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Thomas Berry on Matthew Fox

"When I think of Matt Fox I recall a passage written by Henry David Thoreau in his essay on Walking: “In Wildness is the Preservation of the World.”  For there is something wild in Matt, something primordial, a realization that humans are not here to control  but to participate in the wonders of those vast cosmic phenomena beyond all human understanding.  These experiences evoke within us an overwhelming delight and thoughts so profound that their meaning is revealed to us only in our dreams.

Matt has a vivid awareness of the fragility and ultimately the lack of fulfillment in any cultural tradition that has lost its experience of those unmeasured forces that inspire and bring fulfillment to the human mind and imagination.  Forces that find expression in the vast range of natural phenomena in the heavens and on the Earth.  In the full range of their ever-evolving sequence these phenomena constitute a cosmic liturgy.  Indigenous peoples and the classical civilization in the vital periods of their creativity situate themselves deep within this sacred order of the universe.

"Matt has a vivid awareness of the fragility and ultimately the lack of fulfillment in any cultural tradition that has lost its experience of those unmeasured forces that inspire and bring fulfillment to the human mind and imagination."

In identifying the over-all context of his work, Matt is sometimes considered to be fulfilling a prophetic role and this designation does indicate an aspect of the work of Matt.  Indeed he has critiqued the church in the light of its own most relevant intellectual, spiritual and social exponents in the past.  Yet there is, I believe, a more critical role that Matt is fulfilling within the Christian community, the role of Shaman.  While both Prophet and Shaman have special roles in their relation to the human community, the Shaman is more comprehensive in his field of consciousness.  The prophet speaks somewhat directly in the name of God, the prophet is a message bearer, the prophet is interpreter of historical situations and the prophet critiques the ruling powers.

The Shaman functions in a less personal relationship with the divine.  He is more cosmological, more primordial, personally more inventive in the source of his insight and his power.  Matt speaks of his teaching as Creation Spirituality, it seems to me, because he feels the need to understand the deep experience of the human soul within the sacred dimension of the universe itself.  That Matt has consistently used the word ‘Creation’ in identifying his work indicates the cosmic orientation of his thinking.  By the term ‘creation spirituality’ he turns the western mind away from its exclusive redemption fixation to the more primordial experience available for the Western soul in the universe itself."

--Dr. Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work and The Dream of the Earth

Matthew Fox teaches on the forthcoming course 'Eco-Spirituality, Creation Spirituality: Exploring Eco-Mystics and Becoming Eco-Warriors'