonal, and societal lives and institutions, including religious ones. Besides wars, racism, social inequities, and unspeakable human suffering to humanity, we have also been destroying Sacred Mother Nature/Earth to the point of even endangering our own human species. Our Faith, Hope, and Compassion towards our ongoing personal and social evolution of LOVE~WISDOM~Truth~Peace~Justice~Healing~Transformation~Creativity~Beauty~Joy… fortunately is kept Alive in the hearts and compassionate actions of many, in our physical and non-physical spiritual dimensions, within our co-Creator~Source’s Spirit of LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS….

  3. Avatar

    One of the main reasons I warmed to Matthew Fox’s Creation Spirituality was when Matthew announced he believed in Angels….. it seemed like a bold statement and very unusual for a man, but it held a promise of something expansive, real and something inclusive.
    As a child I was brought up in a rural, natural environment and I used to search in the fields for where I could find ‘fairy rings’… believing that they came from some magical place. (now I know the rings represent a mushroom root trail, but they are still magical to me)
    During my Spiritual searches I have had strong intuitions from unknown parts of myself when things weren’t developing harmoniously and on those occasions I have voluntarily left that ‘stream’ when I couldn’t connect with nature and a naturalness.
    Now, In my mature years I have returned to the religion I was born into…..and in the words of T. S. Elliot, I feel I have arrived from where I started but know the place for the first time. (Four Quartets)
    So, meeting Creation Spirituality gave me an essential connection to wholeness where all the different parts of myself could work together, be expressive, understand each other and where I could remain being a Christian.

  4. Carol Kilby

    Yes, I have stepped out of congregational ministry in the United Church of Canada after finishing my Dr. of Ministry at University of Creation Spirituality – founded by Matthew. I came away from that study of our Christian mystics – new to me ! – and an introduction to the new cosmology, and after time with Sr. Miriam MacGillis at Genesis Farm knowing two things. The work of faith today is not salvation but sustainability. My work was to be outside the Christian culture teaching what I’d gained at UCS etc. The story of my work at the retreat centre I founded, Gaia Centre for EcoSpirituality and Sustainable Work can be found in Evolutionary Dancer – Out, In, and On the Fringe of the Church available on Amazon. Also
    I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the video of the Young Matthew. THANK YOU.
    Also, I come away inspired by Matthew’s persistence in preaching what he was saying even in the 70’s and 80’s.

  5. Avatar

    “To Find Our Completeness is to Renounce ‘the World’ “

    It is hard to be complete when ‘the world’ is always reminding us that we are incomplete, lacking and in needy. ‘The world’, through loving parents, friends, neighbours, employers, advertising agencies, the church, media and the like are always reminding us of our need. We have surrendered to varying degrees of ‘worldly success’, anxiety, discomfort and suffering born of ignorance.

    One size does not fit all. Our being is made up of physical, psychological, metaphysical, and spiritual qualities and characteristics. Are our solutions purchased off the shelf or in a one-dimensional treatment room? It may appear that way and we might go that way, but will it ever make us complete and not in constant need?

    Maybe we are to replace ‘our need’ with desire. Do we not need to desire something not yet realized, or experienced to make us whole and complete. We have become distant from our hearts when we are constantly ‘tuned in’ to all ‘the noise of the world’. When we step back from ‘the world’, we then begin to enter that ‘holy and sacred’ space of realization. To find our completeness is to renounce ‘the world’ and experience the ‘higher power’ that wholeness sits within. Is it not ‘the world’ that treats us like ‘a star’ one moment and then ‘a piece of garbage’ the next, as it often does. — BB.

  6. Avatar

    I left my Lutheran church because it didn’t reach the depths of my spiritual hunger. Then I was granted a mystical experience, but I had no knowledge of “mysticism” and couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the revelation, so I filed it under “awe” and tiptoed away. (Lutherans don’t acknowledge or teach anything about the mysticism in the Bible). I had to be Spirit-led to the information I needed, eventually being led to recognizing my mystical experience in the theology-speak of a “neoplatonic” mystic named Meister Eckhart, then also to Plotinus. Then I found this mysticism in many traditions: in the Bible and Kabbalah, Sufism, Upanishads, and Buddhism. My exploration of this incredible, non-dualistic mysticism through the wisdom of all these traditions has deepened my spirituality for many years.

    But, importantly, this mystical tradition was lost in the West, then misunderstood. I couldn’t find “my” (neoplatonic) mysticism in contemporary texts because there weren’t any recent mystics for me to learn from, and precious few older texts available, either. I had to go back before (official) Catholicism’s dualistic misrepresentation of mysticism to find the authentic, non-dualistic mysticism that I recognized and celebrated as my own. My Path took me outside all of the contemporary traditions first, then wound back into them from their ancient mystical roots.

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