Is “Original Blessing” Part of the Cure to Today’s Fascism? 

Why the rising tide of fascism today?  Why the appeal of authoritarianism, strong man politics, “Christian” white nationalism, etc. at this time in history? 

Rebel HQ‘s commentator Mondale Robinson addresses the distance between “Christian Nationalist” ideology and biblical Christian teachings.

I would like to explore that pressing question in the next several Daily Meditations.  I think a big part of the answer relates directly to my book on Original Blessing.

Why do I say that? 

Psychologist Erich Fromm says the key to fascism is self-hatred. I think self-hatred is the key to a lot of addictions born of abuse and trauma that come our way when we are vulnerable. 

Donald Trump’s self-hatred is apparent daily in the form of projection onto others, name-calling, and, as his niece Mary Trump has made clear, his abuse at his father’s hands (his father was a Ku Klux Klan member among other things) growing up.  I think he appeals to others whose abuse has been unattended.  Just this weekend he gave a speech endorsing Hannibal Lecter!   

In this recent conversation with Mark Matousek, Matthew Fox describes how, with the advent of the Black Plague, a sense of the divine in nature was replaced by an obsession with sin and redemption. The Seekers Forum

An ideology of original sin, if it is taken literally, feeds self-hatred.   Offered as a generic cause of evil in us, one can imagine anything one wants about its source.  Because one is black?  Or gay?  Or female?  Fill in the blank.  It is a dangerous ideology that does not come from Jesus.

I know one psychologist, who after finishing our graduate program in creation spirituality, developed the following practice dealing with her patients: At the end of the first session with a client, she would give them my book Original Bessing as they left her office.  Ninety percent never came back! 

She emphasized that it was not because they were turned off by the book, but because the book healed them.  Why?  She found that bad religion was at the basis of “90%” of peoples’ fears and neuroses.

“Original Blessing: The Golden Tent.” Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias.

Do not tell me—and do not tell my nieces and nephews (or children and grandchildren and great grandchildren if I had them) that I or they are born in original sin.  It is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and his entire Jewish lineage. 

Teach them instead how they are both original and a blessing.  Life is bringing both alive. 

Only after my book came out, did I discover Aquinas talking about “original goodness” and “original freshness” and Hildegard of Bingen writing and painting “original wisdom.”  Both are now saints and doctors of the church.   

To be continued.


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See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing.

And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, p. 100.

And Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 76-82.

Banner Image: “Sunset Valley of Golden Light, Hřensko, Czechia” Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash


Queries for Contemplation

Do you see an understanding of Original Blessing as displacing self-hatred which Fromm names as the basis of fascism?  Do you agree with him that fascism is born of self-hatred?


Recommended Reading

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

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen

An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition.  At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them.
“If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.”  – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.


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4 thoughts on “Is “Original Blessing” Part of the Cure to Today’s Fascism? ”

  1. Avatar

    “The answer my friend is not found in anyone’s book. The shapeless, the formless, the silent one cloaked in Mystery, is out there” — BB.

    “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan 1962. — [have times ever really changed?]

    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before you call him a man?
    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?
    Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
    Before they’re forever banned?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind

    Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist
    Before it is washed to the sea?
    And how many years can some people exist
    Before they’re allowed to be free?
    Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
    And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind

    Yes, and how many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    And how many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
    That too many people have died?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind

  2. Avatar

    Yes! Yes! I loved the animated and comprehensive enclosed video interview of Matthew by
    ‘The Seekers Forum’ host. Matthew covered a lot of areas of Creation Spirituality, and how its
    values and spirituality are essential in healing and rebalancing the destructive influences of an unhealthy patriarchy/masculine in our personal and societal/institutional lives in history and our modern lives. The Spirit of the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine need to be balanced and integrated in our personal and human spiritual journeys with one another to start healing and saving our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth, sustainer of All Life on our planet, including our own human species… May the Divine Flow of Loving Healing Diverse ONENESS continue growing in Our Hearts/Souls in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  3. Avatar

    I first read “Original Blessing” years ago and return to it from time to time because it is so basic to an understanding of God and God’s desire for us, so far as human understanding can reach the ineffable and transcendent. It starts from love, not fear. The perversion to starting from sin does cause self-hatred, I believe, along with all the cultural pressures to succeed, compete, etc. The self-hatred gets projected on whatever/whomever seems an easy target. But this is such a hidden thing, so many who spew scorn and hatred have no insight whatsoever into themselves, nor any wish to look inside. That is the problem, I think, and the only way of dealing is not argument, but love. As the Rev. Dr. Jacqi Lewis says, we must love the hell out of them. That does not mean to stop speaking the truth but also to have compassion–forgive them for they know not what they do.

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