Synopses & Reviews
What Is Creation Spirituality?
This past year a reporter for the "New York Times" interviewed me in a hotel room in New York City. An African-American woman, she began with: "Look, I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and now I live in Manhattan. What does creation Spirituality have to say to me? Is it just about visiting parks and zoos?"
Creation spirituality is as much a city experience as a rural one provided we are willing to look for the source of things and the relationships among them. In this chapter I will elucidate more fully the path of creation spirituality.
What Is Creation?
Creation is all things and us. It is us in relationship with all things. "All our relations," the Lakota people pray whenever they smoke the sacred pipe or enter or leave the sweatlodge. "All our relations" implies all beings, all things, the ones we see and the ones we do not; the whirling galaxies and the wild suns, the black holes and the microorganisms, the trees and thestars, the fish and the whales, the wolves and the porpoises, the flowers and the rocks, the molten lava and the towering snowcapped mountains, the children we give birth to and their children, and theirs, and theirs, and theirs. The unemployed sing e mother and the university student, the campesino and the landowner, the frog in the pond and the snake in the grass, the colors of a bright sunny day and the utter darkness of a rain forest at night, the plumage of sparkling parrots and the beat of an African drum, the kiva of the Hopi and the wonder of Chartres Cathedral, the excitement of New York City and the despair of an overcrowded prison are included as well.
Creation is all space, all time--all things past, present, and future. Among these three ways of conceptualizing time, creation leans the most in the direction of the present, for the most significant of the times is in the Now, the "Eternal Now." By the choices we make now about what we birth, the past presses into the future. Whether the future presents itself as still more beauty or as still more pain depends upon our choices as we respond to our role as co-creators in an ever-unfolding creation. In us the past and present come together to birth a future. As Eckhart puts it:
God is creating the entire universe fully and
totally in this present now.
Everything God created six thousand years ago--
and even previous to that as God made the world--
God creates now all at once.
Everything which God created millions of years ago
and everything which will be created by God
after millions of years--
if the world endures until then--
God is creating all that in the innermost and
deepestrealms of the soul.
Everything of the past and everything of the present
and everything of the future
God creates in the innermost realms of the soul.
Creation, then, at its core, is about relation. It is the spiraling, dancing, crouching, springing, leaping, surprising act ofrelatedness, of communing, of responding, of letting go, ofbeing. Being is about relation. Eckhart says that "relation is theessence of everything that exists" and that "isness is God." Thus all creation is a trace, a footprint, an offspring of the Godhead.Creation is the passing by of divinity in the form of isness. Itis God's shadow in our midst. It is sacred. All our relationshipsare sacred. Native peoples know this. Jesus taught it. ("I am thevine, you are the branches." "My father and I are one.") Christians and other believers must learn anew the sacredness of creation. Without this, the "first article of faith," we are lost. Our children will be adrift and without a future. Despair rules and any talk of the "reign of God" lacks energy and truth.
Creation is, in many respects, what our species makes of it here on earth. How foolish of divinity to give us such divine and demonic power. What are we doing with it? Are we prepared spiritually for this awesome task of justice making; of what science terms "homeostasis"--the quest for balance built into all things; of relating all things at the level of justice and not of power-over; of winners vs. losers? Have we truly outgrown war--war against ourselves, our bodies, our youth, our soil, our trees, ourselves? Humans are quite capable of sinning against creation, of missing the mark of our purpose in being on this planet and in this universe. Inthis sense, sin is a turning away from creation and its author, the divine one who dwells in all things. Sometimes we sin by omission--by not realizing or admitting sins against the biosphere (rightly called ecocide) or against earth species (biocide) or against the soil (geocide). Yet these are truly "mortal" sins, for they will prove to be deadly for generations yet to come.
Creation is the something new that happens when our first child is born; it is the resurrection we experience when we bottom out from pain and despair and experience being alive; it is the peace that passes all understanding when a good person dies well; it is the arousal of community spirit that arrives when fear is faced down by solidarity and when powerful prayer and hope become rooted in us again.
From Matthew Fox, the popular and controversial author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ,
a prophetic manifesto for the preservation of the planet.
For those new to the works of Matthew Fox, and for those eager to learn his thoughts after his Vatican-ordered public silence, comes this introduction to creation spirituality--Fox's framework for a far-reaching spirituality of the Americas.
Passionate and provocative, Fox uncovers the ancient tradition of a creation-centered spirituality that melds Christian mysticism with the contemporary struggle for social justice, feminism, and environmentalism.
Basic to Fox's notion of creation spirituality is the gift of awe--a mystical response to creation and the first step toward transformation. Awe prompts indignation at the exploitation and destruction of the earth's people and resources. Awe leads to action.
Showing how we can learn from each other, Fox's spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in both North and South America. 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.
The controversial author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ ends a year of silence with a prophetic manifesto for the preservation of the planet and a bold presentation of awe-inspired spirituality. Fox addresses issues of worldwide significance and shows how people of all nations can learn from each other and unite in reverence for our planet and its people.
About the Author
Matthew Fox (left) is a priest and director of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California. Silenced by the Vatican in 1989, he was formally dismissed by the Dominican order in the spring of 1993 after a five-year struggle over his radical views. Fox is the author of many books, including The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Creation Spirituality, and Sheer Joy.