The Absence of Goodness and Absence of the Sacred: Matthew Fox

We are making progress, hopefully, as we begin finally to wake up and look around us and see what destruction we have wrought.

The Absence of Goodness and Absence of the Sacred: Matthew Fox

The very first page of the Bible is a celebration of cosmology, a praise of creation as “good” and “very good.” This is so clear and straightforward and direct that it is amazing that humans—and subsequent interpretations of the Bible—so miss it.

How much of this missing of the primary meaning of the Bible lies at the roots of what humans are busy doing today to the earth—ignoring the suffering we have put her under; in denial about what is happening all around us as droughts, floods, hurricanes, rising of seas, abandoning of islands by humans who have dwelt there for thousands of years?

...Not to mention the most massive extinction spasm of creatures we have witnessed since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago?

Julian of Norwich, whom we invoked as just one among many powerful teachers of the creation spirituality tradition yesterday, tells us that the first duty of the soul is “to reverently marvel.”

Have we been “reverently marveling” lately? I think not. We have been busy raping and mining and taking from the earth with little or no thought of giving back. Thus, planetary desecration. Thus, eco-cide. Thus, the killing of Mother Earth.

Julian also instructs us that “The holiest prayer [is] the loving prayer of thanksgiving.” How present and real has been our thanksgiving for the gifts of existence, of the cosmos, of nature, of the Earth? This is what the Sabbath is all about after all. The story of the establishment of the “sacred Sabbath” is the culmination of the story of cosmology in Genesis 1.

The Sabbath is an occasion for repose and peace in creation and also of thanksgiving for creation. Aquinas says that the primary gratitude we give on the Sabbath is thanksgiving for creation.

We are making progress, hopefully, as we begin finally to wake up and look around us and see what destruction we have wrought.

At least one political party in America—and many others around the globe–is not in complete denial about the killing and rendering extinct of so many species that is happening daily in our acts of matricide and killing of mother earth.

Pope Alexander VI, whose “Doctrine of Discovery” bull justifying seizure of non-Christian lands is still used as international legal precedent. We are paying the price still for fear that took over our species and western civilization in response to the bubonic plague in the 14th century where between 40 and 50% of the population of Western Europe was wiped out. This pandemic had a profound effect on religion which, instead of honouring the goodness and sacredness of nature, fell back into a story of Fear of nature displacing Love of nature; of anthropocentrism displacing creation; of fear of death overriding celebration of life; of redemption replacing creation as the first article of faith.

Sad to say, it was this version of religion that accompanied the slave hunters to Africa and invaders of indigenous lands in the Americas and elsewhere as Europeans set sail in the late fifteenth century to build their empires.

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