|A Conversation with Matthew Fox
Father Matthew Fox is a Dominican Priest with a progressive world view dubbed "Creation Spirituality." Creation Spirituality strives to incorporate the views of artists and native peoples, social transformers and scientists, psychologists, ecologists, and seekers of all religious backgrounds, to discover a new, relevant cosmology. The Vatican found Father Fox's views so unorthodox that they silenced him for one year. Fox has now resumed speaking in a loud, clear voice. He has coauthored many books, including Creation Spirituality, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, and most recently, Original Blessing. From our conversation published in the July-September 1992 edition of OPEN EXCHANGE MAGAZINE:
OPEN EXCHANGE: How do you define "Creation Spirituality"?
Matthew Fox: It's a way of responding to life and death. It's a Christian tradition that includes women's religions, native religions, the universe, the whole idea of Earth as blessing. We're demonstrating that this is also in our Western religious tradition. The creation mysticsof whom Jesus was oneEckhart, Hildegard, Aquinasthrough the Middle Ages had this sense of cosmology and the blessedness of Earth. Beginning this way is less anthropocentric than the usual religion you hear from Westerners About "Am I Saved?" or about sin and salvation. Therefore it's more appropriate for our times.
OE: Is there the concept of Original Sin in Creation Spirituality?
Fox: We don't deny original sin, but my point is that it should not be ernphasized. Sin is anthropocentric, because humans invented sin. The whole idea that we do come into the world as blessingsall creatures doas a unique expression of the image of God-and this has to be paid attention to.
OE: Does that remove a great measure of guilt and shame as it relates to religion?
Fox: I think so. It displaces it with some sense of self-esteem, Esteem is very important for all of us to grow up with.
OE: Creation Spirituality seems to be inclusive rather than exclusive. You don't seem to be saying that one religious path is superior.
Fox: That's true. The entire wisdom tradition is universalist or inclusive. Wisdom is wisdom, and it doesn't have a particular label on it. Once we start relating to the sacredness of Creation, it is no longer mere sectarian, and again, anthropocentric, division-making.
OE: Then why is important for you to remain a Catholic?
Fox: I think that traditionsrootsare very useful and important. You want to try to renew your own tradition. I use the example of [civil rights activist] Rosa Parks. She didn't leave the bus voluntarily, and if she had, nothing would have changed. Why should I leave the Church voluntarily? This is our tradition, and we've got to change it.
OE: Do you recognize the divinity of Jesus?
Fox: I think that Jesus came to teach us of the divinity in all things and in all people. This is an ancient tradition. Aquinas said that "God became a human being in order that human beings may become god." That doesn't mean that we become the God. It means we become in touch with our own divinity. The ultimate divine attribute is compassion.....
Within a year or so after this interview Matthew Fox left the Catholic church in order to practice Creation Spirituality more freely.
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