creation spirituality

Earth Day, 2018: Some Fitting Responses and Remembrances


There are many deep ways to bear witness to Earth Day, 2018.  Surely to critique the attacks being done on Earth by our current political majority, whether withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, living and peaching denial of humanity’s abuse of the Earth, wallowing in denial and anthropocentrism and in what Pope Francis rightly calls our “narcissism” as a species—to organize and resist and prepare for upcoming elections where climate deniers and those making money off of the continued rape of mother earth can be defeated—all this is good and necessary response. 

I received an invitation to resist the current retrograde EPA that read like this: “This Earth Day, I’m thinking about half a billion dollars.  That’s how much oil companies have spent on elections and lobbying since 2015. It’s no wonder we haven’t seen Congress take action on climate change.”   To run for office and/or to support those who do and who include the Earth in their political awareness is a fitting way to remember Earth Day also.  To work to reverse Citizens United and therefore to return our disappearing democracy to a government of the people, by the people and for the people is another solid contribution.

Still another way is to read and study Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” which even scientists are praising for its breadth and depth.  Or to read commentaries on it such as my articles to be found on my web site,  Still another way is to read up about the Order of the Sacred Earth that was launched in a quiet way on Solstice, 2017, and will receive a fuller announcement in July, 2018, when the book appears in a public fashion.  Join the Order if your conscience so calls you and spread the news.

But another way to respect Earth Day is to look back at the violent and tragic history of those first Americans for whom Earth was reverenced and respected and holy.  As Thomas Berry puts it in his Forward to a collection of the late Catholic monk Thomas Merton’s meditations on nature, When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature,

An absence of a sense of the sacred is the basic flaw in many of our efforts at ecologically or environmentally adjusting our human presence to the natural world.  It has been said, ‘We will not save what we do not love.’  It is also true that we will neither love nor save what we do not experience as sacred.”[1] 

The Earth is sacred and the original peoples knew that.  It “invades” our very souls as Berry comments. The indigenous peoples loved the earth and respected it.  They knew its sacredness.  Therefore they are our primary teachers on this Earth Day.  The truth of their treatment by state and federal governments must not be swept under the rug or covered up with appeals to American superiority.  The truth needs to be told and meditated on and discussed and debated and acted on.

In memory and honor of this more ancient religious consciousness, two films have recently emerged, each only about thirty minutes long, that commemorate and tell the truth of the Indians of California and what they endured at the hands of the dominant and domineering culture.  To watch these films and to respond to them, to pray them, to discuss them, is, it seems to me, one of the most profound ways to educate ourselves about Earth Day and its’ deepest meanings.  It is to acknowledge the darkness and the pain and suffering that history teaches us.  It is to enter into the shadow of our culture around the deepest issues of Earth Day.  We must acknowledge the past in order to move beyond the wounds and to cease repeating the past.  These films help us do that.  They are not easy to watch.  But healing is never easy.

It is important that these films get the circulation they deserve—in our schools, our churches, our mosques, on our reservations and as an integral part of our political parties and decision-makers.

Following are my comments on these two films.  I strongly recommend one watch them as a lectio divina practice—read them like you would the Bible or any other sacred literature.  For they are part of the revelation that Earth is speaking to us today—they tell of the pain of the human soul when Earth peoples and their religions are abused.  They are truth-telling stories that push back against the heinous effort to canonize a brutalizer of the California indigenous populations.  Watch them; pray them; discuss them; ask Spirit what your proper response might be to the truths they lay bare.  This too is revelation; this too is prophetic teaching.

Film 1: Telling the Truth about California Missions

All education, all learning, is a wrestling to know the truth.  Healing only happens when the truth is told--only the truth will make us free.  In this video the truth of the California missions is put forward starkly and directly--the missions were essentially death camps and Serra was a sadomasochist.  The cultural and religious lies that have covered up this truth for far too long (including the sick idea that Serra is a saint) are pierced.  One hopes an awakening might happen and that a light is breaking through at last!

Film 2: Tears of our Ancestors: Healing from Historical Trauma

The suffering of the indigenous peoples can be a starting point, an invitation, for authentic humanity and religion to emerge.  How to approach the trauma of indigenous genocide?  How to let trauma open our collective hearts rendered cold by indifference and ignorance and cultural and religious lies?  How to bring healing to the fore? 

This moving film addresses these realities by taking us into the darkness of broken hearts and ancient wounds and efforts to heal so perverse a history.  It challenges our humanity to come alive. It gifts us with a powerful and needed exercise in truth telling that leads to making whole.  Let the confession for past oppressions begin so that healing can arrive!

Following is information for finding these important films:

Telling the Truth About California Missions (high school/college version):  password: hoax

Tears of our Ancestors: Healing from Historical Trauma:  password: soulwound


[1] Cited in Kathleen Deignan, ed., When the Trees Say Nothing: Thomas Merton’s Writings on Nature (Notre Dame, In: Sorin Books, 2003), 18.

Guest Post: Cherished Childhood Memories of Martyr Dorothy Stang

My friend David Stang shares cherished childhood memories of his sister Dorothy Stang,  "Angel of the Amazon" who was murdered in 2005 for standing up to the rapacious landlords of the Brazilian Amazon, She was a graduate of the University of Creation Spirituality; she is now being considered for sainthood as a martyr and model of sanctity.

Early Family Experiences of Dorothy Stang and Creation Spirituality


By David Stang

The noise that shook the house was a unusual summer  thunderstorm in Dayton Ohio. The lightning flashed across the afternoon sky, bright  and pervasive. Then came the loud thunder that shook the old one hundred year home.

The big wooden house shook to its foundations. We could now see the  vibrant maple trees outside due to the enormous lightning. The trees were bright and green, with their big maple leaves waving with the winds. The flashing, lightning enhanced the visual effects of the trees. The outside rain quite visible. Again and again, the house shook.

We young ones could not deny the power of nature around us and it affected our very breathing and emotions as we huddled inside the house. The storm, lightning, rain, lasted for hours. We knew to the depth of our being who was in charge of our environment. It was not us.

As the time moved on we soon began to see candles being  lit around the house, especially by the Virgin statues that Mom so loved. After the candles were lit by our Mom we saw her lay on the floor with her arms out and breathing slowly and at peace. We too felt the power of peace with our Mom’s presence.

During that period of time, we wondered how to rate what was most important, the candles, the statues, the thunderstorm, lightning, or the shaking of the house, or Mom. We could not deny the power of the shaking of the house, or the noise, or the pounding of the rain on the roof.  We could definitely feel the incredible power of nature. This power we never forgot as it entered deeper and deeper into our consciousness.

We had heard enough stories about the Irish goblins and faeries from our Mom to know that they existed, so we always wondered if that also we could add to the candles and the statues that  fit in to Mom’s  life,  and was this a different way of feeling and knowing about life. Such thoughts were never taught in school or in our catholic catechism.  

Whatever, Mom lying on the floor with her arms out, breathing peacefully had its own effect on us. After all there we were seven of us, our two older brother were no longer in the house, who were protected by Mom during this extravaganza of nature.

We however, also began to trust Nature as when the storm was over and we went outside, we could smell the energy of the incredible air, see the fresh energized ground, the new power of the trees, and our garden looking fresh and alive. The vegetables in the garden seemed empowered, enlivened by the incredible event of nature and the energized water.

The thunderstorm did overwhelm us for those past couple of  hours but our house was still standing, even though during these storms we could hear the fire trucks in the distance and hear about this or that house, or this or that garage had burned down.  We were however safe, secure and ready for the next storm and candles and Mom lying on the floor. We were appreciative of the food growing in our garden.

We young ones not only lived to even enjoy and feel the energy of the storms but were pushed outside to be with all the wonder and awe that existed outside. We were outside a lot.  We at young ages, jumped on the back of Mummas Farm trucks at 7AM to ride to the farms to pick berries, weed the land, and make a dime to help support each other during the depression. We knew what a sunburn was and suntans. We knew how to protect our backs, protect each other from strangers and behave.

We all had nice tans and good appetites even though the strawberries at Mummas were excellent, with no pesticides, we knew we needed more than fruit, though at autumn time the apples, apple juice was a taste we never forgot. Arriving back home from Mummas, we would go to our own garden to weed it and eat the green onions, carrots, radishes, green beans  and we even had a pear tree and walnut tree.

Mom would be inside preparing supper for seven of us and of course she and Dad were organic farmers (even though in those days was there any other way to farm?) and the food was healthy and none of us had health problems, such as cancer or muscle or other health issues that existed at the time. We did know that there was the existence of city people but felt excluded as we were different, with our hand me down clothes, shoes, and interests.

 Dad was a scientist who worked at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Such a job and his skills kept us from starvation and living on the streets. He must have been good because he was never fired, even though he had the reputation to speak out strongly for his belief in the protection of Nature and against the chemicals that were beginning to appear in our foods.

Dad was a chemical engineer who believed in the organic route and regulating the chemicals that were just being invented. He took on the leadership of Montsanto that was just beginning to develop its corporation in St. Louis and Dayton Ohio. In fact he was even offered a job with Monsanto, as one of the leaders was a Catholic graduate from the same school.  

Dad would often take us on walks and educate us about what mushrooms we could or could not eat, where to find them and also about the animal kingdom that existed in our area which area was called Miami Valley. I only learned later in life that my twin brother and I were born during the time of the enormous floods in Dayton that almost destroyed the city, a city which was thriving at the time with many engineers, scientists, and inventors.

The Wright Brothers had their bicycle shop in Dayton and of course National Cash Register, General Electric, Frigidaire, and the Big Wright Patterson Air Force Base was thriving in Dayton.  A side story for those who remember, that a UFO landed in New Mexico in the 40’s. It was announced even on the radio which we all heard, and the alien bodies were sent to Wright Patterson where our Dad worked in the Analytical Laboratory where the bodies were supposedly sent.  Oh, the memories and stories of our youth.

How can one forget Winter. We did not have double paned windows or insulation in our walls. We did have heavy blankets and heavy clothes. We slept well under those wool blankets and I even remember snow on our faces one night because, of course my twin brother broke the window near our bed and Dad would not fix it immediately, perhaps to teach us a lesson.  

Mom was a sharp buyer when it came to good clothing for winter. I do not remember any of us ever having frost bite. But we loved winter and we did not need to be told to go outside. You can imagine if we preferred to stay inside how we would have driven each other crazy.

We all had hand me down ice skates, well worn skiis, though the hills were small and so we rarely used them. More importantly we had the old sleds with metal runners that could hold four or five of us and lots of children around the neighborhood and a couple good hills. We did not suffer from not having other kids to play with.

Not too far away, maybe two miles was the Miami River. During the forties the weather was colder and the river often froze over. Sometimes we could even ice skate all the way down from our house to the river. We became good ice skaters and knew how to judge the safety of the ice. We can still remember skating on black ice as it went up and down as you skated on it. Even though periodically we would hear of someone drowning in the river, this never happened to any of us as we were good judges of ice. 

At night the people who lived near the river would put on their back porch lights for us to see and even make us hot chocolate. Feeling the warm chocolate in our tummies, and the snow on our faces and the blades on the ice, for us this was heaven. I could be having forgetfulness, but I do not remember any of us complaining about the cold or not wanting to be outside. Life was full of awe and wonder for us as only children can feel such wonder.

Summer was just as wonder filled season as winter. Besides, working on the fruit farm, we were known as the Stang Gang and we challenged all the neighbors in football, baseball, and basketball.

The best players in our family of course were the girls, especially Dorothy and Norma. When the teams were chosen, Dorothy and Norma were the ones that chose the teams. The boys in the neighborhood highly respected these two girls. Also, Tom and I never had to worry about any bullies in the neighborhood hurting us.

One time as we were coming home from school a couple boys challenged Tom and I. Oh, what a mistake. Quickly two of my sisters showed up and tackled the two of the boys, the other boys ran away and the two boys on the ground quickly surrendered. I only remembered this happening once.

I am sure I could remember other stories but perhaps this gives one a picture of our early childhood. With such memories, as we get old, they become so important.

But more importantly this helps us understand the strength of our sister Dorothy who was not afraid to take on the bullies in the Amazon and was not afraid when they put a price on her head and who said, “I will not run away from my family” when she was offered the chance to move on.

Creation Spirituality was an essential part of our lives from childhood. Dorothy going to the Amazon was just another amazing part of her being with nature with the diversity of creation.

Dorothy’s time spent with Matthew Fox in California studying Creation Spirituality was an incredible experience as it confirmed her beauty as a woman, as a nature filled being, and that there were other great women who felt like her over the centuries.

Dorothy saying “I cannot leave my family,” included the forest, the animals and her relationship with all of life that existed around her. Spirituality is not whole when we exclude such thinking and people from our existence.

Hosted Post: Share Your Sacred Work!

Matthew Fox will be keynoting at the Creation Spirituality Communities International Gathering, April 26-29. The CSC Team is currently developing the program and has put out a call to people from all walks of life - to you -  to partner with them in this co-creative event, titled Sacred Earth, Sacred Work:



Special opportunities for you to share and collaborate!

During the SACRED EARTH-SACRED WORK Gathering, we are not just musing on a concept, we are talking about real sacred work, your sacred work - what you do every day. We created the gathering as a way to highlight how you connect with the sacredness of our planet.  

This gathering was created to discover, support, and connect your work to the work of others - and to experience how what you do is appreciated and inspiring to others.

Come to the gathering - and bring your work with you!

Activists ~  Managers ~ Teachers  
 Dream Workers ~ Conservationists  ~ Social Workers
Ministers  ~ Contemplatives ~  Business Owners  
Practitioners  ~  Spiritual Companions

We will be hosting Affinity Circles Sunday morning. Affinity Circle topics are proposed during the gathering, so that people with similar sacred work can share, collaborate, support and inspire each other.

 If you would like to be the point person for a session, please let us know. Just send us an email.

Poets, give us your insights! 
         Authors, talk about your process! 
             Artists, unveil your inner visions! 
                    Musicians, offer up your music for sharing!

Time and space is set aside during the gathering for Cohort Circles - where poets, musicians, artists and authors can meet together, set up an interactive display table with examples to share and products to sell. 

 If you would like to be the point person for your cohort's activities, please let us know. We can offer a small discount from your registration.

Just send us an email.

And Remember....

  • BECOME A SPONSOR  An unique opportunity to address and engage your community in an intimate environment. All levels of contribution available.
  • WORK TRADE POSITIONS We have a few work trade positions available  - Sponsor Recruitment, Volunteer Coordinator, Main Registration,Ticketing,Visuals and Video Curator, Workshop Management and Room Volunteers.  For more information and apply, visit our website.

We look forward to seeing you in April!


Leonard Cohen: A Thank You to a Spiritual Giant


It is Thanksgiving Day and I have set aside some meditation time to be with the late Leonard Cohen who died seventeen days ago at the age of 82, leaving us one last gift, an album called 'You Want It Darker' which came out last month. I received this album in the mail from my sister-in-law who, with the support of my brother, has endured years of physical darkness in the form of severe fibromyalgia which leaves her bedridden for most of the day. With her surprise gift of the CD was a brief note, "A gift for you: No words...I am just so sad...sending you his last songs to us. Much Love, Jean." Jean was a deep fan of Lenny Cohen as was I, and as are many.

Cohen's last words for us offer a substantive closure to the other songs he gifted us over the decades. I heard my first Leonard Cohen song in the summer of 1969 when I was walking on the beach in Biarritz, France with a friend who was on a break from studying theology in Germany. I was in the south of France renting a room on a Basque farm, where I was committed to writing the first draft of my doctoral thesis. It was dusk and we were approaching a pier that jutted out into the waters of Biarritz beach; surfers had packed up their surfboards (I learned to surf on that beach one sunny afternoon) and my friend sang Lenny's song "Suzanna" for me. I had no idea what all the lyrics meant--mystery was built into Lenny's poetry--but I felt more than I understood and I was particularly struck by the lines about Jesus walking on the waters as a sailor. Living near the ocean for the six months I was in the Pays Basque and visiting the sea daily, I just felt spoken to by Cohen's words and imagery. And this deep resonance has been part and parcel of every encounter I have had since with Cohen's poetry and song.

A few years ago Lenny Cohen drove me to do something I have never done in my life. I was booked for a flight from my town of Oakland, California to Phoenix for a family reunion, but at the last minute I heard Lenny was in Las Vegas for a concert. I canceled my straight flight to Phoenix and boarded a plane for one night in Las Vegas just to hear Lenny in concert, then went on the next day to join my family. Though my cheap seats were way up at the top of the large concert hall, I was profoundly moved--"a religious experience" I told a friend later. 

Lenny had that kind of effect on a lot of people--Jews, Christians, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics. He spoke to so many of us. How? Why? What did he bring to the spiritual search of our time?

First of all, he was a man on a search. He often plugged in to his Jewish roots whether by lyrics (David's poetry and the psalms and other Jewish stories recovered in "Hallelujah" are prime examples) or by actions (blessing the crowd in a concert in Israel, where first he praised the peace-makers of both Palestine and Israel and then ended the evening with a Jewish priestly blessing--after all he was a "Cohen" and of the Jewish priestly lineage as well as son in law of a rabbi). He also went out of his way to undergo Buddhist teachings and practices, living as he did for several fruitful years as a serious monk in a Buddhist monastery at Mount Baldy, California. He attributed a lull in his battle with depression to his Buddhist practice.

But he also invokes Jesus on many occasions including in this, his final album, when he refers to how "it seemed the better way/when first I heard him speak/But now it's much too late/To turn the other cheek." After complaining that "I wonder what it meant/At first he touched on love/But then he touched on death," he ends his poem with a Eucharistic symbol: a call to "lift this glass of blood/Try to say the grace" ("It Seemed the Better Way"). Or, in the same collection, Lenny confesses to having seen him "change the water into wine" and back again; and he calls for a treaty "between your love and mine" and how "we were broken then, but now we're borderline."
So the first observation I make about Cohen is that he is a deep ecumenist. That is, he draws on at least three major spiritual traditions: the Jewish into which he was born; the Buddhist which he studied and practiced seriously; and the Christ path. His religious sources are of a post-modern kind, he belongs to many communities at once and is learning from them and incorporating them all in an interfaith offering right up to the end, right up to his last album.

But a second dimension to Cohen's music is his raw honesty. Whether he is talking about human love and/or sexual experience, or the struggles of faith and survival and aging he is blunt and direct. In his ode to Janis Joplin, with whom he interacted while living in the Chelsea Hotel, he is both respectful of her life decisions and her death induced by drugs and her bravery and the "sweet little sound" of her music but he is also blunt about the sex they shared on his unmade bed. There is nothing hidden about the revelations of life experience from Cohen--he names it for what it is and unapologetically so. Life experiences for him open doors of revelation.

His raw honesty is true of his struggles with belief as well and here Lenny speaks to so many believers or wanna-be believers today--his is a very humble and uncertain faith. Part agnostic, part yearning, part feeling, part drawing on sources of tradition, part not--like so many others walking the earth today. For example, in his song "It Seemed the Better Way," he tells us about Jesus' teaching that it "sounded like the truth/seemed the better way/sounded like the truth/But it's not the truth today." How history and culture and life itself have resisted Jesus' teaching or set it in a context that renders it less than truthful or has seemed to move beyond it. He speaks of having "given up/ On the me and you" and how he is not alone but has traveled with others who are in the same boat (Traveling Light).

Or in his poem "Steer your way" found in the same CD, he begins by acknowledging how vapid have become religious archetypes and stories: "Steer your way through the ruins/of the Altar and the Mall/ Steer your way through the fables/ of Creation and The Fall." He warns us that the truth of our fathers may have gone stale, not only are the altars in ruins but also: "Steer your heart past the Truth/you believed in yesterday/Such as Fundamental Goodness/and the Wisdom of the Way" and he admits that atheism is an option: "Steer your way through the pain....that has blinded every View/ And please don't make me go there, /tho' there be a God or not." He does not want to argue about God's existence. The pain of the world that has "smashed the Cosmic Model" renders the argument of atheism more valid. Surely he is responding to the Holocaust (among other evils) in making this point. And just as he mocks the malls in the start of this poem, so he elaborates on the religion of consumerism when he pronounces that "As he died to make men holy,/ let us die to make things cheap." But he offers a remedy as well: to "say the Mea Culpa which/you've probably forgot...." 

Cohen wrestles with the ambiguity of faith in still another poem where he sings of leaving a younger lover. The strength it takes to let go is a spiritual trial, so much so that "They ought to give my heart a medal/For letting go of you/ When I turned my back on the devil/Turned my back on the angel too." Devils and angels play together in Cohen's mind and imagination and choosing--as in all of ours. 

Another theme that Cohen is blunt about is his growing old and his preparing to exit this life. His health was not good in his last years as he battled with cancer and his back was acting up so badly that his son had to help him finish this last album of songs. Lenny profusely praised his son, who became the producer of his last album. 

But the album is in many ways a leave-taking. The theme is everywhere: "I'm leaving the table/I'm out of the game....Little by little/We're cutting the cord" (Leaving the Table). And again, "I'm traveling light/ It's au revoir/ My once so bright/My fallen star/....Goodnight goodnight/My fallen star/....I'm running late/ They'll close the bar/ I used to play/ one mean guitar." Memories arising around his guitar remind him of his past even as his life is moving on. 

And he speaks of immense darkness, the leave taking of loved ones on a cosmic scale. His depiction of the Dark Night of the Soul is for real. "If the sun would lose its light/ And we lived an endless night.... If no leaves were on the tree/ And no water in the sea/ And the break of day/ Had nothing to reveal....That's how broken I would be/ What my life would seem to me/ If I didn't have your love/ To make it real" (If I Didn't Have Your Love). Whose love is he talking about? A friend? A lover? God? All of the above? He lays the dark night at the feet of God, it seems built in to things. "There's a lullaby for suffering/ And a paradox to blame/ But it's written in the scriptures/ And it's not some idle claim/ You want it darker/ We kill the flame." Human history seems to prefer the dark. "Magnified and sanctified Be Thy Holy Name/ Vilified and crucified/ In the human frame/ A million candles burning/ For the love that never came/ You want it darker/ We kill the flame." And of course there is a particular prominence to this message since this song is the title song of the album (You Want It Darker).

As a spiritual theologian I am completely taken by Cohen's honest and searing search for truth, for healing, for right action, for justice, for beauty, for wisdom to be derived from a variety of spiritual traditions. And I am moved by his commitment to work on himself and his honest striving. It is the very humility of his findings that speaks, I think, to the spiritual struggle of our time when in this post-modern world we are at a loss for words to express the depths of the darkness and the light that breaks through sometimes. How busy we are, consciously or unconsciously, to find a new meaning to faith and our lives, and a new faith to create building on the truths of the past and adapting them to our bitter times. We search for community.

It is not just the passing of Leonard Cohen that touches our hearts but the timing of it. He died the day before the presidential election of 2016 that plunged many into a soul-searching and a dark night and a need to hear again the voices of the poor, the outcast, the dark corners of the souls of those who feel so unlistened-to that they clapped and cheered for a man who spoke ultimately to the resentment embedded in hearts and minds left behind by an economic system that works for only a few. 

"You Want It Darker" speaks to the darkness of our times--as did so much of Cohen's work. His words do not cover up the truth--they lay it bare; they are not the least bit sentimental or sugar-coated. They speak to the utter depths of many. They offer no instant satisfaction or redemption. They are the words and songs of a genuine seeker, a man on a hunt, who is "traveling light." A mystic and prophet of the first order. 

May his travels continue for all of us to whom he spoke so directly and deeply yet so often mysteriously. Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for the gift you leave with us. And your last words, "Here I am, I'm ready Lord," spoken three times in response to the coming darkness. Your message is one of Hope. Not cheap hope; not fast-food hope. Something more real and more pressing than that. His friend and fellow artist Judy Collins wrote that he offered us "songs for the spirit when our spirits were strained to the breaking point." 

Yes, he was an honest troubadour about the very real via negativa. But he never abandoned the beauty of life either--"there is perfume everywhere," he sang. He is after all the author of the tribute to broken, cold, imperfect but ever present "Hallelujah's" and he praises love making as being a moment of the "Holy Dove" being present in every breath. He reached always for an authentic via positiva and he invited us into the same arena.

The great psychologist Otto Rank defined the artist as someone who wants to leave behind a gift. Lenny Cohen's gifts he leaves behind are generous and multiple and will continue to feed the spiritually hungry for generations to come. 

Thank you, Lenny, on this Thanksgiving 2016.

The Cosmic Mass: A New Generation

(Reblogged with permission from Inquire Within) The Cosmic Mass began as an intergenerational co-creation between Matthew Fox and a group of visionary young people from Sheffield, England. Now, as it continues its resurgence as a monthly event in Oakland, CA and environs, Matthew Fox's co-creation is being carried on in a new generation.

In this Podcast Dr. Fox and the current director of the Oakland TCM, Skylar Wilson, join Darren Main on the online radio show Inquire Within to talk about Creation Spirituality and the next generation of The Cosmic Mass.

Some Thoughts on Occupy and Creation Spirituality

I have visited Occupy Boston, Oakland, New York, Ashville, San Francisco.  There is much to like about the people I have met there ranging from 20-somethings to sixty-somethings.  A 58 year old in Boston told me he was camping out because he had been unemployed for over two years; a 30 something in New York told me he was there “because of Jesus who teaches him that the poor get to heaven, not the rich.”  On Wall Street this past weekend I watched two lines of exuberant young adults playing “Rover, red rover” literally in the middle of Wall Street while police cordoned off the entrance to the street.  Nice to see some fun enacted in the name of social change.  I very much appreciated two very large canvases on a side of a building at Occupy Boston: One was entitled, “What is Good about America” and the second was entitled: “What is bad about America.”  Everyone was invited to write on the pages. I read all the entries and they were moving and thoughtful.  I liked the balance that was invited forth to everyone to express their opinions.  In Oakland one day of protests brought out about 7000 people of all ages and ethnicities, mothers with babies in strollers, a flash mob dance of about 80 people well appreciated by hundreds of observers, a band playing as we marched through the city center streets.  My favorite sign?  “I will believe corporations are people when the state of Texas executes one.” Results have already been significant.  The language of the economic debate in America has shifted from “the deficit is everything” to the matter of justice and injustice—rare words to enter American political discourse the past two decades (though Obama shies away from the words and prefers “fairness”).  A New York Occupy person told me “already Governor Cuomo has learned something and is seeking $2 billion in new taxes from the richest among us.”

More important than immediate “results” and even a change of language and perception is the bearing of witness that is going on.  The bearing of witness against Wall Street’s greed and arrogance, its willingness to borrow trillions of dollars from Main Street but offer nothing in return but more foreclosures, more bankruptcies, more excess, more CEO privileges and more greed.  I have written about greed quite extensively in my book on evil, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Lessons for Transforming Soul and Society. Returning to that book recently, I have to say I was pleased with the teachings that are there.  Greed corresponds to the fifth or throat chakra (“gluttony” comes from the Latin word for “throat”).  Greed interferes with self-expression, stuffing excess things down the throat instead of eliciting wisdom from the inside with the throat as the birth canal.  The fact that 70% of the American economy runs on consumerism is proof positive that consuming is the newest form of gluttony and such gluttony feeds greed and vice versa.  As Aquinas warned, “avarice tends to infinity”—there is no end to a consciousness of greed or its ally, consumerism.  Henry Ford was once asked: “When do you have enough money?”  His response: “When you always have a little bit more.”  So with consumerism.  It never ends.  It is infinite.  Ask Donald Trump.

If Occupy accomplished this alone it would be revolutionary: To educate Americans and others that an economy that runs 70% on consumption and on greed has to reinvent itself.  It is not spiritually or materially sustainable.  We can do better than consumer capitalism.

In the matter of reinventing economics, I never tire of recommending David Korten who I feel is the most profound and most relevant teacher of an “economics that works for everyone”—not just for 1% of the people but for all the earth’s people including the more than two legged ones.  Korten has done his homework about ecology and cosmology as well as about economics and ethics.  He knows of what he speaks when he shows the way to our reinventing economics so that it serves the earth and all her creatures and therefore future generations as well.  Go to Yes magazine web site to see his many articles on the current economic crisis as well as to his books.

Another aspect of the Occupy movement that moves me is its bearing witness to moral bankruptcy.  The banks are very willing to condemn plenty of us to financial bankruptcy at this time of high unemployment and intransigence in refinancing home loans and business loans, for example.  But they are the carriers of a Moral Bankruptcy that needs calling out.  Speaking truth to power (the economic power elites who brought the economy crashing down on us all) is what prophets do.  Occupy is prophetic.  They are daring to interfere with the economic status quo.

There is courage involved in Occupy as there is in all those movements in the Middle East that we attribute to the Arab Spring.  It takes courage and endurance to sleep in the parks and even on the concrete as so many Occupiers have done (including the 68 year old woman I met in Boston!) and to face police harassment.  Courage is, in my opinion, the number one sign of Spirit.  Without courage there is no Spirit.  There is Spirit afoot in Occupy.

There is hope also because of Occupy.  David Orr says, “hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up” and those in Occupy are doing something.  How important is that?  Doing something, bearing witness, instead of just getting depressed or angry and sitting on it while addicting oneself to more TV or eating or whatever.  Putting one’s moral outrage to action, tapping into anger as an energy source.  All good.  Tea partiers great success has derived from the anger they tapped into.  While I find their solutions short sighted, their energy has made a difference and Occupy’s can do the same—with much sounder solutions.

Part of Occupy’s success has been its appeal to television.  In this post-modern time television is the primary medium for reaching peoples’ heart and minds and the very act of sleeping outdoors has attracted the cameras that have in turned allowed fresh stories to be passed around.  Stories about values.  Social media is part of this post-modern political movement obviously also.  And the effort to reinvent community through democratic means of listening to all and not just the powerful and ego-driven ones.

Now of course Occupiers are not allowed to encamp or sleep out in most cities but that only means that the means of expression are morphing.  More and more Occupy is focusing on foreclosed houses and trying to raise consciousness about that.  In New York I was told that $400,000 still remains in the kitty they have raised and that all of that is going toward housing for the poor and bringing attention to the plight of the unemployed.  The movement is evolving and morphing as anything living does. In Oakland evicted persons are occupying boarded up and foreclosed homes putting them to use.

Occupy is raising consciousness about the big banks, the “too big to fail” profiteers.  Many are the people moving their money to credit unions (I am one of them and I am happy I did that).

When I preached recently in a Unity church in New York City a woman came up afterwards and started to cry.  She said: “I have been supporting Occupy in every way I can bringing food and warm clothes and more but so few of my friends get the point.  They are just living their lives as if this doesn’t matter.  And where are the clergy?  I hardly see them at all.  But to me this movement is about everything Jesus taught us about loving our neighbor.  There are so many people suffering today.  Your talk inspired me to keep going.”

Recently I wrote a book on The Pope’s War which lays bare much of the sickness within the Roman Catholic Church at this time in history, a sickness that panders to sexual abusers as well as to dictators like Pinochet who tortured and murdered thousands and to fascist movements like Opus Dei, Legion of Christ and Communion and Liberation, a sickness that has silenced or expelled over 100 theologians while supporting the movements just mentioned that between them produce armies of canon lawyers and not a single theologian.  The emasculation of Liberation Theology and base communities was a program enacted by the present and previous popes.

Of course not all priests who work in the Roman Catholic church are child molesters nor are all hierarchy busy hiding and protecting them.  So too not all bankers and all financiers who work with Wall Street are crooks.  But both systems are practicing moral nothingness and condoning it so staying in the system and not critiquing carries with it the risk of being an accomplice, however distant, to the system.  Leaving it makes more obvious moral sense but if one chooses to stay you must stay as a critic and with one’s conscience in tact and operating to change the system.  One stays not as a cheerleader to the system and not to profit from it while taking no moral position.  There is no room in a moral crisis whether of economics or of sexual predation for putting one’s conscience on a shelf and hiding either in the pew or in the boardroom.  It is time to stand up and be counted and support those who are so doing.  It is a time for moral courage.  Thank God for Occupy!

News from the Creation Spirituality Front in Oakland

Dear Friends of CS, Holiday Greetings to you all!  Many thanks to all those who are carrying on the work and vision of the movement/tradition from Mary Plaster in Duluth to Susan Coppage Evans in Boulder to Diane Wolverton in Wyoming and many, many more.  (Can’t mention you all.)

A few words from my Oakland base.  Here are some things going on.

My two books that came out this Spring are stirring things up a bit.  Christian Mystics just received an award as “one of the best spiritual books of 2011” from Library Journal. The Pope’s War is coming out in paperback in the Spring and is already out in German.  The translator wrote me that she “cried often” while translating it because her generation (she is in her forties) was promised “never again, no more fascism” and that the book proves fascism is back in the church and especially through the German wing of the church.  This book is a “bomb” she says and Germans need to read it.  Reviews coming in from Germany, all of them positive.  Others have told me the “book is a page-turner—I stayed up two nights in a row to finish it” they say.  A number of positive and thoughtful reviews in the US too.

Susan Coppage Evans and I launched a series of CS retreats this Fall in Boulder, Co., based on the Four Paths.  September event was Via Positiva with Mary Oliver as our guide.  I loved working more deeply on Oliver’s wonderful poetry and had the privilege of seeing her in person deliver a reading and q and a in San Francisco ten days before our retreat.  In January we are doing the Via Negativa with Eckhart as our guide.  Later we will do Via Creativa with Hildegard as our guide and then the Via Transformativa with Howard Thurman as our guide.  Spread the word! Lots of good practice stuff going on with Susan leading that and I offering in-put on the various subjects and guides.

I am very grateful to Mary Plaster for carrying the torch with a facebook page with my name on it.  Thank you, Mary, and Congratulations too for the wonderful work you are doing with theater pieces and puppets galore!

Mel and I have been working diligently to rescue some of the wonderful articles and interviews from Creation Spirituality Magazine from its very first issue to its very last.  We are putting these on its own web page very soon and access will be free.  I was excited and pleased to see how many great articles were written and interviews offered over its 13 year history—articles that are still very relevant.  (I was also amazed to see how many I had written, just about one per issue).  Authors or Interviewees range from Jerry Brown to Buck Ghosthorse, from Joanna Macy to Bill Everson, from Jeremy Taylor (a regular) to Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, from Charlene Spretnak to Starhawk and many, many more.  Thanks and kudos to all the editors over the years of the cs magazine.  It is nice to revisit it at this time in my life.

Nicole Porcaro has been working diligently on putting together a Manual for the Cosmic Mass and I have been overseeing the project.  She is drawing on the documents that Debra Martin brought together for her Manual when teaching the course on the TCM at the Ballroom plus history plus more.  We hope to have that Manual on line by February.  (Nicole is getting married in early January!  Send your blessings her way!)

Beginning in January and with the hard work of Diane Wolverton we are launching a teleconference course on “Mystics: Pioneers of Consciousness” taught weekly for 10 weeks (first week free) by yours truly.  We are hoping this will be a first “out of the gate” experience for starting an on-line teaching experience that is global and that is using the latest in technology that insures interaction among students and teacher as well.  You can go to  Spread the word please!  Maybe we are resurrecting UCS in this teleconference format making it much cheaper and more accessible than ever before.  We shall see how it evolves.

I am working hard with Adam Bucko of NYC who is co-founder of “The Reciprocity Foundation” (see who has been working with street youth in NYC for six years.  We are writing a book together in dialog form about young adults and spirituality, have handed out lots of surveys and have also interviewed on film about twenty interesting young adults from Bay Area to Boulder to North Carolina to NYC.  So we are creating a film project as well.  We expect to have the book completed by February and the film later this year.

The work with Yellawe goes very strong in Chicago where Ted Richards is active with three Chicago versions of the project called “The Chicago Wisdom Project.”  (He is also commuting to NYC to work with New Seminary there).  In Oakland we have linked YELLAWE up with Kokomon Clottey’s project, “Art Esteem” and his and Aeesha’s Attitudinal Healing Project this Fall.  This month it morphs from an afterschool program at McClymonds high school to being an accredited afternoon in-school program and we all see that as a plus.

I am still on the road a lot with lectures, workshops and preaching.  And some Cosmic Masses in the works also.  I will be going to England and Scotland in the Spring for a series of lectures.  I remain very grateful to Aaron Stern and the Academy of the Love of Learning for their support and mutual work and vision. Their new building in Santa Fe is a stunner and fully Leeds approved and above all full of wonderful activities.

I have been seeing more of Brian Swimme lately and share his joy that his life’s work of putting the “Journey of the Universe” to film is now getting a great hearing by being on so many PBS stations this season.  Surely Tom Berry is blessing the project.

I am currently writing an article on the Occupy Movement, a movement which I have great hopes for.  I have visited Occupy in Boston, NY, Ashville, Boulder, Oakland.  Lots of cs energy and principles there!  I will make the article available on line shortly.

A high point for me this year was going to Rome for the launch of the Italian version of my “Original Blessing” book—they launched it on the anniversary of Giordano Bruno’s burning at the stake in Rome in 1600 (he too was a Dominican and keen on spirituality in science).  A well known Italian philosopher wrote a very rich Introduction to the book (which is now in its fifth printing) and an Italian publisher is committed to publishing “The Pope’s War” and also “Creativity” (which is being translated by a fellow in Florence—seems like the perfect city).  While in Rome I posted an Italian translation of my 95 theses at Cardinal Law’s basilica on a Sunday morning.  Much drama with the Vatican police there in street clothing leading the attacks.  We, not they, remained non violent.

So that kind of brings you up to date from Oakland.  If you have some money to contribute to a still very viable non-profit called FCS, don’t hesitate to do so. If you don’t I fully understand.  You can help other ways by spreading the word and maybe stirring up some lecture invitations or pushing books or courses such as our on-line ones, etc.  And many thanks to Dennis for his continued and dogged work contributions to FCS—and to Dominic Flamiano too for his legal assistance.

Blessings on your Holidays and New Year Days for 2012!

Grateful for all you Be and Do,

Matthew Fox

Cosmic Wonder, Human Opportunity

This is a review of:  THE NEW UNIVERSE AND THE HUMAN FUTURE: HOW A SHARED COSMOLOGY COULD TRANSFORM THE WORLD by Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack        Yale Press, 2011 This book is in every sense of the word, a prophetic book. Its message ranks right up there with those of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Joel. Like the prophets, it is at times poetic, demanding, grounded, soaring, empowering, and always awe-inspiring.

Rabbi Heschel says the essence of the prophet’s work is to interfere, and Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams are doing nothing if they are not interfering. They are interfering with apathy, couch-potato-itis, anthropocentrism, and despair by inspiring us with the newly found reasons we have for waking up, getting involved, and resisting dumb media, amoral education, and frozen religious ideologies. They inspire us to do what prophets do: give birth to justice from a newly born heart, a newly born consciousness. And to shout the dangerous paths, the ways of folly, we are on. This book does all that and more.

I should offer a disclaimer here. I know and truly love Joel and Nancy. I know their marvelous book, The View from the Center of the Universe and recommend it to everyone I know. I know their sterling credentials as teachers of the new cosmology and the great respect Joel carries in the scientific community. Above all, I know their humility. While helping us access new scientific knowledge to recover our sense of the Cosmos, they also show up at spiritual events, dance circle dances, laugh with us lay people (meaning non-scientists), chant, meditate, make music, write poetry, and just plain participate. I like that about them. They are human beings as well as scientists. They are not preaching from an ivory tower or to the scientific choir alone (though they have the courage to take on the cynics and pessimists in that circle). Their message is for all of us: “Wake up before it is too late. Drink in the new good news of the universe. Join and build up a ‘cosmic society.’”

Wisely the authors point out that human consciousness evolves from self-awareness, to tribe, to religion, to nationality, to species, to Earth, and ultimately to Cosmos. We, like the universe, need to keep expanding (I think of Meister Eckhart: “God is delighted to watch your soul enlarge.”) We can so easily get stuck in any one of these smaller groupings — self (narcissism), tribe (tribalism), religion (my God can beat up your God/goddess), nation (who is the empire de jour? We are number one and the exceptional one). But Gaia and her pain is calling us beyond all these earlier identities to embrace Earth, which needs so much embracing today, and now Cosmos as well. We don’t have to abandon the earlier soul periods; we can incorporate them into this great act of growing our souls, expanding our consciousness. We can love self without being narcissistic; we can love our tribe without being tribalistic and hating other tribes; we can embrace a religious path without denying others theirs; we can be Americans (or Egyptians or Argentinians) without having to go to war to prove we are superior. Of course we are on a path of consciousness expansion. After all, this universe is biased in favor of expansion. This is a scientific fact.

Joel and Nancy are clearly in love with what science is learning today. Their love is contagious. Their enthusiasm ignites all who drink it in. They have the children in mind when they say “today’s children could be the first generation ever raised in the universe they actually live in,” and they urge us to teach the “powers of ten” to the kids and resist teaching the easy metaphors of selfishness, cynicism, or despair. “Earth itself is not a mess but a jewel of the cosmos, rich with life and potential, and possibly unique in all the heavens,” they declare, like twenty-first-century Davids singing new psalms.

Joel and Nancy have looked hard and analyzed deeply the amazing findings of the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments from the past two decades of explosive findings in cosmology. Here is one metaphor that they put forth for our understanding:

Imagine that the entire universe is an ocean of dark energy. On that ocean there sail billions of ghostly ships, made of dark matter. At the tips of the tallest masts of the largest ships there are tiny beacons of light, which we call galaxies. With Hubble Space Telescope, the beacons are all we see. We don’t see the ships, we don’t see the ocean — but we know they’re there through the Double Dark theory.

They take on the literalists of science (who have so much in common with the literalists of the Bible) when they say:

If taken literally, scientific cosmology is completely misleading. There was no loud bang at the Big Bang, and it wasn’t big. (There was no size to compare it to.) Metaphor is our only entrée into invisible reality.

I have often said that the most important things in life are metaphors, whether we are speaking of life or death, spirit or sex, love or body. And the universe too is metaphor and accessible by metaphor. All the prophets knew these things. Metaphor carries us on wings larger than despair, self-pity, talk of “selfish genes,” and pessimism — all of which is so often a cover-up and escape from responsibility.

This is a book on ethics, a book about renewing our foundation for ethics. The authors talk passionately about the folly of our race as we face our own potential extinction and the extinction of this marvelous planet as we know it. They see our uniqueness not just in terms of this planet but also in terms of what we know about the universe. They urge us to “crack open our imaginations” and to wake up to the “accident” of our being “born at the turning point.” And what turning point is that? It goes back to the fact of the rediscovery of how unique we are as a species: “It took a series of outrageously improbable events on Earth, plus multiple cosmic catastrophes to earlier species like the dinosaurs before humans could evolve.… Our level of intelligence (and higher) may be extremely rare” in the universe.

We Are the Self-Consciousness of the Universe

With our uniqueness comes a special responsibility, for if humans go down, like many primate species before us have, then something very precious will be lost in the universe.

From the point of view of the universe as a whole, intelligent life may be the rarest of occurrences and the most in need of protection…. We — all intelligent, self-aware creatures that may exist in any galaxy — are the universe’s only means of reflecting on and understanding itself. Together we are the self-consciousness of the universe. The entire universe is meaningless without us. This is not to say that the universe wouldn’t exist without intelligent beings. Something would exist, but it wouldn’t be a universe, because a universe is an idea, and there would be no ideas.

We are living at a “pivotal” moment in the history of the universe for today we can “see” the entire history of the universe, but there will come a time when, because of the expansion of the cosmos, the past will no longer be visible; distant galaxies will disappear over the horizon. We are able to take in more galaxies today than ever will be perceived in the future. And, in our own local group of galaxies, because of gravity at work, there will be a blending of the Milky Way and Andromeda that will shut our descendants off from the rest of the universe. No wonder Joel and Nancy feel so called to sing the universe’s story at this time.

The authors recognize our moral obligations to change as a species. With the human race now at almost 7 billion people, the inflation we have been undergoing is not sustainable. We could — and are — destroying our planet as we know it. This is why they call for an ethic of sustainability that is itself sustained by the wonder of the world we now know we live in, the universe at its pivotal moment. They point out how we do not know if there is other intelligent life out there but we do know what we have here. Moreover:

We randomly-alive-today people actually have the power to end this evolutionary miracle, or not…. Without human beings, as far as anyone knows, the universe will be silenced forever. No meaning, no beauty, no awe, no consciousness, no “laws” of physics. Is any quarrel or pile of possessions worth this?

We need to adjust to realities as we now know them. For example, talk of “space war” is beyond dangerous because if we launch just a truckload of gravel into space we will destroy not only all sophisticated weaponry but also the satellites that we all depend on for weather information, global positioning systems, and communication.

Enough Is a Feast

We must move beyond the inflationary period of economics, of judging things by growth of GNP. We have to realize that spiritual relationships can grow continuously — but economic ones can’t. Joel and Nancy write:

Our drive for meaning, spiritual connection, personal and artistic expression, and cultural growth can be unlimited … if we valued them above consumer goods, then we would have a new paradigm for human progress. For our universe the most creative period, which brought forth galaxies, stars, atoms, planets, and life, came after inflation ended, and this could also be true for humanity. A stable period can last as long as human creativity stays ahead of our physical impact on the earth.

If this isn’t a call for a simpler lifestyle I don’t know what is.

What is right action? “The goal should be sustainable prosperity, which is perfectly defined by the Zen saying ‘enough is a feast.’… Nonstop creativity will be essential to maintain long term stability.”

This is a daring book. The authors take on the hypothesis of multiple universes and draw a stunning conclusion:

If the theory of Eternal Inflation is right, then our universe — the entire region created by our Big Bang — is an incredibly rare jewel: a tiny but long-lived pocket in the heart of eternity where by chance exponential inflation stopped, time began, space opened up, and the laws of physics allowed interesting things to happen and complexity to evolve.

Just as our Earth is an “incredibly rare jewel,” so too is our universe, whether it has happened alone or is one among many. The authors of this book have not grown numb to awe and wonder.

The authors also take on the subject of God’s causation when they ask this question:

Is this then at last the place to credit God as the literal first cause? That’s an option. But rather than skipping lightly over eternity itself to paste in the idea of God ‘causing eternity,’ we might do better to think of the beginning as being just as unknown as the distant future, and ourselves, as true explorers, moving outward from the center in both directions. In cosmology both the distant past and the distant future are in a real sense ahead of us, the one waiting to be discovered, the other to be created.

As a theologian, I hear this as a clarion call to rediscover the apophatic Divinity, the God of Darkness, the pathway of letting go and letting be, the God who “has no name and will never be given a name” (Eckhart), where the alpha (beginning) and omega (ending) are both bathed in mystery and in darkness — a double darkness, we might say. It’s a call for a transcendence that is not “up” so much as deep down

There is wisdom and passion in these pages. There are sacred cows to let go of, inner work to do, and outer work to accomplish. But we have the tools. Do we have the will and the heart? Anyone who studies this book will be deepening and strengthening both. Read this book and grow your soul. Right behavior can and should follow.

Some Thoughts on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Beyond

Michael Lerner has asked me to write a few thoughts about the message of Good Friday and Easter.  I appreciate his invitation, a sign of the meaning of deep ecumenism and what we have to learn from each others faith traditions. To me, the “paschal mystery” of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the rabbi is an archetypal reminder about how, as science now teaches us, all things in the cosmos live, die and resurrect.  Supernovas, galaxies, solar systems, planets, beings that inhabit our planet—we all have our time of existence and of passing out of existence.  But we leave something behind for further generations and that constitutes resurrection.  Supernovas leave elements behind in a great explosion that seed other solar systems, planets and ever our very bodies.  Every being leaves something behind as food for others—Einstein said no energy is lost in the universe and Hildegard of Bingen said no warmth is lost in the universe.  I like to say that no beauty is lost in the universe.  The universe has a memory for energy, warmth and beauty.   Nothing our ancestors accomplished is lost—so long as we remember.  Hopefully, as humans, we leave beauty behind and wise progeny, maybe books or paintings or scientific breakthroughs or insights, or healed souls or bodies, etc. etc.  Our resurrection is very much a part of our creativity.  Otto Rank: The artist is one who wants to leave behind a gift.

Jesus left behind the gift of his teachings, a distillation as I see it of the basic teachings of his Jewish ancestors: That compassion and justice are what link us to the Divine and that we are to look not to empires or to objects for the Kingdom of God but within ourselves and among others in community for the love that is at once our love of neighbor and our love of God, a love “that the world cannot give.”  In other words, to “all our relations.”  The fact of his being tortured and killed in a most ignominious way by the Roman Empire is a stark reminder that we do not take on the powers of darkness as our prophetic vocations require without paying a price.  But the story is that life triumphs over death, even if it has to succumb to powers of death at times and the form that a resurrected life takes is diverse.  It often surprises!

We do not die once.  We all die many times.  Life does that to us with our losses, our betrayals, our own mistakes and emptying out.  But we also resurrect on a regular basis as well.  We forgive, we are forgiven, we bottom out, we move on, we give birth anew thus that life and death are more synergetic that we usually imagine them to be.  “God’s exit is her entrance,” as Meister Eckhart put it.  The depths of the valley of death do not overcome the power of life which makes things new again.  Injustice seems to triumph so often but justice will have the last word provided we live and work for it.

To me these are some of the passages that the Good Friday/Easter Sunday archetype bring to awareness.  There is no resurrection without visiting Hades (the story is that Saturday following his death Jesus visited the underworld).  Good Friday rules for a short period.  But the longer period is the new life and the victory over death and the fear of death that Easter Sunday represents.  It is that hope that rises daily with every new sun.  Moving beyond the fear of death we can live fully again and cease our immortality projects, our empire building and pyramid constructing (wall street too) and get on with…living.  Which is sharing.  Heschel: “Just to be is holy; just to live is a blessing.”  Now our fear of death does not have to rule our lives.  Now we can live fully, generously and creatively.