1- What is Creation Spirituality


Hello and welcome to Wisdom's Cry. 

[00:00:36] "Does not wisdom cry and understanding put forth her voice." 

[00:00:43] This is the podcast where we tried 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 name C. E. Dorsett. It's my first two initials Charles Eric and I wanted to start this podcast off as we're starting a new phase of the podcast going to a daily format. We'll be doing 22 minutes a day, taking a topic breaking it down over a week and really, really getting into it and trying to discuss it to the best of our ability. I look forward to your comments you can follow me @WisdomCriesOut over 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.

[00:01:34] 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.

[00:01:59] 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 and 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 in his many, many, many books and I highly recommend that you read them if you haven't already.

[00:02:35] Creation spirituality. We are not talking about the world being 6000 years old. We're not. We don't believe that. In fact as a big part of the creation spirituality movement we believe that you need to be keyed in to science. You need to understand the world as it is and that's a big part of what we're 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 enlightenment and just so you know I'll probably be shortening that to C.S. So if you heard me say C.S. I'm referring to creation spirituality that is a big phrase to say repeatedly.

[00:03:39] I really believe that the purpose of all spirituality is to achieve a form of illumination: to find unity with God and I am primarily a Christian and you will hear a lot of this coming from my Catholic Christian perspective and that's why I wanted to make a distinction here.

[00:04:03] Creation spirituality has some core concepts and that's kind of what we're going to be talking about in this podcast. And 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 Saint Louis de Montfort, as I like to say St. Louis de Monfort, if you want to say it like an English person. You know that that's kind of where I'm coming from. And I think it's important for me to say that 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. So take that for what it is but I think we're the only creation spirituality podcast out there. So I wish I could tell you of another one of these you could hear this from other perspectives as well. If you know of any please let me know. Go to Wisdom's Cry click the contact button. You can tell me there or just hit me up on Twitter. Either way I would love to know if there are other creations spirituality podcasts because I would like to listen to them. I've looked for them and I can't find them. That's one of the reasons why we're doing this.

[00:05:27] When we say creation spirituality one of the main things that we're 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, and 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.

[00:06:11] Now having said that we do believe in what we call the original wound. For me I believe this is something that happens to most of us in childhood. The moment that we lose our 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 of different ages and it affects us for the rest of our lives.

[00:06:36] So having said that one of the 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 creation spirituality and the fall redemption tradition that you may be used to when you hear people talk about Jesus or you hear people talking about Christianity in general because there are a lot of differences. And it's, you know, something that we should really try to make it clear that people understand.

[00:07:15] Ok, so let's start with who are the key proponents of this ideology.

[00:07:21] 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 early Church Fathers. It really steps up in the medieval period and kind of comes to its zenith in the period of the Reformation where you have people like you know Martin Luther and John Calvin and Zwingli and the rest who become obsessed with the idea of the depravity of the world, the evil of the world, 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.

[00:08:31] You find the creation centered tradition primarily in the Yahwist writer of the Pentateuch anytime time you see the divine name used. You're often hearing the voice of creation spirituality. You find this spoken so clearly and eloquently in the Wisdom tradition and in the psalms as I was just saying, in the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sira 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 is eroticism, there is a celebration of sexuality in the Bible.

[00:09:14] So how did we get to a place where sexuality is in and of itself demonized. Well, it's a 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. Oh mortal but that you do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before your God (Micah 6:8)." This is what the prophets 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 prophet telling us that at our very nature we are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before our God. That is all that God asks of any of us.

[00:10:29] It is the voice of Jesus. It is the powerful, the pervasive voice of Jesus, who in every one of his parables tells us 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 and that we are part of the Divine Family.

[00:11:06] 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 (Romans 6:15)!" 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 captive. He tells us that whatever is not of conscience is sin. 

[00:11:34] We see this in the works of St. Benedict, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen, and St. Francis of Assisi, and St Thomas Aquinas, and Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, St. Nicholas of Cusa, Teilhard de Chardin, Father Chenu, and so many others throughout the history and so many more today who are embracing this form of spirituality.

[00:12:03] Now the main difference between fall redemption spirituality and creation centred spirituality is this: St Augustine tells us that faith is thinking with assent. That you think about something and you assent to it. You just say you know I heard this thing and OK. That lets us off the hook. That's easy faith. That's cheap faith. That is, you know, Bonhoeffer talks a lot about cheap faith and how it corrupted and destroy the church of his own time. And I would tell you that it's doing the same today. But here we are still preaching this cheap faith. You just hear the words and you say OK, alright, I guess that's the way it is. No, in the creation centered tradition. Faith is trust. That's a big difference.

[00:12:57] If I tell you I have faith in the church it's because I trust that everyone in the CSC the creation spirituality communities is doing their best to make the world a better place and I really truly believe that I wouldn't have joined if I wasn't sure that that was the case.

[00:13:17] I have faith in my husband. I know that he loves me. I know that we have been together for 19 years and I know that that faith has been returned over and over and over again. I trust him.

[00:13:32] I trust in God because in my darkest hours and in my greatest triumphs I have experienced the presence of the Divine. And sometimes that's really really hard. When my mother 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. But 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 it. I have experienced it. I have seen it in my own life and you can too.

[00:14:17] Trust is so much harder than assent.

[00:14:21] I trust that Mary prays when I ask her to pray.

[00:14:26] 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. 

[00:14:35] I trust these things not because I heard an idea and said OK that sounds 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. I know and you can too.

[00:15:01] It's a harder faith and that's why I think people prefer to have this idea that you just say OK well if that's what I have to Believe then OK. No it's not OK. You have to seek out. You know the apostle Paul said, Seek out the truth with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)." And you do in those darkest hours when you're asking 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 okay. It's a lot harder to do the work yourself.

[00:15:49] The fall redemption path tells us to control our passions. Christian spirituality tells us to embrace ecstasy, to embrace eros, to celebrate passion itself. Now that doesn't mean that we go crazy. We have morals. We have ethics but passion- Read the Song of Songs, read the Song of Solomon whatever it's called in your Bible read it. 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.

[00:16:27] The fall redemption school tells us that God is Father. While we agree that God is Father, God is also mother, God is 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's a huge difference.

[00:16:53] In the fall redemption world we are 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 a the ultimate divine purpose. Suffering is just.. suffering as 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's so much easier to tickle people's ears was 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 groan with her.

[00:18:34] In the fall redemption tradition. It always begins with sin, the fall, the darkness, the Breaking, the badness the evil. In the creation spiritual tradition, we believe that it began with the word of God, the creative energy of God that gives life to all things. It makes things whole.

[00:19:02] We do not believe as they do that 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 you don't just give into it. You find the good and the holy and the strong way through it.

[00:19:24] 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 (John 10:16). We are universalist in this respect.

[00:19:40] We believe that Jesus is the Cosmic Christ. He is the one who holds the universe together. He makes it with his word.

[00:19:53] We believe in art as a form of spirituality. They believe in building up a church we believe in building out the kingdom of God, the Imperial realm of God, the perfect world of Godm the pure land of God. 

[00:20:12] 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. 

[00:20:26] There are a lot of differences. I wanted to go through some of these because this school of thought that we are different from is one rooted in guilt and redemption who should feel guilty. Just this weekend I heard Ravi Zacharias talking about guilt and how guilt is the basic mindframe of the universe and he basically gave in to it and said that you should accept that you're guilty and just repent. That's not what we believe. We believe that you should give thanks, you should 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.

[00:21:18] They believe that God is out there. We believe that God is in all things and all things are in God.

[00:21:29] And that's a little bit of the difference between creation  spirituality and the fall redemption mode.

[00:21:36] Now for the rest this week we're going to go into some of the core thoughts of creation spirituality which is the four paths of creation spirituality. The four via. The via positiva, the way of bliss; the via negativa, the silent way; the via creativa, the creative way; and 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. And I invite you to come and dance with me.

[00:22:06] 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've been looking for for a long time. I know I did about 15 years ago when I first discovered creation spirituality. I found a home, a place where I belong. And I hope that you will too. If not I hope you at least enjoy the discussion. I can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

[00:22:32] You'll find out more over at our website or like I said, you can follow me on Twitter @WisdomCriesOut. You'll also find us on Facebook we're wisdom's cry over there you can follow our page over there. I look forward to the discussion. Leave comments. You can e-mail us.

[00:22:55] I can't wait to hear from you. Anyway, I will see you tomorrow or we will talk about the way of bliss. Until then. Bye. God bless you.