Shuck and Jive

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A New Reformation Part 4, Creation Spirituality

Creation Spirituality is an ancient four-fold spiritual path recently articulated by Matthew Fox. Fox is a prolific author, theologian, and activist. What is Creation Spirituality? Here are twelve principles for your reflection, thanks to Creation Spirituality Communities

1. The Universe, and all within it, is fundamentally a blessing.
Our relationship with the Universe fills us with awe.

2. In Creation, God is both immanent and transcendent. This is panentheism which is not theism (God out there) and not atheism (no God anywhere).
We experience that the Divine is in all things and all things are in the Divine.

3. God is as much Mother as Father, as much Child as Parent, as much God in mystery as the God in history, as much beyond all words and images as in all forms and beings.
We are liberated from the need to cling to God in one form or one literal name.

4. In our lives, it is through the work of spiritual practice that we find our deep and true selves.
Through the arts of meditation and silence we cultivate a clarity of mind and move beyond fear into compassion and community.

5. Our inner work can be understood as a four-fold journey involving:
- awe, delight, amazement (known as the Via Positiva)
- uncertainty, darkness, suffering, letting go (Via Negativa)
- birthing, creativity, passion (Via Creativa)
- justice, healing, celebration (Via Transformativa)

We weave through these paths like a spiral danced, not a ladder climbed.

6. Every one of us is a mystic.
We can enter the mystical as much through beauty (Via Positiva) as through contemplation and suffering (Via Negativa). We are born full of wonder and can recover it at any age.

7. Every one of us is an artist.
Whatever the expression of our creativity, it is our prayer and praise (Via Creativa).

8. Every one of us is a prophet.
Our prophetic work is to interfere with all forms of injustice and that which interrupts authentic life (Via Transformativa).

9. Diversity is the nature of the Universe. We rejoice in and courageously honor the rich diversity within the Cosmos and expressed among individuals and across multiple cultures, religions and ancestral traditions.

10. The basic work of God is compassion and we, who are all original blessings and sons and daughters of the Divine, are called to compassion.
We acknowledge our shared interdependence; we rejoice at one another's joys and grieve at one another's sorrows and labor to heal the causes of those sorrows.

11. There are many wells of faith and knowledge drawing from one underground river of Divine wisdom. The practice of honoring, learning and celebrating the wisdom collected from these wells is Deep Ecumenism.
We respect and embrace the wisdom and oneness that arises from the diverse wells of all the sacred traditions of the world.

12. Ecological justice is essential for the sustainability of life on Earth.
Ecology is the local expression of cosmology and so we commit to live in light of this value: to pass on the beauty and health of Creation to future generations.

Now we have four lists. Four sets of theses statements for a new reformation. In these lists you will find some common themes that people are already intuitively identifying. Some of these common themes include appreciation for all religions (wisdom traditions) as human creations, a concern for ecological justice, appreciation of science and knowledge, and a celebration of nature as divine (rather than separate from Divinity).

You may also notice some traditional Christian things that are absent such as a separation of humankind from nature, the notion that nature is "fallen" or sinful, the idea that "God" is a supernatural being, and the obsession with a last judgment (heaven and hell).

As always your thoughts and critiques are welcome.

Part 3, TCPC
Part 2, Fox
Part 1, Funk


  1. I guess I remain an atheist. The universe is and nothing more; we must make of it what we can (which is little considering the universe's immensity and our lack of knowledge and is much considering what we have managed to do both for good and for ill on our home planet). I agree with some of the goals but disagree on the grounding.

  2. I think the Universe is big enough all right to be God for me.

    Michael Dowd calls himself a creatheist which is fun.

  3. IIRC Dawkins describes pantheism as sexed up atheism. Not sure what he considers panentheism. What do you see as the differences?

  4. I have often thought that pantheism is the same as atheism except it sounds more spiritual. I have no idea what panENtheism means. I know the definition (God is in all but more than all) but I don't see the point. It adds a level of abstraction that doesn't do much for me.

    Pantheism--a sexed-up, spiritual atheism! :) --is about all the god speculation I can muster.

  5. Actually, I think panENtheism is a half-way house for liberal Christians on their way to atheism.

  6. Or the other way around. The one person I know who I suspect is a panentheist is a former atheist now unitarian Christian.

  7. I am rather heartened that it goes both ways...

  8. John, you are so wrong about panentheism. Panentheism is what made religion possible for me again. Before I discovered panentheism, I was an atheist.

    Pantheism is, as far as I am concerned, an empty and meaningless concept. If everything is God, then all you've done is apply new name to describe everything without really changing anything.

  9. Not wanting to give the impression that I'm a nay-sayer and critic to all of the things you're posting, John, I wanted to note that I'm also a bit of a Matthew Fox fan, and I really like what he lays out here, particularly number 3. I also appreciate the fourfold path, as it is presented here. I think I would add mystic kenosis, possibly to number 4, but that's my private agenda at this stage in my journey.

  10. FUNK for me . I always enjoyed a bit of DA Funk . :)

  11. **Panentheism is what made religion possible for me again.**

    Well then, it is a good thing!!