1- What is Creation Spirituality


Hello and welcome to wisdom's cry.  Doeth not wisdom cry and understanding put forth her voice.  This is the podcast where we try to talk and we try to listen for that elusive voice of wisdom crying out throughout the cosmos to enlighten us all.  My name is Charlie. I am a writer I write under the CE Dorset first initial Charles Eric.

I wanted to start this podcast off as we are starting a new phase of the podcast going to a daily format.  We will be doing 22 minutes a day.  Taking a topic breaking it down over a week and really really getting into it.  Trying to discuss it to the best of our ability. 

I look forward to your comments.  You can follow me @wisdomcriesoutover on twitter.  That's probably the best place for you to get in touch with me and I will respond over there or on this podcast. 

Our topic this week is creation spirituality.

Now, I have to stop right at the beginning here and kind of say this isn't what you might think it is because the word creation gets thrown around a lot these days and it doesn't always mean the same thing depending on who's using it.  Creation spirituality at least as we're using it here is a tradition within the Judeo Christian faith that can be found actually in all faiths.  I believe you could very easily argue that it is part of the perennial philosophy.  The form of original blessing that I will be talking about today is both my ideas as well as those put forward by Matthew Fox and his many many many books.  I highly recommend that you read them if you haven't already. 

Creation spirituality, we're not talking about the world being 6,000 years old.  We are not, we don't believe that.  In fact as a big part of creation spirituality movement we believe that you need to be keyed into science.  You need to understand the world as it is and that's a big part of what were talking about is.  First and foremost, learning to see the world as it is and then living properly within it.  Living a fulfilling spiritual life within it and finding meaning, purpose and eventually enlightenment.  I add the enlightenment. I don't hear a lot of other creation spirituality proponents actually talking about enlightenment. 

Just so you know, I'll probably be shorting that to CS so if you hear CS I'm referring to Creation Spirituality.  It's a big phrase to say repeatedly.

I really believe that the purpose of all forms of spirituality is to achieve a form of illumination.  To find unity with God.  I am primarily a Christian and you will hear a lot of this coming from my Catholic Christian perspective.  That is why I wanted to make a distinction here.   Creatiion spirituality has some core concepts and that's kind of what we are going to talk about in this podcast.  For me I read them very heavily from my experience of the mystical tradition within the Catholic Church primarily that taught by St. Francis of Assisi and those Franciscans who came after him and the teachings of St. Louis or St Louis de Montfort.   That's kind of where I'm coming from and I think it's important for me to say that in the...  right from the beginning because while the core concepts of creation spirituality are the same from practitioner to practitioner the individuation of them can be different.  Take that for what it is.  I think were the only Christian spirituality podcast out there.  I wish I can tell you of another one so that you can hear this from other perspectives as well.  If you know of any please let me know.  Go to Wisdomscry and click the contact button or just hit me up on Twitter.  Either way I would love to know if there are other Creation Spirituality podcasts I would like to listen to them.  I've looked for them and I can't find them.  That's the reason for why we are doing this.

When we say creation spirituality one of the main things that were talking about is the difference between it and the more prevalent view of the fall redemption spirituality.  Fall redemption Christianity teaches that the world is evil.  The world is degenerate.  The world is a foul dark, dark dismal place.  We disagree.  We very wholeheartedly disagree with that because we believe as the original writers of the Hebrew Scriptures believe that the world was created Ki Tov. It was created good.  It was created very good and the world itself is our original blessing.  Now having said that we do believe in what we call them the original wound.  For me I believe this is something that happens to most of us in childhood the moment that we lose our personal innocence the moment that we leave our personal garden of Eden and realize that the world is not all sunshine and roses.  It happens to people at different ages and it affects us for the rest of our life's. 

So having said that, one of things that I wanted to do with this first episode on Creation Spirituality in general is kind of take a little bit of time and discuss the differences between Christian spirituality and the fall redemption tradition that you may be used to when you hear people talk about Jesus or when you hear people talk about Christianity in general because there are a lot of differences.  It's something that we should really try to make it clear that people understand.

Okay so let's start with who are the key proponents of this ideology.  Well you can find traces of it if you really want to look in the Bible but it's not really there.   You have to go to people like Aquinas and various other Church father's.  It really steps up in the medieval period and kind of comes to its zennith in the period of the Reformation where you have people like Martin Luther and John Calvin and Zingley and the rest who become obsessed with the idea of the depravity of the world. 

The evil of the world and that there is no good in the world.  There is nothing of value in the world.  Which if that were true then the psalmist would not tell us to sing with the stars.  The psalmist would not tell us to look at the beauty of nature and see the glory of God.  If the universe were evil it could not reveal the glory of God and it does.  So these people have projected their own sense of inadequacy onto the universe and onto the divine. 

You find the creation centered tradition primarily in the a Jahvist writers of the Pentateuch anytime you see the divine name used.  Your often hearing the voice of creation spirituality.  You find this spoken so clearly and eloquently in the wisdom tradition in the in the Psalms.  In the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,  Ecclesiasticus which is one of my absolute favorite books of the Bible.  You find it in the song of songs which is an erotic poem.  Yes there there's eroticism there's a celebration of sexuality in the Bible.  So how did we get to a place where sexuality is in and of itself demonized?  Lots of projection, lots of projection. 

You see this in the profits.  The voices of Isaiah and Jeremiah.  The voices of Habakkuk and Micah.  This voice that speaks out for the poor.  This voice that speaks truth to power.  This voice that tells us to take care of the widow and the orphan.  This voice that tells us that God doesn't want our burnt offerings and sacrifices.  He wants our love:  "What do I ask of you all mortal but that you do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before your God."  This is what the profits tell us.  That's not an abstract moral code.  That's not an overly intricate religious system that tells us that we must sacrifice and give blood to appease an angry and vicious God.  That is a profit telling us that at our very nature we are to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before God.  That is all that God asks of any of us. 

It is the voice of Jesus.  The powerful, pervasive voice of Jesus who in every one of his parables tells us to look at the seed, look at the farmer, look at the field, look at the birds.  He turns our eyes towards this glorious world.  He tells us not to be anxious for anything.  For if God takes care of the birds how much more will he take care of us.  He tells us that we are loved.  That we are part of the Divine family. 

We see this in the works of Paul who despite how he is often quoted does not tell us how evil and foul we are.  He says look at the law. The law tells us how horrible we are.  Are we under the law, God forbid.  We are under the liberation of the Spirit who comes to bring peace who comes to bring ease who comes to bring release to the captives.  He tells us that whatever is not of conscience is sin. 

We see this in the works of St. Benedict and St. Hildegard of Bingen.  In St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas and Matilda Magdeburg.  In Meister Eckhart,  Julian of Norwich, St. Nicholas of Cusa, Teilhard de Chardin, Father Chenu and so many others throughout history and so many more today are embracing this form of spirituality

The main difference between fall redemption spirituality and creation centered spirituality is this.  Augustin tells us that faith is thinking with asent.  That you think about something and you asent to it.  You just think, I heard this thing and okay, that lets us off the hook.  That's easy faith.  That's cheap faith. Isaac Bonhoeffer talks a lot about cheap faith and how it's corrupting and destroying the church of his own time and I would tell you that it's doing the same today.  Yet here we are still preaching this cheap faith you just hear the words and say: okay, all right, I guess that's the way it is.

No in the creation centered tradition faith is trust.  That's a big difference.  If I tell you I have faith in the church it is because I trust that everyone in the CSC the creation spiritual communities is doing their best to make the world a better place.  I really truly believe that.  I wouldn't have joined if I wasn't sure that was the case.  I have faith in my husband.  I know that he loves me.  I know that we've been together for 19 years and I know that that faith has been returned over and over and over again.  I trust him.  I trust in God because in my darkest hours and in my greatest triumphs I have experienced the presence of the divine.  Sometimes that was really, really hard when my mother has was in the hospital so many times with various ailments over the years.  It's not easy to just have faith.  To believe that everything is happening, as it needs to happen, as it wants to happen, as it is happening.  I know that there is a good God.  I know that there is a God who loves the universe and wants us all brought to him.  I know because I have felt that.  I have experienced it.  I've seen it in my own life and you can too. 

Trust is so much harder than assent.  I trust that Mary prays when I asked her to pray.  I trust that when I partake of the Eucharist that I am partaking of the very body blood soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I trust these things not because I heard an idea and said okay this is interesting but because in my heart of hearts I have experienced the truth of it.  I have sought the truth both logically and...  I know, I know and you can to.  It's a harder faith and that's why I think people prefer to have this idea that you just say okay.  Well if that's what I have to believe than that's not okay.  You have to seek out.

The apostle Paul said seek out the truth with fear and trembling and you do.  In your darkest hours you ask yourself:  Is there a God?  Is there anything out there?  Do I have a soul?  That's not easy.  It's easy to just say, well somebody told me so mm ok.  It's a lot harder to do the work yourself.  

The fall redemption path tells us to control our passions.  Creation Spirituality tells us to embrace ecstasy, to embrace erros, to celebrate passion itself.  That doesn't mean that we go crazy.  We have morals.  We have ethics.  Read The Song of Songs, or the Songs of Solomon or whatever it is called in your Bible.  It is a sheer expression of exuberance, of two lovers finding each other and exploring each other's bodies.  Find passion.  Live passion.  Find strength. 

The fall redemption school tells us that God is father.  While we agree that God is father.  God is also Mother, Goddess, Child.  God is in all of us wanting to be born.  God is mother pregnant with all of us, hoping that we will be born in the fullness of the divine light.  That is a huge difference. 

In the fall redemption world we're told that suffering is the wages of sin.  In creation spirituality we believe that suffering is the birth pangs of the universe.  Suffering is part of life.  Suffering is what gives birth.  Suffering happens.  Suffering does not have an ultimate divine purpose.

Suffering is a thing.  Suffering is something that happens to us and we learn to live with it.  We learn to let go.  That may not be the answer that people want to hear.  It would be so much easier to tickle people's ears by saying:  If you say these magic words all of your suffering will go away, all your pain will go away but it won't.  Those words are a lie.  Storms are terrible things but they renew the earth.  Earthquakes are terrible things but they renew the earth.  Volcanoes are terrible things but they renew the earth.  Suffering is a terrible thing but it renews the earth.  We are in a universe that is trying to be born to its fullest potential and that entails a certain degree of pain.

The universe like a mother in labor is groaning to bring about perfection and we grown with her. 

In the fall redemption tradition it always begins with the fall to darkness.  The breaking.  The badness.  The evil.  In the creation spiritual tradition we believe that it begins with the Word of God, the creative energy of God, to give life to all things.  It makes things whole. 

We do not believe as they do that you must be in control all the time.  We believe in letting go.  We believe in ecstasy.  We believe in breakthrough.  Sometimes you're not in control and you just have to accept that but don't just give into it.  You find the good, the holy and the strong way through it.

Fall redemption is particularistic it says that it is the only place that has truth.  Jesus said he had other sheep that were not of this fold.

We are universalist in this respect.  We believe that Jesus is the cosmic Christ he is the one who holds the universe together he makes it with his word.

We believe in art as a form of spirituality. 

They believe in building up the church.  We believe in building up the kingdom of God.  The Imperial realm of God.  The perfect world of God.  The pure land of God. 

They believe that mysticism is the mortifying of the senses.  We believe that it is letting go of our ideologies and letting God speak to us and through us.

There are a lot of differences.

I wanted to go through some of these because the school of thought that we are different from is one rooted in guilt and how you should feel guilty.  Just this weekend I heard Ravi Zacharias talking about guilt and how guilt is the basic mind frame of the universe and he basically gave into it and said that you should accept that your guilty and just repent.  That's not what we believe. 

We believe that you should give thanks.  You should give praise.  Your entire life should be one of giving thanks to God for all that he is and all that he has done and all that he will ever be.  

They believe that God is out there.  We believe that God is in all things and all things are in God. 

That's a little bit of the difference between Creation Spirituality and the Fall Redemption mode. 

Now for the rest of this week were are going to go into some the core thoughts of Creation Spirituality which are the four paths.  The four vias, which are:  The via positiva the way of bliss.  The via negativa the way of silence.  The via creativa,  the creative way.  And the via transformativa, the way of transformation.  This is the spiral dance that we practice.  It is a spiral dance that informs everything that we do. 

I invite you to come and dance with me.   if you don't like the tune, more power to you that's your decision but I think you might find something here that you been looking for for a long time.  I know I did, about 15 years ago when I first discovered Christian spirituality.  I found a home.  A place where I belong and I hope that you will to.  If not I hope that you at least enjoy the discussion, I can't wait to hear what your thinking. 

You find out more over on the website wisdomscry.com or follow us on twitter @wisdomcriesout  
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We look forward to the discussion.  Leave comments.  You can email us.  I can't wait to hear from you.

I will see you tomorrow where we will talk about the way of bliss until then by God bless you.