Frederick Turner, in his important study of the history of the Americas from the point of view of Native Americans, Beyond Geography, points out that ours is an “introspective” and therefore dangerous civilization.
By “introspective” he means overly focused on ourselves and living without cosmos, without myth, without ritual worthy of the name.
No wonder we find ourselves cosmically sad, cosmically lonely, cosmically destructive in our militarist vision of creating weapons to rain death on the rest of creation. And busy destroying Mother Earth as we know her. With a whole political party content with denying climate change.
Inner journeys are essential to get to our true selves. But an exclusively inward one can look only at oneself or one’s culture and ignore the rest of the world. There lies the death of cosmic spirituality and with it the death of Mother Earth. The world does not need more inward journeys; but there are no limits to the inner journeys we can and ought to make.
Where does this inward compulsion come from? Biblical scholar Krister Stendahl recognizes St. Augustine as the instigator of the “introspective conscience” of the West and feels the reading of the Bible has been distorted in the process.
Augustine was a genius in writing what was probably the first autobiography of the West, but he remains oblivious of the sense of theosis, the divinizing of the cosmos, that Eastern Christianity put forward as the very meaning of salvation. Russian Orthodox theologian Nicolas Berdyaev writes:
The central idea of the Eastern fathers was that of theosis, the divinization of all creatures, the transfiguration of the world, the idea of the cosmos, and not the idea of personal salvation.
How different would history have been if Europeans landing on the shores of Turtle Island had held that understanding of religion?
To be continued
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, pp. 76f.
See also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
Also see Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.
Banner Image: “Alone.” Photo by Kris Mouser-Brown on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
How does theosis as Berdyaev understands it alter your way of looking at redemption or salvation? What difference might that make in the history to come?
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
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.
Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.
This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit