The Two Goals of a Healthy Community:
Becoming Mystics, Becoming Prophets

Matthew Fox speaks to the function of a healthy community in fostering mysticism and prophecy at the first Christ Path Seminar

As we open our conversation here on Patheos, I want to talk concretely about those who are in communities, whether those communities be parishes or base communities that you’re starting up, or whether you’re just waiting for an inspiration about what really will be your connection. I want to ask the questions: What is a parish? What is a caring community? What does a community do for us, what do we do for the community?

I say there are two things involved in any healthy community. First, it produces lovers—it turns on the mystic or the Cosmic Christ in every person. That’s what a healthy community in the spirit of the Christ Path is doing. Secondly, it produces prophets—that is to say, spiritual warriors. The mystic says yes, the prophet says no. The prophet, as Rabbi Heschel says, interferes with that which is interfering with the glory, the sacredness of life—that which is crucifying the Christ all over again.

And we have to get over this idea that only Jesus died on the cross. Rainforests are dying on the cross, polar bears are dying on the cross. You know, let’s get into 2013. All the sins of the world did not happen at the hands of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. There’s a lot happening at the hands of the Wall Street empire, the American empire, and other empires of our day.

Do you know that every time Jesus used those words, the “kingdom of God,” he knew he was taking on the Roman Empire. He knew that, and everyone who heard him knew that, because he was among this tribe, the Jewish tribe who were completely subjugated by the Empire at that time.  Let’s get over the psychologizing of religion and this “Jesus saves me” and “Jesus is my best friend” stuff.  There’s something more serious going on here, and especially at this time in history, because our species, this planet as we know it, is running out of time.

We’re the first species in four and a half billion years of this planet that can choose not to go extinct. Of course, we haven’t made that choice yet.

For me, this Christ Path movement is about making that choice. If the word Christ carries still too much baggage, then you can call it Cosmic Wisdom. But as a Christian myself, I’m responsible, I feel, for my lineage, and I’ve got to shake it up and I’ve got to stand up and be counted.  Jews have to do that in their lineage, Buddhists in theirs, Muslims in theirs, or we’re not going to make it as a species. As I wrote years ago in my Coming of the Cosmic Christ book, there’s no such thing as a Roman Catholic rainforest, a Buddhist ocean, a Baptist sun, and a Methodist moon. Once we reset, like a diamond, our religious traditions in the authentic context of creation, which is 13.8 billion years older than any Bible or sacred texts on the earth, everything starts over. Our renaissance is staring us in the face.

Thomas Aquinas said: “Revelation comes in two volumes: the Bible and nature.” So much of modern religion, modern Christianity, has been all text-oriented because, of course, the modern era began with the invention of the printing press. The Bible was disseminated broadly which was great. We must also recover a premodern consciousness like Aquinas had that nature itself is revealing the divine to us on a daily basis. This is the wisdom tradition of Israel, which is the tradition of Jesus. All the scholars today agree he comes from that tradition. It’s not the tradition of the biblical book—it’s the tradition of the sacredness of nature.

I say we have to exegete—that means to study hard—not just the Bible book but nature itself. And for that we need scientists. Scientists are the exegetes of nature. But it’s not enough to study just nature—we have to study human nature, psychology. We have to exegete human nature. Thirdly, we have to exegete human culture—art. I called on Mary Oliver previously to teach us who the Cosmic Christ really is. We have to call on our artists, our filmmakers, our poets, our dramatists, our painters and the rest, and our musicians, to assist us to exegete the revelation that human nature is and human culture is.

It is this broad opening of our hearts to the sacredness of this journey, this 13.8 billion-year journey, that is staring us in the face, and that is inviting us with joy, with promise, with hope, to start over. And that’s what I hope we can do together in our time together here in this program, the Christ Path Seminar.

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To learn more  about the upcoming Christ Path Seminar weekend being offered online and on-site in Pittsburgh, PA, 6/28/30, see http://www.christpathseminar.org/ai1ec_event/cosmic-christ-and-the-historical-jesus/?instance_id=123

To order the complete 12-DVD set of recordings from the first Christ Path Seminar weekend – including Dr. Fox’s delivery of the full introductory address from which this post is clipped, see http://www.christpathseminar.org/participate-by-dvd/

 

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About Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox – author, educator, activist, and spiritual pioneer – has spent the past 40 years doing the culture-changing work to lay the foundation for the values of a new generation. As today’s leading voice of the ancient mystical Christian tradition of creation spirituality, he has helped to midwife the birth of a movement that celebrates embodied spiritual practice, oneness with creation, personal awareness, educational empowerment, and social, environmental, and gender justice.


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