Creation (Centered) Spirituality

Guest Lecture for Western Religions
October 16, 2001 SJSU

EcoChaplain Roger Wharton

Spirituality – what does this word mean?

(Richard Woods) The way of life which a person or group of people have freely chosen. As such it represents their effort to be whole (including ideals, values, patterns, & deliberate living)

It is an examined life, an interior life, a deliberate life.

All things that a person does which attempt to put together all the thing meaningful to their life.

[psychological = integration]

“Spirit indicates an openness to God’s life. Open to and transmitting God’s Life.

Michael Learner (Rabbi) talks of spirituality in this way:

Spirituality is a lived experience, a set of practices and a consciousness that aligns us with a sense of the sanctity of All Beings. It usually involves:

a. an experience of love and connection to the world and to others

b. a recognition of the ultimate Unity of All Beings, and through that, of the preciousness of the Earth and the sanctity of every human being on the planet

c. a conviction that the universe is not negative or neutral but tilts toward goodness and love

d. awe, wonder, and radical amazement in response to the universe and a consequent unwillingness to view the world merely in instrumental terms

e. a joyous and compassionate attitude toward oneself and others

f. a deep trust that there is enough for all and that every human being deserves to share equally in the planet’s abundance and is equally responsible for shaping our future

g. a sense that the world is filled with a conscious spiritual energy that transcends the categories and concepts that govern material reality and inclines the world toward freedom, creativity, goodness, connectedness, love, and generosity

h. a deep inner knowing that our lives have meaning through our innermost being as manifestations of the ultimate goodness of the universe (or, in theistic terms, through our connection to, and service of God)

What is Spirit?

Spirit is the energizing Force behind the process that has produced through 15 billion years from the cosmic bang a universe including the organization of 30 – 70 Trillion cells that we call a human being.

Spirit is the under girding of all that there is, the ultimate substance of the universe, in which all else is grounded.

Spirit is the process of evolution as the universe becomes more loving and caring. Spirit is the process that brings about deeper and deeper levels of knowledge, goodness, and radiant beauty.

Creation Centered Spirituality –

is one spirituality among many — it happens to be the spirituality around which I attempt to organize my life.

there are forms of creation spirituality in many of the world’s religions

it is the basis for much of the world indigenous spirituality — Native American, Bushman, Aboriginal,

I am a person who is most familiar with the Christian expression of Creation Spirituality

but much of what I have to say today is foundational statements about creation spirituality

when you hear me talking about God – Creator, Jesus – Son, and Holy Spirit you will know that I am giving Christians examples and language to the principles of CS

Where did this term come from?

in 1979 – Book — The Spirituality of Compassion and the Healing of the Global Village, Humpty Dumpty, and Us by The Rev’d Dr. Matthew Fox currently an Episcopalian Priest was published

Fox’s greatest gift is one of language and systematization.

He delineated themes and gave names to these themes as he discovered Creation Spirituality buried within Christian Theology and then in other theological traditions

no matter what theology or tradition – the themes of Creation Spirituality are the same

The dominate spirituality (means of organization) in Christianity is the Fall/Redemption model

begins with the idea of “original sin” and that everyone is tainted from birth and has already fallen from the grace of God and therefore must work or “be saved” (made whole)
to be brought back into relationship with God

God {father}, Son -Jesus {redeemer}, Spirit {sanctifier}

Creation Spirituality begins from the first states of the the Hebrew and then later adopted Christian Scripture of the Book of Genesis

Creation = the first sacrament (experiential way of knowing God) is good

through Creation we are connected to all other living creatures (the ecological truth — earth from space icon)

it stress the intuitive experience, connectedness, communion

Trinity — God {creativity}, Son {justice}, and Spirit {imagination}

Creation Spirituality = non-dualistic

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder vs Dancing Sarah’s Circle

see hand out

Creation Spirituality stresses Compassion

compassion in the fullest sense of the word

celebrating with people their highs and lows

not feeling sorry for, but passion with

what gets in the way of compassion

competition — ladder model (power, prestige, possessions)

compulsion — (opposite of compassion, – emphasis on work – never time for play, celebration // and the desire to control others and the world around you

dualism — either/or — both/and – to be able to live with ambiguity or the dialectical (paradox)

The Spiritual Journey
The Life Journey
Eckhart’s Fourfold Path

Path One — The Positive Way

the creative energy of God
earthy, passionate, humility as earthiness, simplicity
Cosmic – harmony, beauty, justice

awe and wonder in creation where every creature is a reflection of God

Diversity is necessary to have a fuller understanding of God

Path Two – The Negative Way

it is touching pain – our own, one’s culture’s, another’s
darkness & nothingness
silence and emptiness
letting go and letting be
pain and suffering is part of our spiritual journey
trusting in own experience
the emptying that precedes birthing

Path Three — The Creative Way

we are co-creators with God
our imagination is inspiration
trust in our images enough to give birth to them
discipline necessary to birth ideas and ride them into existence
seeing the world with non-dualistic terms (the adult journey)

The Fourth Path – The Transformative Way

working for peace and justice as in individual
joining us in this struggle
living with your neighbor
compassion as justice
transformed into Christ-like beings that stand do that things the Christ stood for and did
celebrating our unity – joy, humor,

What does this all mean?

Creation centered spirituality brings together the mystical tradition with the contemporary struggle for justice, feminism, and environmentalis.

Central to the creation spirituality is the gift of awe – a mystical response to creation and the first step towards transformation. Awe prompts indignation at the exploitation and destruction of the the earth’s people and resources. Awe leads to action.

Creation Spirituality challenges people of every religion, spirituality, and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and all the people who inhabit it as a gift of a good and just creator.