When it was invited to be part of a thirty 30-day “blog tour” for Matthew Fox’s re-released “Confessions ,” I had two simultaneous responses: “Of course!” and “I don’t have time; it’s right in the middle of a high travel phase for me and conflicts with what little time I have before the end of the year to work on my own book.” Then then the thought occurred to me: “Wait. I don’t have to re-read the book. I know this man!”
I first met Matt in Denver after hearing him speak for the first time at a crowded auditorium. Sitting up in the balcony I felt intellectually intoxicated and spiritually stimulated. My spirit soared. I waited in line over 30 minutes to introduce myself. When he found out that I also lived in the Bay Area, was Cuban, had studied with the Jesuits, and was living in an ashram at the time, his inquisitive nature must have been intrigued enough because we ended up walking across the street to a park where we sat on the lawn for a couple of hours, sparking a friendship that has lasted almost three decades.
Read his autobiography, by all means. This man is one of the most important writers and theologians of our time. Had he written nothing more than “Original Blessings” and “Cosmic Christ,” that would have been enough of a contribution for a lifetime. As a writer myself who struggles with and resists the process, I find his having written over 30 books both inspiring and incomprehensible.
With their use of dance, music, technology, multimedia, involvement of the body and inclusion of other spiritual traditions, his Techno Cosmic Masses have the potential to do nothing less than reinvent worship for the 21st Century.
Here are a couple of things you probably won’t learn from reading his book, because of his inherently humble spirit. That same humility moves him to engage in profound conversation with a server at a restaurant or a homeless person, and to lie down on the floor and breathe at one of my public breathwork sessions, along with everyone else. He also won’t tell you about his brilliance or inexhaustible intellectual curiosity, his willingness to learn new things and explore alternate spiritualities. Or his courage, not only the courage to confront “Cardinal Rottweiler,” previously head of the Catholic Church’s “office of the Inquisition” and later Pope Benedict XIV—the courage to follow his convictions about issues like feminism and the inclusion of gay people to the degree that it got him kicked out of his religious order, resulting in his abandoning his Catholic roots and switching to the Episcopal Church. But also the courage to dive deep within, look at his own stuff and wrestle with himself.
Matt is a man of conviction and commitment, a passionate soul willing to mortgage his own home and place it at risk in order to support his dream of a conscious, holistic university and an urban community ritual space. He has the heart of an artist and the soul of a dreamer. He is a poet, and not afraid to write from his heart. He generously supports artists who are just getting started, falling in love with their talent and their potential. He sees what many others don’t, consistently crossing boundaries of age gender, religion, and sexual orientation. I have seen him collaborate with theologians and Native Americans elders, imams and rabbis, Yoruba babalawos and Wiccan priestesses, rappers and hip-hop artists, physicists and international corporate executives.
He collaborated with me in creating the Pink Triangle Mass, attended by over 500 people in Oakland, and profoundly impacting many hearts that had been broken and betrayed by religion.
I have also seen him experience and survive big setbacks, like losing the university he birthed and the ballroom he had spent countless hours of sweat labor and tens of thousands of dollars to renovate. Yet he always kept on going, with another book, another dream, another fresh idea no one had thought of before.
For these and many other reasons I feel blessed to know Matthew Fox.
To buy “Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest,” click here