True Confessions: How Matt Fox Lived Into Creation Spirituality

True Confessions: How Matt Fox Lived Into Creation Spirituality

Describing Creation Spirituality is not an easy thing. If I give too simple an explanation, people aren’t able to sense the passion and creative energy it unleashes. If I lay out the full expanse of it – original blessing, the Cosmic Christ, panentheism, deep ecumenism, multi-sensory worship, the re-invention of work, the re-invention of education, justice as compassion, everyone a mystic, a prophet, an artist, a priest… people’s eyes glaze over trying to take it all in.

Lately, I just say, “Have you heard about Matthew Fox?” Then the light of recognition comes to their eyes as they tell me which of Fox’s 32 books they have read and how radically it changed their lives. Original Blessing. On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear, One River Many Wells, or Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest.

I have just put down Fox’s revised and updated Confessions and I feel deeply inspired by how his personal story has shaped his work. His drive for authenticity in thought and action has revived and expanded a spirituality that must be lived to be understood. As he moved from childhood to monastery, to his studies at the Institut Catholique de Paris, to his innovative teaching in Chicago and his Institute of Culture and Creativity at Holy Names University, Fox shows us how his thought field developed not only out of his incredible intellect, but also out of his relationships and life experiences.

When Fox was expelled from the Catholic Church in March 1993, the Catholic Church lost one it’s brightest minds and devoted sons. He opened wrote books that changed lives, started two schools, gathered up thousands in the wake of his integrative, multi- sensory mysticism and stimulated countless conversations about God among the young and spiritually inquisitive. The first edition of Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest ended with his ordination in the Episcopal Church.

That intensity of rejection, expulsion and loss can divert one’s energies, rattle one’s courage, and deflate the spirit. But Matthew Fox responded by founding the University of Creation Spirituality with it’s whole body, multi-faith pedagogy, designed so that we could have an “immediate contact with God and one other.” Hundreds came to learn from him and earn an MA or DMin in Creation Spirituality. (I was among them.) He continued his speaking engagements, empowered the young, advocated for the marginalized, wrote more books, and travelled to the Nine O’clock Mass in Sheffield England which launched his Techno Cosmic Mass in Oakland, CA.

When you read Confessions, you will see that Fox’s creative response to resistance embodied the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality: Wonder and insight gave way to an opposing darkness. Co-creativity forms within the darkness and emerges as a force for transformation. Each time Matthew gained new insight and incorporated it into his work, he met resistance that threatened to take it all down. Again and again he has emerged out of the fray with more insight, more projects, and more ways for us to live more authentic lives.

I treasure everything Matthew Fox has taught me. With this reading of Confessions, I realize that his true lesson for us is how he became a force of creation himself: awe and wonder, loss and pain, co-creating with divine energies, transforming the world. Wow. I am awed by Fox’s energy, his resilience, his limitless creativity, his tenacity, his intellect, his vision, his clarity, and his irresistible drive towards the authentic. Confessions is a spiritual adventure book. A mystery book. A how-to book for rainmakers and activists.

Fox is courageous in the face of adversity, a spiritual warrior with wounds to prove it. He is St. George slaying the dragon. He is Braveheart leading his people into freedom. He is Lancelot seeking the Holy Grail. He is Indiana Jones who, in the midst of sword fights, galloping horses
and explosions, slides behind a sand dune with his young protégé who asks him, “So, what are we going to do next?” Indiana responds, “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go along.”

Just like the creator of the universe, Matt Fox has been making it up as he went along. A Creation-centered Spirituality is a lived spirituality, constantly being made and re-made. Once you are living it, it is very difficult to describe. It’s the way of the universe and Matthew Fox has shown us how to pluck that living evolving essence out of the roiling cosmos and live it in our own day and time.

Rev. Gail Sofia Ransom, DMin.
December 1, 2015

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