Interview with Matthew Fox
Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed theologian, episcopal priest, and activist. He is the keynote speaker at Common Dreams 2019.
He is the author of more than 35 books on spirituality and contemporary culture, among them: Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, his books have been translated into 60 languages.
Insights recently had the opportunity to interview Rev. Dr Fox about the upcoming conference.
What can people expect from your address to the Common Dreams conference?
I am pleased that Australians continue to appreciate the depth and timeliness of engaging anew in the Creation Spirituality movement and lineage. Clearly the travail of Mother Earth and all her creatures, humans included, suffering at the hands of Climate Change and so much else that is being lost from insects to polar bears, from coral reefs to elephants, from tigers to whales, is trying to wake us up from our anthropocentric slumber and what Pope Francis rightly calls our narcissism as a species.
Now we are told by the UN and by scientists that we have less than 12 years to change our ways and many people and so-called “leaders” wallow in denial. One wonders if Andriene Rich’s observation that patriarchy is committed to “fatalistic self-hatred” is not altogether inaccurate. What else can explain the willingness to not respond to such an apocalyptic moment as this?
I hope to lay out some good news and signs of hope that can get our species back on track so that love of existence–biophilia–can stand up to the necrophilia that so readily dominates.
Have you long been aware of the conference and what is it like to be involved?
I met some leaders of the conference two years ago at an event in Seattle and they responded positively to my presentation at the time and have met with them since so I am inspired that an interfaith group in Australia that is wrestling with the important issues of our day has invited me to participate. Religious people as well as non-religious people have to deepen and get more in touch with our spiritual depths if it is to contribute to solutions to our problems today and I am hopeful that such a conference as this can contribute to that change in consciousness or metanoia.
You clearly maintain a busy speaking schedule with some interesting destinations. Can you tell me a little about that?
I just returned last night from a one week gathering and workshop in Erfurt, Germany that was held in the very Dominican priory where Meister Eckhart lived, worked, taught and prayed for many years as prior and as vicar provincial. It was undamaged throughout these past seven centuries which is truly amazing. Needless to say the workshop was on Eckhart and his stunning and deep wisdom derived from a profound commitment to social justice, gender justice, cosmology and ecology and, as I lay bare in my most recent book on him, Meister Eckhart: A Spiritual Warrior for our Times, his deep ecumenism or interfaith. In that book I put him in the room with Rabbi Heschel, Thich Naht Hanh, Carl Jung, Black Elk, Rumi and Hafiz, Coomeraswami, Adrienne RIch and others demonstrating how deeply ecumenical he is. I don’t know any thinker/practitioner alive today or any in history who was claimed by Buddhists, Hindus, Sufis, and more.
I also lectured in Dublin where we experience an exciting response to our new Order of the Sacred Earth and an invite to return next summer to lead a Cosmic Mass, our first in Europe.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have wonderful memories of my many previous visits to Australia including a one week workshop attended by hundreds when I brought some of my faculty there with me about twenty years ago. I have always found a deep response to my work there and among the Australian students who attended my programs over the years (including three in Erfurt this past week).
Of course the aboriginal wisdom is so valuable to get us to think in a more-than-anthropocentric way and I am very grateful to Eddie Kneebone and other aboriginal teachers who have blessed me and others with their wisdom over the years. So of course I am looking forward to attending and hope we can reach the newest generation since they have the most to lose in the present context of Climate Change and the rest that are near to apocalyptic.
The Common Dreams 2019 conference takes place from 11-14 July. For more information, visit the official website here.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor
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