The feature interview in the July 2015 issue of The Sun is with Father Matthew Fox, a former Dominican priest who was expelled from the Church in 1993 for his “radical” preachings that humans weren’t born into Original Sin, but Original Blessing, and that God was feminine as much as masculine.
(On being “radical,” he notes “the word isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. It comes from the Latin radix, meaning root, the same as radish, which isn’t particularly revolutionary.”)
He went on to form a mystical tradition called Creation Spirituality, which counts creativity as worship, and has a strong commitment to the biosphere. It’s my kind of church.
I heard Fox speak and met him briefly in Manhattan in 2010. Hard to believe the man is now 74 and just released two new books, including a new collaboration with biologist Rupert Sheldrake, The Physics of Angels. (Their previous collaboration, a dialogue called Natural Grace, is in my top 100 books of all time.) Inspiring.
The lecture I heard was a redefinition of prayer as a combination of creativity and activism. Here in the new interview he echoes that: “The mystic in us is the lover. The mystic says yes. But the prophet in us is the warrior, and the warrior says, “No, this is unjust. No, this is suffering that we can work to relieve.” That’s the rhythm of the mystic and the prophet, the lover and the warrior. It’s not enough to be one or the other. This moment in history calls for a dance between the two.”
He comments on Pope Francis, the mostly good and the stuff to work on…
And he closes with this courageous mandate:
I actually doubt that the Catholic Church in its present structure is reformable. I think it will have to die, and it is dying. Young people are walking away from it. They are taking the treasures from the burning building and letting the building burn. What we need is something more experiential and less dogmatic. People don’t need the Church to tell them who or what God is. They need to experience God, and then they’ll know for themselves. For centuries, though, the Church has been afraid of this. People also need the Church to be a force for justice and compassion and forgiveness in the world. Too often the Church has been just the opposite, promoting violence and oppression. We don’t need basilicas as much as backpacks. We have to travel more lightly, with the mystics and the prophets as our guides. And of course we need to be traveling with people of other faith traditions.
Amen, Matthew, Amen.
P.S. Track down a copy or better yet a subscription to The Sun. Best magazine ever.