Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creation Spirituality

 Recently, I came across something, I believe through either my church or the Celtic Spirituality group, called Creation Spirituality . It is a fairly recent movement within liberal/progressive Christianity, developed by liberal theologian Matthew Fox in the 1970s. Seeing as how Matthew Fox is an Episcopal priest, it is a form of mystical Christianity, yet it draws from the mystical versions of other religions, as well as indigenous religions, as well. Although some websites list ten principles, the website which seems to be most detailed, and likewise most common in a Google search, lists twelve principles (taken directly from the linked website):

1. The universe 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.

These principles are concepts that, overall, I find myself agreeing with very much. It seeks to recognize the Divine within all life. I have long considered myself a Panentheist, one who believes the Divine is both within and beyond creation. Since Creation Spirituality as a "formal" movement is still very new, it does not yet have any set of praxis, or practices, for living out life as a follower of CS, beyond meditation. Nothing quite as clearly laid out as, say, Buddhism's Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path. However, what it does provide in this stage of its development is a spiritual supplement, a deeper way of looking at life around you, and a deeper way of interpreting whatever spiritual practices or rituals the follower of CS already engages in. Like much earth-centered theology, there does seem to be a bit of Celtic flavor to it. As such, perhaps it will provide a bit of structure in the way I live out the more Druidic aspects of my own spirituality. In any case, it seems like a good way of spelling out ones' beliefs within a liberal Christian context, to someone who may not understand liberal Christian theology. 


JeniMac said...

Interesting post. This could basically be pantheism if you replaced God with Universe, so I even found myself agreeing. lol

Chadly said...

Yeah, it's basically Panentheistic in viewpoint, and since Panentheism and Pantheism have some similarities, that makes sense. I find it pretty interesting myself, and wish there were more out there in terms of research and development concerning CS.