A New Reformation

ORDER MATTHEW FOX’S NEW BOOK “A NEW REFORMATION!”, PUBLISHED BY WISDOM Inner Traditions BY CALLING Friends of Creation Spirituality AT 510-835-0655 OR e-mailing 33dennis@sbcglobal.net

A NEW REFORMATION!
Table of Contents
I. The Reformation Yesterday and Today
II. Two Christianities:Time For a Divorce?
III.Fundamentalists in Their Own Words
IV. 95 Theses or Articles of Faith for a Christianity for the Third Millennium
Epilogue–Passing from Modern to Postmodern Religion

Like Luther, I present 95 theses or in my case, 95 faith observations drawn from my 64 years of living and practicing religion and spirituality. I trust I am not alone in recognizing these truths. For me they represent a return to our origins, a return to the spirit and the teaching of Jesus and his prophetic ancestors, and of the Christ which was a spirit that Jesus’ presence and teaching unleashed.

1 God is both Mother and Father.

2 At this time in history, God is more Mother than Father because the feminine is most missing and it is important to bring gender balance back.

3 God is always new, always young and always “in the beginning.”

4 God the Punitive Father is not a God worth honoring but a false god and an idol that serves empire-builders. The notion of a punitive, all-male God, is
contrary to the full nature of the Godhead who is as much female and motherly as it is masculine and fatherly.

5 “All the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves.” (Eckhart) Thus people who worship a punitive father are themselves punitive.

6 Theism (the idea that God is ‘out there’ or above and beyond the universe) is false. All things are in God and God is in all things (panentheism).

7 Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or lover of life alive.

8 All are called to be prophets which is to interfere with injustice.

9 Wisdom is Love of Life (See the Book of Wisdom: “This is wisdom: to love life” and Christ in John’s Gospel: “I have come that you may have life and have it in
abundance.”)

10 God loves all of creation and science can help us more deeply penetrate and appreciate the mysteries and wisdom of God in creation. Science is no enemy of
true religion.

11 Religion is not necessary but spirituality is.

12 “Jesus does not call us to a new religion but to life.” (Bonhoeffer) Spirituality is living life at a depth of newness and gratitude, courage and creativity, trust
and letting go, compassion and justice.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “A New Reformation

  1. Review

    In 1517, Martin Luther nailed to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 theses calling for a Reformation in the Catholic Church. During the week of Pentecost 2005, former Dominican priest, Matthew Fox nailed his 95 theses on the door of the same Church, calling for a new Reformation of the Catholic and Protestant Church. His book is the story of the context and text of that action.

    Matthew Fox was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1967. In the 1970's he developed the theology of Creation Spirituality which is rooted in the early Jewish-Christian wisdom tradition that was recovered and celebrated by the mystics of medieval Europe. It has been said that "Creation Spirituality provides a holistic perspective from which to address the critical issues of our times, including the honoring of the feminine, the celebration of hope, the promotion of social and ecological justice and the promotion of interfaith understanding." In 1977, Fox formed an Institute in Culture and Creation, located in Chicago for seven years and later in Mundelein College in Oakland, California.

    In 1988, because of his controversial teachings, he was forbidden to teach theology by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. And in 1992 he was dismissed from the Dominican order. In 1994, he was received into the Episcopal Church by Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Diocese of California. He founded the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California, in 1996, now Wisdom University in January 2005.

    In 2005, he traveled to Germany to make a presentation on Pentecost Sunday and lead a workshop at the Bad Herrenalb Healing Center in Frankfort. As he prepared for his address he felt he could not speak on the Pentecost theme of the birth of the Church because Cardinal Ratzinger had just been elected to the papacy and he had received many e-mails deploring the event. He writes, "How could I steer in positive directions people's moral outrage? What of the fact that Ratzinger was the first German-born pope in six hundred years and I was to address Germans? How candid could I be with my German audience?" Facing this dilemma he was moved to prepare some theses that would speak to his concerns and those of the people from whom he was hearing. He did so and made arrangements to have his 95 theses translated into German and nailed to the door of Wittenberg Church where Martin Luther had nailed his 95 theses five-hundred years ago. He believes that his theses "represent a certain reformation – and indeed transformation – of church and religion for our time."

    2.

    It is his conviction that the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism are both in need of "a new Reformation and new transformation." He believes that for a new Reformation to take place we must acknowledge that there are two Christianities in our midst. He writes, "One worships a Punitive God and teaches the doctrine of Original Sin….The other Christianity recognizes the Original Blessing from which all derives." He devotes a short chapter to describing the two and a long chapter to describing fundamentalists in "their own words." This is the context in which he presents his "95 Theses or Articles of Faith for Christianity in the Third Millennium" which are printed on forty-eight pages of the book. He writes of them, "These have been drawn from my sixty-five years of living and practicing religion and spirituality. I trust I am not alone in recognizing these truths. For they represent a return to our origins, to the spirit and teachings of Jesus and his prophetic ancestors, and to the Christ unleashed by Jesus' presence and teachings."

    If the theses were presented, discussed and debated in enough churches, Christianity would be renewed. Before the presentation of the 95 theses Matthew Fox raises a question: "Can it (the church) take from its past only what is wise and move into a new age with a renewed commitment to sustainability for the earth and justice for the earth's people?" Here is first thesis, "God is both Mother and Father."

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