Today as we look for ways to stop the bickering, get over our wars and rumors of war, including our war with Mother Earth, we wonder if humanity can change and transform quickly.  Time is of the essence.  We are in a hurry. 

The Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight, January 24, 2023. Press photo by Jamie Christiani at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Not only wars between nations and peoples threaten our survival but the war against Mother Earth especially does so.  Climate Change and more. 

Can we respond?  Are we up to it?  If not, our species is destined to go the way of the Neanderthal and the 15 other hominid cousins we have identified so far, all of which share this one thing in common: All are now extinct.  We are the last ones standing.  

War is so déjà vu.  We have tried it for centuries.  It is integral to the Patriarchal Project.  Winners and losers.  Empire builders and those swallowed up by empires.  Colonizing, colonizers, and those colonized.  Slavery.  Attempts at genocide.  Genocide.  So familiar, so déjà vu. 

“The Terror of War”: 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc, naked after tearing off her burning clothes as she fled with her family after a napalm bomb was dropped on their Vietnamese village. Photo by Nick Ut, Associated Press; public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Can our species continue to survive this way?  Of course not.

Maybe we need an emergency to wake us up out of our bad habits of war, of reptilian brain responses, of patriarchy unchecked. Maybe Climate Change is that emergency.  Maybe French playwright Antonin Artaud is correct when he wrote in 1938 that “it is right that from time to time cataclysms occur which compel us to return to nature, i.e., to rediscover life.”

Creation spirituality is all about rediscovering life. Nature. Cosmos. That which is. Being.  And not taking it for granted. 

Experts Care for Banyan Tree in Lahaina after deadly wildfire on Maui: Arborist Steve Nimz describes the treatment being given the beloved 150-year-old tree, emblem of its community’s hope of recovery. Maui Now

Meister Eckhart: “Isness is God.”  The Via Positiva, falling in love with life at least three times a day.  Prayer: A Radical Response to Life.  Order of the Sacred Earth: “I promise to be the best lover (mystic) of Mother Earth and the best defender (prophet or warrior) that I can be.”

Maybe we need extinction staring us in the face.  As it is doing. Shouting at us to rediscover life.  

To be continued.

See Matthew Fox, Prayer: A Radical Response to Life (formerly, On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear: Spirituality American Style.)

And Fox, Original Blessing.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner Image: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow.” Poppies growing in the WWI battlefields of Flanders, Belgium, where a million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action. Photo by Tijl Vercaemer from Gent, Flanders, on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree that emergencies and cataclysms can assist us to rediscover life?  Also, can attacks on democracy assist us to rediscover—and rebirth—democracy?

Recommended Reading

Prayer: A Radical Response to Life

How do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? Fox defines prayer as a radical response to life that includes our “Yes” to life (mysticism) and our “No” to forces that combat life (prophecy). How do we define adult prayer? And how—if at all—do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? One of Matthew Fox’s earliest books, originally published under the title On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear: Spirituality American StylePrayer introduces a mystical/prophetic spirituality and a mature conception of how to pray. Called a “classic” when it first appeared, it lays out the difference between the creation spirituality tradition and the fall/redemption tradition that has so dominated Western theology since Augustine. A practical and theoretical book, it lays the groundwork for Fox’s later works. “One of the finest books I have read on contemporary spirituality.” – Rabbi Sholom A. Singer

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.

Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug

In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.”  ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.

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4 thoughts on “Cataclysms & Rediscovering Life, Nature and Creation”

  1. Avatar

    Yes, our beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all living species, including our human species, are in a dangerously existential crisis. Fortunately, more people around the world, especially the young and scientists, are developing this spiritual sensitivity, awareness, and environmental actions around the world personally and together in groups such as the Order of the Sacred Earth. Our actions and prayers of Compassion and Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice must always include our sisters and brothers around the world And our Sacred Mother Earth and all Her creatures & gracious abundance that interdependently sustain Us. We’re All truly sacred parts of our Source~Co-Creators Loving Living ONENESS in the sacred process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  2. Avatar

    A friend sent me this poem, and I knew you would appreciate it:

    I saw a great light come down over London

    By Jay Ramsay (1959 – 2019)

    I saw a great light come down over London,
    And buildings and cars and people were still
    They were held wherever they were under the sky’s
    Clear humming radiance as it descended —
    Everywhere, in shops, behind desks and on trains
    Everything stopped as the stillness came down
    And touched the crown of our heads
    As our eyes closed, and the sky filled us
    And our minds became the sky —
    And everyone, regardless of crime class or creed
    Was touched; as slowly we began to stir
    Out of this penetrated light-filled sleep
    Dizzily as the hand completed its dialing,
    And the train lurched forward
    And I saw faces looking at one another questioning,
    I saw people meeting eye to eye and standing
    Half amazed by each other’s presence
    I saw their mouths silently shaping the word why
    Why didn’t we know this? and yet knowing
    They already knew, and without words
    We all stood searching for the gesture
    That would say it —

    As the lights went green, and we drove on.

  3. Avatar

    Any crisis is an opportunity to choose to transform, to grow, but it also drives many people into desperate fear and rigidity–they will resist change and growth and will do anything to preserve their “way”. Somehow, we must find a way to soften them with peace and love in every way possible. Somehow, we must find ways of reaching out across the divisions, or we are doomed, like species before us.

  4. Avatar

    I agree that cataclysms and other tragedies can awaken Earth loving; but whether it *will* is another matter. The patriarchy has a stranglehold on both people and its own destruction tendencies.

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