Matthew Fox’s Revised Autobiography Makes for Insightful Reading on Some of My Favorite Topics

My first exposure to Matthew Fox, the eminent spiritual teacher, was at the turn of the Millennium. A friend and mentor bought me a copy of his then recently published book, A Spirituality Named Compassion. I had just discovered Unity and begun to tap into a deep channel of depth spirituality that had been slowly emerging from my lifelong interest in religion.

While I found the book to be difficult reading at times, I stayed with it, re-reading portions of it to appreciate its messages more fully. In the end, the book turned out to be a seminal one on my path; I find myself still quoting it from time to time today.

Over the years, I’ve read several of Fox’s books, attended a workshop and listened to several recordings of Webinars and presentations posted to his Web site and through other sources. I have long considered him a spiritual mentor and guide. His Cosmic Christianity is a clear set of teachings which have become central to my own beliefs and teachings and his innovative thinking about Creation Spirituality is fascinating reading and thinking material.

Front cover of Matthew Fox's Updated Memoir, "Confessions"So it was with great pleasure that I discovered that he has re-issued his autobiographical work, Confessions, first released in 1997 and now updated with five chapters (containing about 200 new pages) of material updating his life’s work in the intervening years.

Because of the overlap of interests, I am particularly drawn to Chapter 17 of his new work. That chapter covers the years 1997-2006 during which he wrote several of my favorite books. The chapter is sub-titled, “Science and Spirituality, Evil, Children, Interfaith, Creativity, New Reformation, and Two Raps”. Long-time readers of my work will quickly see that three of the first four categories of work are in my spiritual wheelhouse.

Fox’s recounting of the famous people he’s met, collaborated with and learned from on these subjects over the course of his storied life makes for insightful reading. His writing style makes me feel like I’m an “insider” with whom he’s sharing stories and feelings that provide rich backdrops against which to read and  understand his work.

Early in the section on science and spirituality — the focus of my work over the last several years — he mentions two of my favorite contemporary thinkers and writers, Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. Their individual and joint work on defining a new cosmology and making it accessible to a broad audience is among the best thinking and writing on the subject of which I’m aware.

He also mentions the work of the husband-wife team of Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams, based at UC Santa Cruz just up the road from me. I recently heard them speak at a local meeting of the Friends of C G Jung group about her latest work, A God That Could Be Real. While I thought some of her ideas were a bit half-baked, I was interested to see that Fox holds them in high regard.

In two extended passages in this chapter of his memoir, Fox discusses spirituality through the eyes of one of my other heroes, Albert Einstein. I’ve read a great deal of Einstein’s thinking on the subject and yet i gained some new insights from Fox’s reporting of experiences with those who knew Einstein well. His discussion of the ambiguous ways in which the physicist described his thoughts about mysticism is particularly engaging.

Fox also discusses his admiration for and collaboration with Rupert Sheldrake, with whom he authored a particularly unusual book entitled The Physics of Angels. The backstory of that project made for quite interesting reading. Sheldrake’s ground-breaking work in field theory has been some of the most exciting original thinking I’ve encountered in many years.

For me, Fox’s most impactful work was The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, in which he began to explore the concept of what he called “deep ecumenism,” by which he meant moving beyond the mere tolerance of interfaith and closer to my newest spiritual passion, interspirituality. He followed up that book with one called One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. He has been a guiding light in that field for many years and I have learned a great deal from his writings.

I could go on and on. And I probably will. 😀 There are many other topics of great interest to me in this book. Overall, it is a remarkable, accessible story of the life of one of our generation’s most thoughtful and influential spiritual teachers, leaders, authors and activists. I highly recommend it. #MatthewFoxConfessions

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