Matthew Fox and Voices of Creation Spirituality
Creation Spirituality is an ancient tradition named and articulated most emphatically, beginning in the 1970’s, by spiritual theologian Matthew Fox.
Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest, and an activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and the father of the contemporary Creation Spirituality movement.
As a spiritual theologian, he has written 30 books that have been translated into 48 languages. Among them are Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, The Reinvention of Work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, and Christian Mystics.
Matthew Fox has dedicated his life to renewing the ancient mystical tradition of Creation Spirituality that was named for him by his mentor, the late Father Marie Dominic Chenu, o.p., in his studies in Paris. Fox’s effort to reawaken the West to its own mystical tradition has included revivifying awareness of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas and the Cosmic Christ tradition.
Fox believes that “by reinventing work, education and worship we can bring about a non-violent revolution on our planet” He created the Techno-Cosmic Mass that mixes dance, techno and live music, dj, vj, rap, and contemporary art forms with the western liturgical tradition. He founded the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality in Chicago, IL, and The University of Creation Spirituality, in Oakland, CA. He has designed an educational program for young people that is based on his 40years of experience of educating adults with an alternative pedagogy based on cosmology, creativity and contemplation. The goal was “to reinvent education from the inner city out.”
The principles of Creation Spirituality were developed as Fox further explored and articulated the CS tradition. “As a movement, Creation Spirituality becomes an amazing gathering place, a kind of watering hole for persons whose passions have been touched by the issues of our day – deep ecologists, ecumenists, artists, native peoples, justice activists, feminists, male liberationists, gay and lesbian peoples, animal liberationists, scientists seeking to reconnect science and wisdom, people of prophetic faith traditions – all these find in the Creation Spirituality movement a common language and a common ground on which to stand.”
Fox is a recipient of the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients being the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cardenal and Rosa Parks); the Ghandi King Ikeda Award; the Tikkun National Ethics Award; and other awards. His work has been honored by theologians, artists, healers and thought leaders, as well as by many of his students
Click HERE to learn more about the voices of Creation Spirituality that have emerged over history. Click HERE to visit the website of Rev. Matthew Fox. http://matthewfox.org/
Watch Dr. Fox speak on Creation Spirituality HERE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrXNv5k9uFI
Quotes from Matthew Fox
“Humor and paradox are often the only ways to respond to life’s sorrow with grace.”
“What do we do with chaos?
Creativity has an answer. We are told by those who have studied the processes of nature that creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and indeed to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering. Artists wrestle with chaos, take it apart, deconstruct and reconstruct from it. Accept the challenge to convert chaos into some kind of order, respecting the timing of it all, not pushing beyond what is possible—combining holy patience with holy impatience–that is the role of the artist. It is each of our roles as we launch the twenty-first century because we are all called to be artists in our own way. We were all artists as children. We need to study the chaos around us in order to turn it into something beautiful. Something sustainable. Something that remains”.”
“Creation spirituality is a lay spirituality because it cares profoundly about work, which is, after all, what most adults do with their lives. It cares about pleasure and its wise and celebrative possibilities. It cares about sexuality and sensuality. It cares about nature, science, economics, and politics, that is, about people being in the world as agents of transformation. It cares that all of nature and history are sources of revelation.
We are not addicts. “I propose that most addictions come from our surrendering our real powers, that is, our powers of creativity.” We are not passive couch potatoes either. “It is not the essence of humans to be passive. We are players. We are actors on many stages…. We are curious, we are yearning to wonder, we are longing to be amazed… to be excited, to be enthusiastic, to be expressive. In short to be alive.” We are also not cogs in a machine. To be so would be to give up our personal freedoms so as to not upset The Machine, whatever that machine is. Creativity keeps us creating the life we wish to live and advancing humanity’s purpose as well.”
“The system is not working. That is how a paradigm shift begins: the established way of seeing the world no longer functions.”
“Where does creativity come from?
Creativity comes from the Universe itself.
“There is music and poetry in the Universe itself — surely we hear it on planet earth.” And Creativity comes from our joys and sorrows, our deep-hearted experiences. It also comes “from and in the heart of God. All our spiritual traditions the world over agree that creativity follows through the human heart and that it flows from the Divine Heart.”
Creativity is seen as a spiritual, inwardly-driven activity, directly influenced by a Higher Power, or God. That is the ultimate in inspiration for me: to know I have “permission” to be creative and to be a creator too.”
“…no one believed in original sin until Augustine. Original sin is an idea that Augustine developed late in his life and, to his credit, it was not all that significant in his theology either. Sad to say, however, original sin grew to become the starting point for Western religion’s flight from nature, creation, and the God of creation.”
“Political movements for justice are part of the fuller development of the cosmos, and nature is the matrix in which humans come to their self-awareness of their power to transform. Liberation movements are a fuller development of the cosmos’s sense of harmony, balance, justice, and celebration. This is why true spiritual liberation demands rituals of cosmic celebrating and healing, which will in turn culminate in personal transformation and liberation.”
To connect with the great river we all need a path, but when you get down there there’s only one river.
Voices of Creation Spirituality
Much of what we are taught today interprets scholarship and science through a story that tells us that life is random and meaningless, the universe is a dead thing, and that humans may be alone in the whole universe in having intelligence. But there have always been those who take the same data and filter it through a lens, which sees the wonder of it all and of human existence.
The following are just a few examples creation spirituality voices. In truth, they have always been with us, and are all around us now. All we have to do is start listening.
Every creature is the word of God and is a book about God. -Meister Eckhart
If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice. -Meister Edkhart
most royal greening verdancy,
rooted in the sun,
you shine with radiant light.
–Hildegard von Bingen
Holy persons draw to themselves all that is earthly…
The earth is at the same time mother,
She is mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
She is the mother of all,
For contained in her
Are the seeds of all – Hildegard of Bingen
There is more reality and sacredness in a blade of grass than in all of our thoughts and ideas about reality. When we perceive from an undivided consciousness, we will find the sacred in every expression of life. We will find it in our teacup, in the fall breeze, in the brushing of our teeth, in each and every moment of living and dying. – Adyashanti
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
-St. Francis of Assisi
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi
“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ― Rumi
Evolution can thus be seen as an improvisational dance, keeping the steps that work and changing those that don’t. God-as-Cosmic-Consciousness becomes Cosmic Consciousness transmuting into material universes. Perhaps we could say that in this process even God learns to know the nature of Self by exploring all possible forms and states of being and reflecting on those “selves,” just as we, God’s human reflections, learn to do. – Elisabet Sahtouris
Do not distain your body,
For the soul is just as safe in its body
As in the Kingdom of Heaven. – Mechtild de Magdeburg
The day of my spiritual awakening
Was the day I saw – and knew I saw – all things in God
And God in all things. -Mechtild de Magdeburg
Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.” — Teillard de Chardin
“It is almost a commonplace today to find people who, quite naturally and unaffectedly, live in the explicit consciousness of being an atom or a citizen of the universe. This collective awakening must inevitably have a profound religions reaction on the mass of mankind—either to cast down or to exalt.” –Teilhard
“The earth does not belong to people; people belong to the earth….This earth is precious to the Creator and to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon its Creator….Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red people. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. –Chief Seattle
There is simply nothing in our cultural history that adequately prepares us for the evolutionary challenges we now face, challenges that will demand more robust and sophisticated answers to the question of how human beings are actually related to the natural world out of which we have emerged – Carter Phipps
“The universe is the primary revelation of the divine, the primary scripture, the primary locus of divine-human communion.” – Thomas Berry
“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.” – Thomas Berry
“…everything that exists came from a common origin. The material of your body and the material of my body are intrinsically related because they emerged from and are caught up in a single energetic event. Our ancestry stretches back through the life forms and into the stars, back to the beginning of the primeval fireball. This universe is a single multiform energetic of matter, mind, intelligence and life.” — Dr. Brian Swimme
“Each individual person has the power of participating in the transformation of the whole Earth….The task of maturing into a mature human being requires tremendous power. It is a matter of authenticity. What powers enable you to achieve your own authenticity as a member of this vast adventure? What powers enable an oak tree to achieve its own authentic function in the living world? What powers enable a star to integrate its processes and initiate its vital creativity?” — Dr. Brian Swimme
Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities. – Pope Francis
All theological “isms” (e.g., theism, deism, pantheism, atheism) came into being long before we had an evolutionary understanding of emergence. Accordingly, all such concepts are outdated and unnecessarily divisive if they are not redefined and reinterpreted in an evolutionary context. – Michael Dowd
The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the Universe, to match your nature with nature. –Joseph Campbell
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.” –William Blake
“One thing connects to another, and another, and another. Sometimes the connections are clear; sometimes they aren’t. But if we open our eyes to how all things interact and how those interactions change other things—which then interact—we begin to see the world differently. We begin to focus on interconnectedness—of species, people, oceans, even of countries—rather than on separate elements.” –Linda Booth Sweeney, Connected Wisdom
“The most important function of art and science is to awaken the cosmic religious feeling and keep it alive.” –Albert Einstein
To live more simply is to unburden our lives – to live more lightly, cleanly, aerodynamically. It is to establish a more direct, unpretentious and unencumbered relationship with all aspects of our lives: the things that we consume, the work that we do, our relationships with others, our connections with nature and the cosmos, and more. – Duane Elgin
So, the path of the co-creator is to be awakened spiritually within, which then turns into your own deeper life purpose, which then makes you want to reach out and touch others in a way that expresses self and really evolves our communities and our world. Certainly, we can’t do that unless we activate ourselves first. That’s why, for me, emergence is the shift from ego to essence. That is so important. – Barbara Marx Hubbard
There is something else that is trying to come through – that lure of becoming – and it does come from the realm of spirit, it does come from the quantum universe, it does come from the great spark that is the threshold of time and history trying to emerge and electrify us. – Jean Houston
“God is love And anyone who lives in love lives in god, and God in her.”
–1 John 4:16
“When God set the heavens in place, I was present,
when God drew a ring on the surface of the deep,
when God fixed the clouds above,
when God fixed fast the wells of the deep,
when God assigned the sea its limits—
when God established the foundations of the earth,
I was by God’s side, a master craftswoman,
Delighting God day after day,
Ever at play by God’s side,
At play everywhere in God’s domain,
Delighting to be with the children of humanity.” — The Goddess Sophia, Proverbs 8:27-31
“All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble—-They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This “outgrowing’ proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge. –Carl Jung
The new physics provides a modern version of ancient spirituality. In a universe made out of energy, everything is entangled; everything is one. – Bruce Lipton
“the force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age;…
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood.
Tao is beyond words
And Beyond things.
It is not expressed
Either in word or in silence.
Where there is no longer word or silence
Tao is apprehended. –a Tao text.
“I laugh when I hear the fish in the water is thirsty. –Kabir
“In music, in the earth, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness….I see what people call God in all these things.” –Pablo Casals
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” _ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Many dedicated practitioners—from both traditional and non-traditional backgrounds—are awakening into a new maturity, intelligence, depth, wholeness, and purpose in their spiritual lives. An “integral” wave of spiritual practice is now uniting the eternal truths of the ancient traditions with the realization that evolution is happening right now—in and through us—and thus spirituality itself is evolving too. – Terry Patten
In truth, the heart must crack open if the soul is to become free. And you simply cannot think your way into that. – Terry Patten
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. –Mary Oliver
“In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess—we connect with Her; through the moon, the stars the ocean, the earth, through trees, animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all. She is the full circle: earth, air fire, water, and essence—body, mind, spirit, emotions, change.” –Starhawk
“the only sin in the ultimate analysis, is the sin of separateness, or attvada. According to a Jain axiom, he who conquers this sin conquers all others.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“The dichotomy between the spiritual and the political is false, resulting from an incomplete attention to our erotic knowledge. For the bridge which connects them is formed by the erotic….the passions of love in its deepest meanings.” –Audre Lorde
“There is a grain of the prophet in the recesses of every human existence.” –Rabbi Heschel
At the heart of every human being is a spark of that initial impulse that has been driving the whole event. And, if we can align ourselves with it, ground ourselves in it, it will give us all the inspiration, strength and perspective we need to do its bidding. Remember where we came from. You see, we are, after all, the eyes and hearts of the Big Bang. We were there before it all began. And the creative evolutionary dynamics that have given birth to this entire universe in all its glory and diversity are now alive in us. And, in a very real sense, they are only now attaining the peak of their power. Because, in us, these powers now have attained consciousness. They can be directed. – Craig Hamilton
Life is a wave of creative consciousness rippling through space and time that we have the honor of aesthetically surfing. – Alex Grey
“Many are called
but most are frozen
in corporate or
these are the stalled
who choose not to be chosen
except to be bought and sold.” –Lee Carroll Pieper
“Any religion which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that can scar the soul, is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried. –Martin Luther King, JR.
“Cultures come—and go. And when a society is in clash with the universe, once a society transgresses the laws of nature, it loses its survival value. So as soon as we leave the basis of nature—the universe and its laws–…we lose the possibility of existence.” –Fritz Perls