The Making of a Postdenominational Priest
A book review that 'makes sense of it all!'
I had the good fortune to be raised in the Catholic tradition. However, I always ‘blurred my eyes’ (by squinting through my eyelashes) and discerned what the priests and nuns ‘really’ meant. Sadly though, I wasn’t permitted to be an alter-girl, since the church dictate was only men, made in His image (so the priest told me) could go beyond the communion rail. I thought for a while I’d be a nun, but then, I did like boys. So, by the late seventies, I found a home in the Episcopal Church and attended a series by one of the first thirteen ordained women, Laura Frasier (RIP). Fearless and passionate, she was known to push the envelope, inviting us to look at the history of spiritual consciousness in an evolving, Earth centered way. She had us gaze into one another’s eyes, to see the Divinity in each one. Not only did she open my heart, she was my gateway to the mystic and visionary, Dr. Matthew Fox.
Having many fabulous years as a lay minister in the Unity Church, and later dancing my way through 20 years of my own ministry ‘Conscious Connections Community,’ Matthew Fox has been a spiritual hero, guide, and proof that there is life after the Catholic Church.
Currently submerged in the life and teachings of Hildegard of Bingen, I took a break to read an early release of Dr. Matthew Fox’s ‘CONFESSIONS: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest.’ Of course, I met up with Hildegard throughout his often witty but deeply humble autobiography. Throughout his book I found spiritual nourishment in recurrent themes, both from what I thought the nuns and priests ‘really meant,’ to all I’ve come to understand in my almost seventy years. An experiential understanding of the Divine resonates from his soul to mine.
Fox tells us about his early inspirational years with his family and church. So ‘ordinary’. So easy to identify with. Then we find ourselves plunging into his not-so-ordinary travels through the years, trying to integrate spirituality back into religious practices. He states: “Without spirituality we, all of us and especially rationalists, fall back on piety. The soul shrinks. The heart aches. We become cosmically lonely. Cosmically afraid.”
I found my soul so soothed, my heart hopeful. I face the work I do with Suicide Prevention and Hospice Grief Support with more courage and conviction with Dr. Fox’s words: “It is not silence we are bound to observe, but listening. Listening to God. In others, in ourselves, all about us. How many talks I have heard on silence which themselves betrayed the act of listening. For silence is for listening. And to listen is to love.”
I am especially enthused by these words: “Meanwhile, the need for a spirituality which can heal Mother Earth and usher in an era of a global renaissance goes on. I am proud to be part of that movement. I encourage those who have found a spiritual home in creation spirituality to continue to speak out from a place of ‘inner wealth,’ as Eckhart says.”
I so highly suggest this is a must read for those who want to go deeper in their own spiritualty, to see into the life, works, and thinking of a true modern Christian Mystic.