We continue our meditation on Matthew Fox’s writings of the way of darkness, silence, and solitude, suffering, loss and grief.

“Imprisoned.” Photo by Tamirlan Maratov on Unsplash

In the pathway that is the Via Negativa, we enter the shadow, the hidden or covered-up parts of ourselves and our society. In doing so, we confront the cover-up that often accompanies evil in self or society. ‘It is part of an unjust society to cover up the pain of its victims,’ notes theologian Dorothee Soelle. This commandment requires that we not only let go of cover-up and denial, but that we actually enter into the darkness that pain is all about.

It is not letting go of things that is important
but the letting go of attitudes toward things. 

Forgiveness is another word for letting go. 

There are times in our lives
when waiting is best
and the most healing thing
we can do
for ourselves or
for others. 

Finding strength together. Photographer unknown, Burst Free Stock Photos

In contrast to co-dependence,
creation spirituality teaches interdependence.
It attacks the issue of low self-esteem directly
by teaching Original Blessing
in preference to
a psychology of Original Sin. 

Creation Spirituality
addresses the compulsion to control directly
by teaching the mystical path of letting go and letting be,
the Via Negativa. 

A healthy Via Negativa,
one that truly teaches us to let go,
also assists us in learning
to accept our mistakes and
live in an imperfect world. 

See Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, p. 57.

Also see Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, pp. 160, 163, 164.

Also see Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 83, 84, 87.

While Matthew Fox is on a month’s sabbatical, the Rev. Richard Reich-Kuykendall is stepping in, drawing the Daily Meditations from his book-in-progress, Meditations with Matthew Fox, Mystic-Prophet, a distillation of Matthew’s voluminous body of work. Rick is a graduate of the University of Creation Spirituality, a minister, and the author of 17 books covering a range of religious subjects, including Creation Spirituality, Wicca, Buddhism, dreams, Biblical criticism and more.

Banner Image: “The Fallen Church.” Collage by Daniel Arrhakis on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

How are you with living in an imperfect world? What would it need to change to be a more “perfect world?”

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.

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

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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9 thoughts on ““Thou Shalt Dare the Dark” (Via Negativa)–part 2”

  1. Avatar

    The physical temporal world will always be an imperfect world. There are over 8 billion people on their own path, in whatever form it takes, to realization and to whatever beneficial or harmful outcome it manifests. A vision of Life and love on the realm ‘not of this world’, is the source of all faith. So we move forward in love, life and faith and experience that which is available to us now. The holiness, the love, joy and peace are all alive and well in the midst of our suffering. Rejoice. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    It’s very challenging living in an imperfect world, but part of that challenge is realizing our own shadow imperfections and interdependence… God’s Loving~Wisdom~Healing~Just~Transformative… Spirit within and among Us wants us to be open to that Loving~Healing… COMPASSIONATE PRESENCE of our evolving
    “True Heart Self~Eternal Sacred Soul~Cosmic Christ Consciousness~our human&Divine Natures” within our co-Creator~Source’s Evolving LOVING Diverse ONENESS in ALL of Her~His multi-dimensional multiverse COSMOS….

  3. Avatar

    Facing the dark parts of myself was not, and is not, the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But even harder, is accepting this part of myself, making friends with this part of myself. Some things, acts, judgements made manifest, hurts inflicted on others, cause me great shame and regret. Even when I think I’ve settled with it/them, they can rear up and trip me up again.
    I am coming to realize that these dark areas of me are also part of me. Not my best part, but still a part. Now I try to look for the lessons they teach, what I can learn. They are part of the blue print of my life, showing me where I’ve misstepped and what I need to avoid or do differently. Slowly, slowly, I’m coming to see that the darkness is necessary, and is even a blessing ( although the latter is taking longer to really accept).

  4. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I choose to live in an imperfect world, through engaging with what Richard Rohr defines as authentic spirituality; which is always on the first level about engaging in relationship with All aspects of oneself and one’s intimately unique, personal connection with Spirit. The true nature of authentic spirituality, engaged with through the spiritual practices of reflection, contemplation, and meditation, always changes and transforms oneself. It’s not just about changing our minds, our thought life; but it also includes transforming our hearts, our feelings… and detaching from the negative stories that are entangled within these; that we believe to be true about ourselves.

    The way I cultivate and nurture this is through sacred journaling, spending time in nature, engaging in ceremony and ritual, creating art, and spiritual reading. This helps me to enter into this holy communion of relationship with… awakening to presence, listening to understand and speaking from the heart.

    Authentic spirituality, roots me in love, compassion, mercy, and truth and the transforming power of this; which leads to healing and wholeness. Converging with this daily, also weakens the inner violence of judgement and criticisim of all my imperfections and the mistakes I make, as I learn to walk the talk of this authentic spirituality that frees me to continously unfold, evolve and emerge into becoming and being my authentic Soul/Self.

  5. Avatar

    I struggle with this living in the imperfect world, even though I own my own darkness. It is especially difficult when injustice and cruelty affect myself and the people I love. Spiritual practices help give a perspective and hope that, in the end, all will be well and all will be well. Acceptance of my own imperfections helps me to let go and let be.

  6. Avatar

    “Letting go” and “forgiveness” are responses chosen by some of the victims of injustice/abuse. But the widespread clerical sexual abuse, and its intimidation and silencing of victims, points to a smug attitude of “holy infallibility” in its male elite.
    Often, clergy-men “confessed their sins” ONLY to other clergy-MEN in order to assuage their temporary guilt, rather than atoning by apologizing directly to their VICTIMS and truly changing their ways. Clergy often ignored, hid, and perpetuated the abuse by shuffling the abusers into other states, a shell game of the clergy aiding and abetting each other. They all become abusers, by extension.
    The weaponization of “Christian forgiveness” is vicious: the “holier” clergyMAN who rapes/abuses a victim, demands that the VICTIM, in order to be “Jesus-like,” MUST forgive the abuser automatically. The abusive priest/minister gets to feel better after his “insiders’ forgiveness club” confession to another “holier male” priest/minister, while the victim is further traumatized with implied expectations that they MUST automatically “love and forgive” their attacker, and the Church institution continues to profitably function without dealing with the rot it conceals.
    Jesus’s response to the rot in the Temple’s elite was to challenge their power and delusions of sanctity.

  7. Avatar

    Your comments on the sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy is typical of all the responses I’ve seen in the media. Angry, violent denouncements of the Catholic Church. I have never read one report of someone stating the Catholic Church’s side of all this; a good defense of the Catholic Church. Instead it’s laid there and played whipping boy for intense and unremitting vitriol. This is an egregious offense by the lawyers of the Church. Why didn’t they make a case for the church, telling what Catholics believe and how this could have happened?
    We don’t participate in the Holy Sacrament of Confession to assuage our guilt, so much as for enlightenment. Catholics believe in spiritual healing. The church had some terrible secrets, thank God they’ve come to light so healing on many levels can take place.

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