A brief introduction to Creation Spirituality
The simplest definition of Creation Spirituality is that it is both an ancient theological framework as well as a more contemporary spiritual movement in large part, thanks to Mathew Fox, although he would likely beg to differ. Its viewpoint is largely panentheistic. and as such is characterized by deep awe for natural life.
Creation Spirituality sees God from a much more mystical viewpoint and less from the more traditional, orthodox view of contemporary Christianity.
Diving into the meat of the matter. Creation Spirituality fundamentally relieves around the idea of “Orginal Blessing,” that is that creation itself is fundamentally good and worthy of both celebration and awe. It is from this that all other ideas within Creation Spirituality framework flow. In contrast the view of “Original sin” which became the dominant view of modern Christianity through Neoplatonist Saint Augustine.
Although Creation Spirituality has been around for literally thousands of years, it has only recently reentered popular culture as I mentioned before by Fr. (Former) Mathew Fox, he originally framed it inside of a primarily Judeo-Christian framework. In truth, Creation Spirituality is NOT explicitly Christian or Jewish but fits more in a deeply non-denominational framework.
On a personal level, I have at my deepest core always identified as Pagan at least since my earliest sense of my spirituality. I have also identified as Catholic and had struggled for the longest time with integrating those two aspects of Truth into my life. I discovered Creation Spirituality with the publication of Original Blessing back in the late ’80s, I had an aha moment because Creation spirituality meshed both aspects of what resonates as Truth for me, the Pagan and the Catholic. For me, Creation Spirituality is the bridge that brings the two together. I personally find it to be the best theological approach towards nature-based spirituality which marries ancient Truths and the earliest ideas in Christian frameworks today.
It will not surprise anyone to hear that Fr Fox was repeatedly silenced and eventually kicked out of the Dominican order on orders from the Vatican in the early 90s.
The modern Roman Church continues to see Creation Spirituality as a threat to its inherent call for mindless obedience to Dogma and Obedience. The official Western traditions, particularly in the America’s brings Hope to those of us that see the transformative power of Creation Spirituality. There is slow and steady progress within Catholicism that leads me to see a future for Christianity were inclusiveness, and true Joy leads to Healing on an individual and Global scale.
After the recent Pennsylvania report that has come out once again a gaping wound has been opened for all to see. I have a few thoughts about this and the reactions from both inside the Church and outside. I’m horrified not only that Priests, Bishops, and others would sexually abuse children but that the Church would knowingly allow it and just shuffle them around to repeat their sickening behavior. It further boils my blood that the Church is supposed to be the moral compass for its members, how can the Church be trusted to provide any moral teaching when the very people espousing the teachings are living a morally bankrupt life themselves. I’m mad, I’m mad as hell about this and deeply pained that the Church I Love has yet to take responsibility, has yet to have a Mea Culpa moment. Still, there is a shifting of blame to individuals but only when there is incontrovertible evidence She cannot deny.
Many have left the Church over this and sadly many more will continue to leave. This too is deeply painful, how can change happen if you do not stay and be the Change that must happen for the Bride of Christ to be all that she must be. If the Church and Her teachings are true (and I believe they are) How can people as deeply angry and pained as they find a way to leave? How can you leave if the singular most important teaching that Jesus is Truly Bodily Present in the Holy Eucharist? is True?! What comes to mind is once again Simon Peters response to Jesus, “To Whom shall we go?”. I was raised to Believe that the Roman Catholic Church possesses the fullness of Truth and that all others, by comparison, are but dim reflections. So I find myself in an awkward place, aligned with my Brothers and Sisters who long for the Change, who long for and must demand (quite frankly) for that Mea Culpa without reservation. She must declare herself guilty of betraying the Trust and Faith that has been placed in Her. It is my opinion that it will be only then that Trust can be regained, Forgiveness offered (to the Church) and Healing begins. You cannot heal without first acknowledging you are in need of healing.
My last thought. I’ve done a lot of reading recently about this and one of the things I keep reading from those inside the Body of the Church some of whom complain that there is too much attention being focussed on the Catholic Church. So what! It’s not the attention being focussed on the Church that’s the problem, it is the acts that were done and covered up that are the problem. The Church is not the victim here, She is the perpetrator and the one in need of forgiveness and Penance. The Sooner she realizes this the sooner, forgiveness, healing, and growth will happen.
I have a confession. Not anything lascivious or immoral. I have every good intention to go to Mass on Sundays, but I don’t. It’s not because I don’t enjoy the Mass, I do, very much. Maybe I should start with all of the things I love about the Mass. I love the flow of the Mass, the reliability of knowing where in the celebration we are, the responses back and forth between priest and the people of God. I Love receiving Communion where it is both a shared experience reminding us we are all One Body of Christ and where it is also the most deeply intimate moment with Our Lord. Here’s a few things that keep me from Mass, in some cases laziness and this ones on me. There is no way to make this look pretty. Lately however it’s a two fold thing, it’s the priests and where I’m at on a Spiritual level. It was not that long ago the church I attend had (two) amazing dynamic priests. Their homilies were on point and useful, not the far too common bland and wordy retelling of the readings without any meat to bring into our daily lives. When the priests offered Mass you could sense, you could tell they were in the moment, in the words and prayers they were uttering on the congregations behalf. This changed late Spring a year ago, one of the priests was reassigned to a different, though somewhat local parish and the other inexplicably took a personal leave of absence (that is a whole different post). The second reason is that while I love all of the things I had mentioned at the beginning, I get fatigued with not feeling truly a part of the community I worship with,. I get fatigued with not being able to truly share my life and my marriage with my congregation. I guess it boils down to this sense that I am a discordant cog in an otherwise beautiful wheel. I stay because it is the only way to bring about the Change I Hope and believe will come.
There is a Spirit of change happening in the Church. One of the reasons I started this blog was because as a gay Catholic I’ve always felt bit double minded, like so many of my brothers and sisters who have heard all of the very loud voices from within the Church telling me how much we’re NOT welcome but that still small voice in our heads would say “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal life” John 6:68 . I have fortunately always been a bit deaf to the opinions of others. One of my good friends and I got into a conversation years ago at one of our weekly after-work get togethers (for cocktails) on the Seattle waterfront. It radically altered my thinking about the Church. She said “Be the Change You want to See”. It made all the sense in the world to me and has stuck with me ever since. This blog was started with this idea in mind and has recently relaunched. I am hoping that it can become a place for those of us that still identify as Roman Catholic and Gay can form a community to share our experiences and ideas and get news. If you haven’t already please signup and of course follow on the usual suspects. Thanks and Blessings – Ken
A Catholic parish in San Diego hosted a special Mass recently to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “Always Our Children,” the U.S. bishops’ document addressed to parents with lesbian and gay children and to pastoral ministers. Attendees at the LGBT welcome Mass hosted by the Diocese of San Diego Bishop John Dolan, auxiliary bishop of…
Eat real food that makes you feel good from the inside out! That’s my motto and that’s why I’m sharing with you these delicious protein-packed lunch combinations that won’t leave you feeling like you just ate rabbit food or leave you hangry before you know it. I love this quote from Chris Rocchio – “If you […]
Since the Inauguration there have been a number of Executive orders handed down that go against all things good and healing, against all things American. So much so that the current Pontiff, Francis has had to speak out against actions this newly enacted cabinet has taken. Francis has gone so far as to call Trump or anyone taking the actions against refugees, against humans, Unchristian. For a pontiff who has said, “who am I to judge”, this is a bold statement. Most everyone saw the storm in the candidate that the Republican party put forward, but I don’t think they thought, anyone thought, that he would win the Presidency. He is doing all that he said he would do and so for those reasons People of good Will need to band together, we need to speak out loud, reminding him and his cabinet that WE are the People, We are good and kind and welcoming to all. The next four years are going to be long but if we band together and let our voices be hear, our votes be heard, if we take action, the tide will be turned. A rebuke will be heard and delivered. The midterm elections here aren’t that far away. I will stand for Woman’s choice, for GLBT choice and the poor who’s voice is too often muffled and for the emigrant who is being pushed away from the safety of our shores.
Driving home at night was always my time with God. I would go over the events of the day, bring my intercessory prayers and work/wrestle out ideas with logic and love. Sometimes we’d even argue. On this night God and I were having a pretty intense conversation about work, my feelings, my many many frustrations with it. As it turns out it really felt like something shifted that night but I wasn’t sure what except that I knew things would be changing. It didn’t take long to find out what and when. The next day when I got to my job of eight years it became very apparent that I just couldn’t stay any longer. Between the odd schedule, odd hours, the long commute and lack of opportunity. It’s been an interesting journey since then. It’s forced me in a way to look at myself, to look at all of the changes that have happened since I decided to move back to Los Angeles from my comfortable life in Seattle. My relationship with god otherwise known as the elephant in the room has changed throughout my life (how could it not?) . Here I was again beginning to take a look at not just this relationship but my relationship to all that I’ve known, people, the space I live in. I’m convinced that God is about all our relationships including ourselves and its were we “touch” and “see” the face, the Will of “All That IS”. So I’ve been learning just how much deeper MY faith as a Catholic is. I’ve been learning just how much deeper MY belief in a Panentheistic God(dess) is. The two are not mutually exclusive BTW. For many many many years I have allowed catholicism as an organization as a religion to define itself, or rather to be defined by its Hierarchy. The same thing has been true of Paganism, of the Craft. I have my beliefs, my shared experiences with both and have learned that I get to not only define the drawings but do the coloring as well. The greatest source of pain for me within catholicism has been and remains that I as a gay married man cannot be fully embraced as equal within the church organization. I have struggled with this for years. I am learning to be ok with this. I’m being the change I want to see, as my wise friend Trish, a Catholic convert btw pointed out to me when I shared this with her over a few too many cocktails at Seattle’s Emmet Watsons one day after work.
So this is some of what’s been going on internally for me the last two months. I’ve been defining what the coloring book for work is going to look like, who’s in it, what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be doing it. I’ve wanted to make the transition to work that focuses on my strengths, abilities and most importantly my interests. You and I in this post industrial world spend most of our waking hours engaged in relationships with those we work with. I’d prefer at this point in my life that it was with people who have a somewhat shared sense of purpose. I’d rather it was with people I genuinely want to be around. I mean really, who wants to go to work with people you’d rather divorce? So on Yule this year true to God’s sense of humor and irony, on both the shortest day of the year where the Light is at it’s weakest and yet also finds its own renewed strength to conquer the Darkness around itself and increase, I was given a job offer that fits almost every bit of the coloring book I’ve been creating these past two months. I start at the beginning of this year. I’m excited, looking forward to meshing with my new co-workers and sharing my talents to make a difference in the lives of those I touch.