“Matthew Fox might well be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America . He has the scholarship, the imagination, the courage, the writing skill to fulfill this role at a time when the more official Christian theological traditions are having difficulty in establishing any vital contact with either the spiritual possibilities of the present or with their own most creative spiritual traditions of the past….He has, it seems, created a new mythic context for leading us out of our contemporary religious and spiritual confusion into a new clarity of mind and peace of soul, by affirming rather than abandoning any of our traditional beliefs.”
author of The Great Work,
The Dream of the Earth and The Universe Story
Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, and 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 has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality, which is rooted in ancient Judeo-Christian teaching, inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions; welcoming of the arts and artists; wisdom centered, prophetic, and committed to eco-justice, social justice and gender justice.
Fox has reinvented forms of education and worship and awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West, revivifying awareness of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas Merton, among other premodern and post-modern spiritual pioneers. He has authored more than 35 books on spirituality and contemporary culture, among them: Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times. His books, celebrated around the world, have been translated into 60 languages.
A New Vision of Pedagogy
Seeking to establish a new pedagogy for learning spirituality melding the ancient Western wisdom tradition with contemporary scientists and modern mystics, Fox founded the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality that operated for seven years at Mundelein College in Chicago and twelve years at Holy Names College in Oakland.
For ten of those years at Holy Names College, Cardinal Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – tried to shut the program down. As chief Inquisitor and head of the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith (called the Office of the Holy Inquisition until 1965), Ratzinger silenced Fox for one year in 1989 and forced him to step down as director. Three years later he expelled Fox from the Order, thus terminating the program at Holy Names College.
Fox went on to establish the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, CA, where it thrived for nine years and closed in 2007. Fox has since taught at Stanford University, Vancouver School of Theology, Association for Transpersonal Psychology, the California Institute of Integral Studies, Schumacher College, the Findhorn Foundation, and the Omega Institute, among other places.
Fox believes that “by reinventing work, education and worship we can bring about a non-violent revolution on our planet” and has committed himself to this vision for many years. His 2006 book, The A.W.E. Project: An Educational Transformation for Post-Modern Times, lays out the elements of an educational revolution for young people that is based on his 40 years of educating adults with an alternative pedagogy based on cosmology, creativity and contemplation. Fox implemented this pedagogy in a project for inner city teenagers in Oakland called YELLAWE: “Youth and Elder Learning Laboratory for Ancestral Wisdom Education,” with the goal of reinventing education from the inner city out. An offshoot from this project has since taken root in Chicago.
Fox is currently collaborating with a group of Creation Spirituality leaders - his former students - to establish the new Fox Institute of Creation Spirituality, offering doctoral, master's, and certificate programs.
A new vision of Ritual
In a conscious effort to reinvigorate Western ritual, Fox deconstructed forms of worship inherited from the modern era (such as sitting in benches and being read to, preached at or reading from books including song books) and reconstructed these forms of worship by going back to the pre-modern practice of dance. The result, called the Cosmic Mass, mixes dance, techno and live music, dj, vj, rap and contemporary art forms with the western liturgical tradition, and continues to be celebrated in many cities across the U.S. The Cosmic Mass was celebrated in Salt Lake City at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Cosmic Mass was celebrated in 2018 at the Washington National Cathedral, and the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto.
More recently, Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco have collaborated to create the Stations of the Cosmic Christ: an updated approach to the traditional Stations of the Cross, replacing the fall-redemption perspective with a cosmology that transcends doctrinal differences.
a new vision in Activism:
The 95 Theses
In 2005, when Cardinal Ratzinger was made pope, Fox went to Martin Luther’s church in Wittenberg, Germany and pounded 95 contemporary theses at the door to call people to a New Reformation. Six years later, after documenting 30 years of Vatican corruption in the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict VI in The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled The Church And How It Can Be Saved, Fox repeated his protest, nailing his 95 Theses outside of the Roman basilica of Cardinal Law, who covered up sexual abuses committed by more than 90 priests in his archdiocese.
Fox has continued to bear witness to the abuses of the Vatican, most recently supporting the Indigenous nations of California in protesting the canonization of conquistador-priest Junipero Serra.
Order of the Sacred Earth
More recently Fox, along with Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Listug, launched a new vision in the Order of the Sacred Earth: both a book and a new spiritual order. The OSE is a community and movement of people of varied belief systems (or non-belief systems) who share one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be."
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 around the world.
He has been interviewed in print and broadcast media including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Yoga Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, New Age Journal, Utne Reader, Spirituality and Health, Tikkun, Science of Mind, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, The Independent (London), The Guardian, YES! Magazine, and Caduceus Journal, as well as The Today Show, Democracy Underground, The Young Turks, the BBC and Brazilian, Canadian and Italian television.
He has been ranked among Watkins' Mind-Body-Spirit Magazine's Top 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2013 (#25), 2014 (#26), 2015 (#14), 2016 (#11), 2017 (#14) and 2018 (#22).