Final Essay for Mystical Christianity
Presented by Ernest Kayorie
I have recently completed Mystical Christianity which I found to be an informative and inspirational study of the Sacred Feminine, a concept that, although recently popularized by mystery novels and movies has long been ignored by conventional scholarship. The information was well researched, thoughtful and insightful. Although each of the sections can stand on its own as in depth introductions to the topic of spirituality, the ones that captivated my interest were the overview presented of Matthew Fox's contributions to the resurgence of interest in the mystical traditions of the West and the section on the rediscovery of Jesus of Nazareth.
Although I was vaguely familiar with Matthew Fox's work, the material presented in the course stirred my interest and seemed to be a catalyst for me because after reading and re reading the section on Matthew Fox in the course, I went to our local library and took out three of his books and promptly read them familiarizing myself with his work in establishing the concept of creation-centered spirituality. As Jane Strohl of Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary notes in Word & World 8/1 (pg 42), "Matthew Fox has struck a responsive chord in the hearts of many spiritual seekers, both within and without the institutional church."
Many years ago, as a young seminarian studying for the Catholic priesthood, I was severely cautioned against falling prey to pantheistic thoughts because I tried to relate to my peers and mentors the glories that I was experiencing during extended meditation sessions. Upon reflection, I had to agree with their concerns because pantheism did not adequately describe my experiences. Matthew Fox's description of panentheism and the revival of the mystical traditions of the West aptly provided a framework for this writer's thoughts from then until now. Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work, The Dream of the Earth and The Universe Story calls Matthew Fox "the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America" and I can't agree more.
The rediscovery of Jesus of Nazareth, both historically and spiritually and the implications that this might have on the Christian tradition are extremely well represented in Mother Maryesah Karelon's lessons. She has presented numerous theories that cannot but tease the intellect and urge the reader to do more research and study. Over the centuries, the efforts of the early Church fathers to justify the existence of this teacher and how he was to be represented produced a ridiculously unapproachable figure. The recent work done through the Jesus Seminar group and accompanying scholarship presents more options to consider as we search for a more meaningful relationship with this teacher/mystic called Jesus.
All of this being what it may, Mother Maryesah's course materials will definitely hold a special place on my bookshelves. I certainly can see myself referring to them often and for this alone, she is to be commended as a teacher and educator. This writer hopes to see more courses written by her and presented for study in the seminary curriculum.
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