August 7, 2023. Welcome to the Via Creativa!!!
In Essential Writings, we read the following quotation from Matthew Fox: All four paths of creation spirituality find their apex in Path Three, the Via Creativa. Paths One and Two lead up to it (we create out of what we have beheld of light and darkness) and Path Four flows out of the Via Creativa…. He also says, in Original Blessing, The creation tradition criticizes asceticism as not being the correct way to carry on God’s creative energy, for what evidence do we possess, after all, that God is herself ascetic? Rather the evidence we have from creation’s beauty and richness, is that our God is a God in love with beauty, with delight and the sharing of it.

Making a mandala with sand or cornmeal, is an effective way to meditate while making art. Photo by LettieLepidoptera. Wikimedia Commons.

August 8, 2023. Myths of Artistic Angst and More
Matthew addresses this theme of the “tortured artist:” Recent Western history has denigrated the artist, and created myths of alienation and isolation—myths about the ‘beatnik’ artist, the alcoholic artist, the ‘madman’ artist. Many of these myths indeed become self-fulfilling prophecies, for artists cannot survive without a living cosmology and few were able to find one in society itself. He further tells us: Creation spirituality does not just theorize about our being co-creators and fellow artists with God, it insists that to enter into art as meditation is the primary prayer form for healthy adults

“The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh (1889), was painted during the artist’s stay in an asylum and showed his view of the cosmos as a living, dynamic place. Wikimedia Commons.

August 9, 2023. Creation Spirituality Honors Native Peoples and Creativity
Author Rick Reich-Kuykendall, who is stepping in for Matthew during his sabbatical, tells us that one of the reasons Matthew was first silenced, then dismissed from the Dominican Order, was that, besides “being a feminist, calling God ‘Mother,’ and de-emphasizing original sin,” he “worked too closely with Native Americans.” Among his faculty, at various times, were Buck Ghosthorse and Native American Elder Jose Hobday. About the place of Native Americans in the Creation Spirituality tradition, Matthew writes: Creation Spirituality, because it honors the ancient rituals of native peoples and listens to their wisdom, because it teaches participants to rediscover the empowerment that comes from ritual, and because it places ritual in a cosmological context, has much to offer us helping religion move beyond verbosity to living ritual. 

August 10, 2023. The Personal Arts, Art-As-Meditation, Cosmology, and Ritual
In this meditation, we explore the various nuances of creativity: personal arts, art as a meditation, and the meaning of ritual. About art-as-meditation, Matthew says: Art as meditation is the primary form of prayer in the creation-centered tradition, and to practice it and undergo it opens the door to the praxis of deep ecumenism. He also reminds us that art is for the sake of healing. The new cosmology reminds us that instead of art being for art’s sake, art is for creativity’s sake, that is for the sake of evolving and for healing people and the Earth. He also reminds us that Ritual is not performance art, it is participatory prayer. 

In this 2002 interview with recently deceased Sinead O’Connor, she speaks about how song is, for her, like prayer, and that it can be a link to God or the Holy Spirit or Jah. BBC Archive

August 11, 2023. Art as a Spiritual Process
In this meditation, we explore Matthew’s thoughts as revealed in his book, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet. He tells us: I often ‘get lost’ and get calmed while writing or while preparing a lecture, or while lecturing. I have deep spiritual experiences while working. This is art as meditation also.  He further explains: Art as meditation is simply entering into the artistic process, not to produce a work of art but to be with the process. Finally, The artist has realized that the alternative to creativity is worse than death. It is boredom. A death of the Spirit. A soul-death. A concealment of one’s truth. Hell. 

August 12, 2023. Beauty Lies at the Heart of the Spiritual Journey
In Essential Writings, Matthew says, “Beauty, and our role in co-creating it, lies at the heart of the spiritual journey.” Matthew also writes about spirituality and homosexuality. He teaches: The universal urge for diversity does not extend to everything else except sexuality. It extends across the board, to everything, including homosexual and transgendered persons. Also, The Black Madonna,
the Great Mother, is not homophobic. She welcomes the diversity of sexual preferences that are also part of creation, human and more-than-human.

Banner image: “Creativity: Kids painting by a mural at the ghats of Varanasi.” Image by Kristian Niemi on Flickr.

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

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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3 thoughts on “Week of 8/7-12/2023: Exploring the Via Creativa”

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    Blessings to all our sisters and brothers around the world! May God’s Spirit of Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Healing… increase in the hearts and lives of All living beings, creatures, and beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth….

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