inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #126 of 188: one man's astrolabe is another man's sextant (airman) Mon 26 May 03 10:23
    
Logic often fails in spiritual matters as well as regular life.

One has to explore love, compassion, mercy and perseverance to see the
extent to which logic fails. At some point faith becomes stronger than
logic and logic has to be ignored. It's as if certain types of spiritual
thinking are part of a larger order of things.

BTW Jesus confronted the spiritual leaders of his day. In order to
understand his comments in Matthew 23 you need to read the Beattitudes
in Matthew 5 which law the positive groundwork before reading the
complementry negative in Matthew 23.

The last paragraph of #125 is one way of stating the "priesthood of the
believer" theology which is common in protestant groups.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #127 of 188: Matthew Fox (matthew-fox) Tue 27 May 03 10:54
    
I am very moved by the two messages about art as PROCESS, not product,
among the indigenous peoples.  The sandpaintings that are used for
healing and then erased; the murals in the kivas that were used for
ceremonies and then painted over.  It is about letting go and thereby
giving back to the spirits who gave them in the first place.  Yes, we
do need some of this process-infusion in our understanding of art today
which has been distorted by our capitalist system. YET, the artist
needs to make a living--sometimes at one's art sometimes outside it
(T.S. Elliot as bank teller after all).  The spiritual dimension of art
comes through most deeply I believe when we ask ourselves: Would I be
doing this even if I didn't get paid for it? As a writer, I say to
myself: I write books in order to learn.  The fact that I can get a
publisher and have others 'read over my shoulder' is an added benefit. 
As Eckhart says, "we work in order to work" , "we live in order to
live."

About dogma.  Please show me when the word "dogma" ever fell from the
lips of the historical Jesus.  Or is in the Scriptures at all?  Dogma
in its healthy sense is a parameter around a playing field because we
don't play soccer all over the city but on a field.  But within that
field one plays one's heart out.  Dogma evolves as does all culture,
all thought, all religions and the whole universe.  To the fellow
enamored of a rigid Catholicism I suggest reading Cardinal Newman's
classic work on the Evolution of Dogma.

  Dogma in the hands of control-freaks and ex-Nazis is a very
dangerous item indeed. And a complete distortion of any faith claiming
a connection to the Jesus who spoke of Compassion and Love and the
Imitation of God as being at the heart of faith.  Jesus' dogma was love
and justice.

About my own meditation practice.  Nature is key, going where there is
water especially.  Walking on the earth.  Communing with trees and
clouds and rocks and sunshine and animals and plants--they speak to us
at levels that busy humanity seldom does.  Imbibing the new cosmology
and seeing it in action in the form of all these "Cosmic Christs" and
"Buddha Natures" that are everywhere among us, each "doing its best
gladly to express God" (Eckhart).  Every being as a "word of God" a
source of revelation if we allow it into our hearts. Music too.  And
friendship.  And good conversation and good food.  And laughter.

YES, I agree that the art form of political organizing is desperately
needed today.  AND using the media for purposes other than corporate
profit and nationalistic sentimentalisms and empire building
rah-rah-rah. (Which is why I now have a radio program on KEST at 8-9 AM
(1450AM) on Thursday mornings called "Spirit in Action" interviewing
folks who are both doing things and thinking things that can help wake
us up and empower us as citizens.)  Let our political organizing be
from our non-action, i.e. our spiritual and contemplative sides, and
not from action-reaction responses, however.

Matthew
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #128 of 188: Rik Elswit (rik) Tue 27 May 03 11:26
    
" Every being as a "word of God" a source of revelation if we allow it into
 our hearts. Music too.  And friendship.  And good conversation and good
 food.  And laughter."

Funny you should mention that.   My wife and I went out to eat with dear
friends the other night and were just lost in the joy.  And reflecting on
our converstion here, I was struck by the thought that active friendship
can be spiritual practice.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #129 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 12:17
    
Oh without question!!  In my house, the old saying goes, there are
always two cups.

Active friendship as spiritual practice has been one of the most
abiding meditations of my life.  My childhood friend Robin from third
grade is still my friend as we push 50.  I feel absolutely blessed by
this.  Last year he phoned me on my birthday, without knowing it was my
birthday!!  Only entwined souls can master the coincidence of such
things.  And I remember being 16 and talking with my friend Linda.  Her
parents had entertained college buddies the evening before and Linda
was so moved by watching them enjoy each other, that she said to me
that she hoped we would always be friends, and again, both of us
pushing 50, we have remained so.

Because there is something about the reflection of the arc of our
lives that amplifies our self-reflection.  Once, also in our teen
years, we had taken LSD and hiked into the Snake River Canyon where we
watched seven eagles fly over the river and a pack of coyotes lolling
and yelping through the sagebrush desert.  I remember looking at Linda
and having this hallucination that tattoos were spiralling from her
eyes and spreading out over her face.  I know now that what I saw then
was the process of character, the lines that form around the eyes that
prove you have wept, you have laughed, you have let time scratch you,
you have let experience weather you, and I knew then that I would know
Linda for the rest of my life, which has proven to be true.

A clear friend can be a perfect mirror to reflect the processes of
life experience.

  
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #130 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 12:34
    
> I am very moved by the two messages about art as PROCESS, not
> product, among the indigenous peoples.

Then I have done my work, to reach across the ether and offer
something crafted in words in compensation for the many insights and
images you have offered in _Creativity_.  In league with my previous
comment about friendship as spiritual practice, it is reciprocity that
nourishes.  The Quiche Maya call this "mutual indebtedness", a term
akin to the potlatch theory among the Inuit, that if you achieve
bounty, you must give it away, or suffer envy, jealousy, resentment.

One other aspect of how the Maya perceive the process and/or products
of art might be of interest to you.  The energy within the creative
process and the created product is called "chu'lel."  It is a magical
energy found in many things:  in tears, in blood, in semen, to name a
few.  Noted Mayanist Linda Schele taught me that the "chu'lel" could be
thought of as radioactivity because it is invisible but energizes all
things.  But here is what I took note of:  she said it is finite. 
There is only so much "chu'lel" and, thus, part of the parcel of being
a creative individual is to know when to "kill" what you have created
to release the "chu'lel" so that it can be gathered in and used for
some other creation.  This is the tradition of what anthropologists
call "killing the pot" where holes are drilled into the base of a
ceramic plate, let's say, to not only destroy its efficacy as a
utilitarian object, but to also release the energy that was stored in
it, energy that was drawn in to the artist as he or she sang outloud
while gathering the clay to make the pot, to shape it, to fire it. 
Killing the pot is a practice that has been found not only among the
Maya but most Amerindian cultures where ceramics have come into play. 
Possibly, it has a shamanic substratum.

Whether or not it can be proven that "chu'lel" is finite, believing so
inspires a healthy respect.  Ritually acting so inspires an
appropriate deference.

The Maya not only killed pots, but they defaced stelae, burnt altars,
cracked jade objects, and (of course) let blood, all with the
understanding that the energy with which we create and which transfers
into the products we create is never really our own and must be
released now and then so that others can "harvest" it for their own
applications.



 
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #131 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 12:49
    
And finally (I'm in another of my Catholic triptych moods), I am
grateful for your comments to Dan, <dfowlkes>, "the fellow
enamored of a rigid Catholicism".  Primarily I'm glad you responded to
him because he intimated you wouldn't.  Dan and I have gone round and
round so often in the Cross Conference that he has finally earned my
respect for his tenacious (and newly found) faith, but his faith
troubles me as well because somehow, within its very constitution, it
denies access to the table for those who are not adherents of dogma, or
who think that the relationship to divinity should be intrapsychic
rather than a codified relationship to authority figures granted
credence by apostolic succession.

As a child I loved the image of flames dancing on the heads of the
apostles.  As an adult, I eschew it and recognize the danger of such
self-appointed fire.  I hope Dan takes you up on your suggestion (if he
has not already read) Cardinal Newman's classic work on the Evolution
of Dogma.  Then again, isn't "evolution" one of those knee jerk bad
words among staunch Catholics?

The image that strikes me the most in the Christian faith is not the
crucifixion as so many others worship, but the image of sharing a meal
at a table, breaking bread, sharing wine.  It stuns me how many
different ways have been imagined and enforced to deny people the right
to sit at that table.  And, unfortunately, it is dogma that I see used
the most to exercise this misguided practice of exclusion.  In my
heart I have to remember that there are always two cups in my house and
with individuals like Dan I always extend an invitation to come to my
home and to eat at my table, to break bread, so that we leap over all
the conceptual baggage regarding our faith to practice it at its most
simple metaphor.  This links back to all you have written about memory.
 That we share in remembrance of Jesus.  That we include.  That we
forgive.  




  
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #132 of 188: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Tue 27 May 03 13:31
    
>>About dogma.  Please show me when the word "dogma" ever fell from
the lips of the historical Jesus.  Or is in the Scriptures at
all?...Dogma in its healthy sense is a parameter around a playing field
because we don't play soccer all over the city but on a field.  But
within that field one plays one's heart out.  Dogma evolves as does all
culture, all thought, all religions and the whole universe.<<

Thank you for that, Matthew, that's more or less what was stuck in my
craw.  I took note the many apologies the Pope issued during the
Millenium Jubilee for acts performed in response to dogma of years and
centuries past.

>>...art as PROCESS, not product...<<

It struck me as a participant in the businessworld, near
manufacturing, that products and processes (not art) are at the crux of
dynamic tensions between management and workers.  We've somehow lost
our way away from guilds, craftsmanship, and carefully made fine
products to management by numbers and fungible inputs and outputs.  

During the late 80's and 90's we hammered on quality management,
implementing TQM, ISO 9000+ and SixSigma to measure and track product
to the nth degree.  Only one person's approach to quality improvement
ever made sense to me: W. Edwards Deming.  Deming's "14 Points"
(http://www.deming.org/theman/teachings02.html) look much like a
mundane business prescription, and yet it worked for the Japanese,
transforming their economy.  These points are a *process*, not a
product in itself, nor do these points advocate product.  They advocate
consciousness of the needs of the people and the processes which go
into work and result in quality.

(My personal favorite of the 14 Points is #8: Drive Out Fear.  Amazing
what glorious work an organization can create when it is no longer
tormented for perceived failures, when it is free to explore and pursue
what works best, can concentrate without fear on Job One.)

I'd wondered whether there isn't an archetype buried in the 14 Points,
one that might also reside in artistic endeavors -- that perhaps the
reason Deming's points worked so well to produce quality was its
Zen-like focus on people and process.

Perhaps it's that focusing on people and process is the essence of
creativity, and creativity IS real quality.  Focusing only on numbers
and benchmarks and dicta is not creative and therefore, not ultimately
real quality; it's soul-sucking destruction, as the number-crunchers at
Enron and Worldcom can attest.

Hmmm.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #133 of 188: Barrett Brassfield (sunhillow) Tue 27 May 03 15:49
    
Thank you for <127> Matthew. Yesterday and today I've been reading
your chapter on creativity and original sin, or original sin as the
absence of creativity, understanding part of creativity here to include
the search for knowledge within a creative framework. Very interesting
material. I will post more on this soon. 
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #134 of 188: Barrett Brassfield (sunhillow) Tue 27 May 03 15:57
    
Matthew, I didn't mention this above but one of the things I enjoyed
about reading  post <127> was the mention of your relationship to
nature. I love taking long walks in and around Green Gulch and Muir
Woods here in Marin. Communing with the forest is something I dearly
love and when my daughter recently asked me about church I was tempted
to take her to the Cathedral Grove in Muir Woods and say "here," this
is where I feel a profound sense of worship and God's presence. Perhaps
more so than within a building. Nature creates all the time, and even
the process of death and dying within the natural world of trees and
plants is a form of creation. If I've been a good father and human
being, then perhaps I've passed this onto my children during our walks.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #135 of 188: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 27 May 03 16:34
    
> when my daughter recently asked me about church I was tempted
>  to take her to the Cathedral Grove in Muir Woods and say "here,"

That's a lovely sentiment, (sunhillow). It reminds me of a scene from "The
Black Robe," about a 17th century French priest who is sent to Canada to
convert the natives. At one point he finds himself deep in the forest, dazed
and disoriented, surrounded by tall trees/by the tall pillars of a classic
cathedral -- the imagery switching back and forth between the trees (God's
creation) and the similar-looking cathedral interior (man's creation). 
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #136 of 188: Daniel (dfowlkes) Tue 27 May 03 16:44
    <scribbled by dfowlkes Tue 3 Jul 12 10:14>
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #137 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 21:26
    
As I said, Matthew, Dan and I go round and round.  He is certainly an
enthusiast in the arena of dogma.  Note how everyone is wrong or at
least in need of correction in their interpretations of the Christian
faith, except him it seems.  He's the only one that's got it right,
relying as he does on the fruits of that on-going study.  Note his
circular logic and how everything boomerangs back to his a priori
assumptions about the infalliability of the church.  It doesn't matter
if at one time the Catholic Church did not believe in evolution, or
that the earth orbited around the sun, or anything that science has
eventually reconfigured, as long as the reconfiguration is eventually
folded back into the dogma, proving ever again that the dogma was right
from the get-go, irregardless of previous positions.

I don't presume to speak for you, Dan.  I relate how you've expressed
yourself, how you come across, and you come across to me as blindly and
rigidly dogmatic.  Sorry if that bothers you though I suspect it
secretly pleasures you.  If my perceptions are so inaccurate, perhaps
you'd best examine your presentation?  I've said it before and I'll say
it again:  You do more to discourage people from the Church than to
enthuse them towards it.  Mine are not "hateful lies" but critical
observation.  When you perceive me and my faith accurately, then
perhaps I will be able to perceive yours accurately as well.  Until
then, you're just hot air in the service of apostolic succession.

  
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #138 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 21:56
    
I would be interested in hearing what Dan has to say about creativity,
however, the theme of your book, the book we're allegedly discussing. 
However accurately or inaccurately I synopsized what was being said in
the Cross Conference, whether it was mean-spirited or not, at least it
was spirited in the way of interference that you noted earlier.  I
wanted them to be intellectually honest.  I was hoping you would go
over to Cross and address their criticisms directly so that they would
have the satisfaction of being addressed (since they appeared to me to
be grumbling about either not being noticed or not being understood);
but, more importantly, that they would allow this discussion to focus
on creativity.  It's very frustrating to want to examine this lovely
theme you have written about only to be constantly sideswiped into a
discussion on the infalliability of dogma and the church.  Who the fuck
cares about the infalliability of dogma and the church?  I don't.  But
I do care about creativity and repairing the damage the church has
done to individuals.  It is the individual spirit that is infalliable,
in each and every one of us, whatever creed, whatever race, whatever
country, whatever age, whatever gender.

Returning to your book, Matthew, I have to commend your facility for
seeing the creativity and the imagination that went into the formation
of the early church by way of the Easter story and the belief in
Christ's resurrection.  This is such a bitter pill for me and I harbor
so much anger at being forced to believe this *literally* even if I
accept it with my whole heart symbolically.  I don't understand why I'm
not allowed to believe in the Historical Jesus, to respect and love
him for the lessons he taught, and have it be transparent and
transcendent enough, without this foray into a divinity insisted upon
by men who profit from it.  How you express the Easter story in
_Creativity_ is the first time I have been able to shift away from this
consuming anger to consider the creative energy that went into
stilling the anguish and grief surrounding the death of Jesus.  You
have helped me see it with different eyes and I thank you for that
option.  In gist, I want to live and let live.  I can see in my heart
that there is plenty of room at the table, that diversity is the tenor
of holiness, that we can all come in our own ways as the poem attests
to kiss the feet of God.  I fear that American Christianity in its
Catholic and various forms has done a great disservice to diversity,
has in fact attempted to squelch it, and the creativity that blooms
from it.  
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #139 of 188: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Tue 27 May 03 22:05
    
A paradox of creativity (and all relationship) is that 1) you can't do
it yourself, and 2) you have to show up.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #140 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Tue 27 May 03 22:19
    
<keta> slipped.

Finally, Dan asserts I am "welcome at the table" but that I'm "just
not Catholic, having removed [myself] from the Church of [my] own free
will."  Who's presuming what, Dan, and who is spreading hateful lies? 
What choice was I given?  Was it the one:  be anyone but who you are? 
Love anyone but who you choose?  Be Catholic but don't you dare be
queer?  Who cares if it was a queer who painted the Sistine Chapel? 
Who cares if half the art hoarded in the Vatican was created (I repeat,
*created*) by my brethren?  I did not leave the Church by my own free
will.  I was forced to in order to preserve my integrity.

The ultimate leavetaking is of God for God, I've been taught, and by
logical extension (since logical extension seems to be the main flex of
your mind), the ultimate leavetaking is of the church for the church. 
And maybe that church *is* an evergreen sanctuary that a father should
reveal to his children, or an olive grove outside of Bethlehem, or a
walkway alongside the sea in its variant moods, maybe that church is,
as that sad carpenter suggested, wherever likemind is found.  Wherever
a mutual love for creativity is found.

Another lesson I learned from that carpenter, is to wipe the dust off
your feet when you leave a place where you have not found
likemindedness or creativity.

Unfortunately, church dust is the hardest to wipe away.  It clings
like death.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #141 of 188: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Wed 28 May 03 07:05
    
> I am very moved by the two messages about art as PROCESS, not
> product, among the indigenous peoples.

Matthew's comment about indigenous peoples' creative process, as well
as maya's comments about being gay and the Church reminded me of the
Hawaiian culture and the mahu.  Mahu = transgendered or gay in
Hawaiian.  The mahu had an active role in creating and preserving the
culture and arts of Hawaiian society.  Christian missionaries arriving
in the Islands believed that indigenous culture was heretical and a
barrier to proselytizing Christianity; they proceeded to wipe out the
local culture.  (This has occurred to a number of indigenous peoples,
including the native Americans and Austalian aborigines.)  In response
to this occupying and exterminating pressure, which also found gays
abhorrent, the mahu went underground to keep the culture from complete
obliteration.  Thanks to these efforts, a substantial portion of old
Hawaiian culture has been preserved and is now being taught to young
Hawaiians.  The mahu saved the old ways, but doing so required not
necessarily an end goal but concentration on the process of
observation, participation and ritual to do so.

There is something about the tenacity of creativity which refuses to
give in to suppression; there is something, too, about the power of
feminine and masculine when combined and intertwined (as in the mahu,
the LGBT community at large) which is equally tenacious.  What is it
about these two forces?
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #142 of 188: Your Humble Serpent (maya) Wed 28 May 03 07:44
    
Thank you for that amplification, LoRayne.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #143 of 188: Rik Elswit (rik) Wed 28 May 03 10:43
    
"There is something about the tenacity of creativity which refuses to
 give in to suppression..."

It seems to me that matthew's main point is that creativity is elemental.
That creativity is what we are.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #144 of 188: Teleologically dyslexic (ceder) Wed 28 May 03 11:47
    
I find the more austere a pruning the more extreme the resulting
growth. ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #145 of 188: Daniel (dfowlkes) Wed 28 May 03 18:53
    <scribbled by dfowlkes Tue 3 Jul 12 10:14>
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #146 of 188: Rik Elswit (rik) Wed 28 May 03 19:17
    
I don't suppose y'all have any questions for Matthew, do you?    He has an
impressive work schedule, and is only committed to this forum for another
two days.    And if you are already going over this in cross, we should free
this space up for a discussion of "Creativity", and what it says about
possibility in our lives.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #147 of 188: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Wed 28 May 03 19:44
    
Thanks, <rik>.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #148 of 188: David Gans (tnf) Wed 28 May 03 19:44
    
What Rik said.
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #149 of 188: Thomas Armagost (silly) Wed 28 May 03 21:55
    <scribbled by silly Sat 7 Jul 12 17:51>
  
inkwell.vue.183 : Matthew Fox, "Creativity"
permalink #150 of 188: David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 May 03 01:45
    
wThanks for that information.

And now, back to Matthew Fox and "Creativity."
  

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