Sometimes, I wander book stores, and wait for a book to call to me. Such was the case with Creativity (2002) at Kona Bay Books, our used book store. This topic of Creativity has been part of my psyche for a long time, and Fox spoke to me in this book. The complete title is - Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet. In Fox's view, creativity is not about making stuff "frosting on a cake" (p.31), but put in the context of spiritual practice, it is our true nature, our connection to the divine, a way to connect our humanness to our divinity (as in the subtitle). Since I read his work (still reading as his body of work is HUGE), this has been my approach to creativity. It is fantastic for creativity to flourish but that is not the end. The end is to be an expression of the Divine.
After I read the Creativity book, I realized that I had borrowed a book from a good friend years before, called Original Blessing. I went into my collection, and found it, and sure enough, same author! I did not get very far with it back then. This was an earlier work (first published in 1983), and I guess I wasn't ready for it then. Now that I was primed, I was interested in going deeper into his perspective. The idea of Original Blessing is to counter the idea of original sin, which Fox and other Creation Spirituality practitioners reject. Traditional Christianity, with Catholics and Protestsants, hold that we are born with original sin (because of Eve). Jesus came to give us a way to be "saved" from this horrible fate, and unless we are "saved" by Jesus, we still are sinners, and doomed. This frame has dominated Christianity for hundreds of years, though, as he points out, it is not a concept that comes from Christ's teachings. Fox writes that instead of sin being the true nature of humans, it is goodness. Doesn't this change everything? "This goodness is inherent in the beauty, wisdom, and wonder of creation." (p.7) Here is the connection to creativity, not just exaltation of creation in the natural world, but acknowledging that exercising creativity is how we relate to God, how we express God. I admit, this book is not an easy read, but it provides a nice blueprint for how and why to practice this type of spirituality, based on goodness rather than sin. I appreciate this blueprint, but what I appreciate more than that is the articulation of original blessing. I never did get the logic of original sin, although I did wallow in self-hatred for many years, and even now, there are remnants of it. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I also see that this traditional view of sin is related to hatred and self-aggrandizing righteousness that is seen in evangelical Christianity today, such as in the ones who defy the orders to quarantine and say horrible things like: “The church is the last force resisting the Antichrist, let us assemble regardless of what anyone says,” This dualism in which you have assigned yourself to Christ, and anyone who disagrees with you is the AntiChrist, is a symptom of the system of belief that starts with original sin. Instead of rejecting Christianity altogether, I am glad I found Fox, and am studying his work and others of his ilk more deeply.
Wrestling with the Prophets
So after finishing Original Blessing, I wanted to continue in my study of Creation Spirituality. I went to Kona Bay Books, and chose this one (1995). It is a compilation of "Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life." As in Original Blessing, I am contantly underlining and writing in margins. Wrestling refers to the idea of wrestling with "the Godself" - to wrestle with ideas about God and what it means to be human. When I saw that there were themes having to do with environmental as well as social justice, I had to choose this one, out of many other books that were on the shelf. Every time I read this book, I feel like I am wrestling with these ideas, and developing spiritual muscles. Phrases such as ecological spirituality, native teachings, artistic journey, liberation theology, eco justice are addressed in this collection. In recent times, I have been shocked that evangelicals see environmentalism as evil. I see nothing more sacred that care of our planet, except for care of each other. I need to develop spiritual muscle and rhetoric to advocate for the environment, nature, climate change, Mother Earth!!!!
"The sky god alone cannot awaken the deep levels of creativity and eros for which the modern era has left humanity starving." (p.13)