Occupy Spirituality: the Democratizing of Divinity – and Why We Support It

Occupy Spirituality IIn Occupy Spirituality, veteran Creation Spirituality theologian Matthew Fox and interspiritual activist Adam Bucko weigh in on an increasingly prevalent conversation around spirituality and religion – their similarities and differences. The divergence between these two identities – “spiritual” and “religious” – is becoming more obvious to many, and Fox and Bucko push this conversation toward their understanding of radical spirituality:
As institutions lose their credibility, we go to stories.
We might reframe this quote to say,
As the story of religion reaches it’s final stages, we go to a story beyond religion – which is to say, toward spirituality itself.
This is why we at Presence are so interested in Fox and Bucko’s work –  and why this book is so appropriate for today’s evolution of spiritual consciousness.
Very few people would dare quote Walt Whitman:
Spiritual democracy is too important to be consigned to churches, Catholic or Protestant, Saint this or Saint that.
But this is what we see as the heart of this ground-breaking book. Fox and Bucko write from a perspective of fearlessness, pushing into the realm of trans-traditionalism. This approach works very well with those who are working and living in an Integral consciousness space.
Perhaps one of the strongest parts of the conversation is this exchange between Fox and Bucko:
Matthew— They are simply divorcing themselves from organized religion, from the church as such.
Adam— …and serving not the church, but humanity, which is also life.
Matthew— Letting the church go in its own direction as it travels down the path of death.
 Occupy Spirituality II
It must be noted here that neither of them are separating from the writings of prophets, apostles and Jesus. They are simply questioning the way that the story has been told. Bucko spends time throughout the book talking about the importance of teachers and mentors who can connect with today’s youth by reframing the story of Spirit.
Fox quotes William Hocking along these same lines:
An integrated and solid toolbox of practice undertaken with a healthy theology can lead to a sacred marriage of action and contemplation.
We’re living in rapidly-changing times, when everything from our news headlines to the existence of the Internet itself is being implicated in the demise of institutionalized religion. Limiting beliefs and structures that would have simply been tolerated in generations past are being weighed by the ideals of each religion (and common sense) – and found wanting. Many well-meaning religious institutions are engaging in soul-searching about what to tweak in order to stop – or maybe even reverse – the mass-exodus from their buildings and services. As it’s increasingly clear, however, we’re witnessing The Rise of the ‘Dones.’
In the context of this upheaval in the way that growing numbers of us are connecting differently to God and community, we need more than re-arranging the deck chairs of the Titanic. A healthy theology is a thoroughly reframed and re-interpreted theology.
Fox agrees, plainly saying,
That’s what we’re struggling with today: to deconstruct an imperially-based Christianity in favor of something truer to values Jesus preached.
And while Fox does not say that Christianity has reached its end as a religious identity, he certainly sets the stage for such a conversation. In fact, he later quotes Brazilian Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff:
The church was never the object of the preaching of Jesus.
The conclusion of this conversational tome discusses the idea of grace as a kind of spiritual democracy; the story of grace is inclusive of everyone:
The term spiritual democracy almost parallels a term that symbolizes what the future could be: the Kingdom of God.
In coming posts we’ll explore why daring to put God in our own hands (as opposed to relying on religious intermediaries) is not simply a good idea – it’s what the trajectory of the Scriptural narrative and work of God through Jesus actually points to. In the meantime, we highly recommend Occupy Spirituality for anyone navigating differences between religion and spirituality, daring to chart a path forward.


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