Nov/Dec 2020 Newsletter

This newsletter is a publication of Creation Spirituality Communities and is funded by its members and supporters. If you are enjoying this newsletter and appreciate keeping up with the Creation Spirituality community, please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership.


Membership is available at several different levels at annual and monthly rates.
Early Registration extended until December 10th!
A time and place for:
  • Connection – with intentional open space/lounge, meeting each other and deep connection in small groups settings
  • Awe/ritual
  • Embodied prayers (body prayers)
  • Sharing our concerns for Earth

Only $200 for members for the entire Gathering—keynote talks by Matthew Fox, Brian Swimme, Joanna Macy, Yeye Luisa Teish, Body Prayer and Art-As-Meditation each day, three Seminar tracks to choose from, and the Saturday evening Celebration (see more below).

Visit the website to find out more and register: CSC 2021 Virtual Gathering
Matthew Fox
80th Birthday Celebration
5pm–Saturday, January 16, 2021

As part of the CSC 2021 Virtual Gathering, we will have a special evening event to celebrate and acknowledge the legacy of Matthew Fox and the Creation Spirituality movement. If you are attending the Gathering, this celebration is included. However, if you cannot attend the whole Gathering, this evening event is open to anyone who would like to attend. 

It will feature:
·     Tributes to Matthew Fox and the CS legacy
·     Solo by Jennifer Berezan
·     Toasts to Matthew Fox by participants (have a glass of champagne ready, or a candle to light, or something with which to celebrate!)
·     Ritual of Blessing led by Starhawk

You can register by going to the link below and choosing one of the levels listed under Celebrating Matthew Fox’s Legacy. You’ll also find more information on the Gathering.


All donations for the evening go to Creation Spirituality Communities to further the CS movement. Tax deductible.
Cosmic Equality
by James Irving Mann   

There is as much beauty
in a blade of grass
as there is
in a field of daisies….

There is as much joy
in the dance of a butterfly
as there is
in the flight of an eagle….

There is as much power
in an acorn
as there is
in a mountain oak….

There is as much wonder
in a small pebble
as there is
in a stone mountain….

There is as much light
in a tiny firefly
as there is
in a northern star….

There is as much peace
in a gentle stream
as there is
in the heavens above….

Let us sing praises
and say
“Thank You”
to the Holy Spirit of Creation
for all forms
of Life, Matter, and Light.

Amen!
Jubilee! Invites you
Jubilee! — a Creation Spirituality community in Asheville, NC invites you to celebrate creation, community and creativity every Sunday at 9:45 am EST via Zoom. We are a faith-based community grounded in "creative spirituality” and uniquely flavored with Asheville’s culture of creativity, music and quirkiness. Strongly committed to social and environmental justice, we work together to make the world a more inclusive, compassionate place.

Visit their website to find out more: https://jubileecommunity.org/
A New Way to Celebrate the Winter Holidays
by Rev. Roxanne WhiteLight, D.Min.

As the winter holidays of 2006 approached, I noticed that for the first time I was dreading the season with all of its demands and tasks. I was raised as a Christian and retain love and devotion for Jesus to this day. Since that time I have also been very involved in interfaith and inter-spiritual movements and education and have come to believe that there are many paths that will lead us into the awareness of God. I believe that neither Christianity nor any of those other paths would encourage us to make ourselves less peaceful or more in debt for the sake of spiritual enlightenment.

To native people around the globe, the season of darkness has been a season of drawing inward, gathering kin of heart and blood around the fire, telling stories, honoring the ancestors and wisdom teachers that have helped us grow into the people we long to become. They were a season to slow down and reflect and rest. I have not found examples of cultures where prolonged excess, eating and drinking, spending, frenzy, or guilt-tripping were the center of the observance of season or spirit.

From this point of dissatisfaction with what the holidays had become, my wife Ruth and I longed to create a new way to celebrate the season of winter, birth of Christ, the sufficiency of God in the story of Chanukah, the values of Kwanza and all other forms of celebration that remind us that we are one human family who have much more in common with each other than we have that is different.

My inner guidance suggested that the starting place for all we have in common is the beginning of a new year in Julian time. I recalled the numerous poems and songs with the refrain "at the turning of the year" and decided that would be a good name for this new way to observe the heart of the winter holidays in a sane way. I wanted this celebration to be participative and for the gifts exchanged to be creative and at no extra cost. A dear friend, Jake McArther, had introduced me to a simple form of poetry writing that I decided participants could use and exchange as impromptu gifts with each other.

We wanted a celebration that was not “over in an instant of gift opening frenzy,” but that carried through the holiday period, so this celebration is named The twelve days of Turning. The 12 days begin on the night of the winter solstice and end on New Year’s Day.

The first year I chose a theme and wrote a spiritual reflection for each day, relating to other holidays that were celebrated in various traditions on that day. During all of the following years the format has been more participative. We start by choosing an overall theme for the Season of Turning. We have chosen things like characteristics we want to develop, things that we can actually do to impact climate change, the 99 most beautiful names for God, or just spiritual ideas we want to reflect upon for 12 days. To choose a daily focus for reflection within the overall theme we have used different methods. We have chosen characteristics or values that are important to us, similar to the format of Kwanza or we have allowed for guidance to direct us by choosing a vehicle that allows us to draw a card or a symbol to guide that day’s reflection. Runes, I Ching coins, animal, tarot or wisdom cards can be used. Several years we have used the 99 most beautiful names for God from the book by Neil Douglas Klotz, The Sufi Book of Life.

For Turning 2011 we used thoughts shared by Ilan Shamir from the web site www.yourtruenature.com. We were exposed to his work while we were traveling in the national parks, and wanted to add it to turning that year. I made a deck of cards from old business cards, one for each aspect of nature that offered advice from the web site. To find them you click on the right, product store, bookmarks. After the packets of several bookmarks, each nature aspect is listed individually. At the bottom you see there are 9 pages of bookmarks, starting with bat, and ending with woodland. If you click on the tab "see more detail" there is a printed list of the advice. We read the advice for the day a few times over before we wrote our poems. Some are very clever and others very wise. We really enjoyed using them.

At the December 20th Creation Spirituality Interfaith Worship Experience we will be sharing step by step, how-to guide to create your own Twelve Days of Turning Ritual. We will talk about choosing the overall theme and daily focus. We will review practical tips like getting the materials needed, and the simple poem form and other options for creative expression. Please join us as we create together a new way to experience all of the many blessings the winter holidays from around the world offer us.

To join us in the weekly Creation Spirituality Interfaith Worship Experience, click on the link below:
To see more of Carolyn's work, please visit: www.Carolyndaniele.com
I Live on my Altar
altar: a raised place on which sacrifices and gifts are offered in some religions (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
by Roz Bound

I live upon the ground of being
home of my land
land of my home:  Mother Earth.
A structure (by any other name)
since time began
raised up by undulations, oscillations,
seismic vibrations
quakes and shakes that dance Her into revolutions
many evolutions
now still pulsating, vibrating, creating.
Let us call now Today. 

Since Today began
we, upon Her, gift ourselves to Her.
All of us. 
Rock, tree, sentient life, sacrificed (by any other name)
in water, air, and fire
offer up within the very act of being,
the space we occupy, rearrange the cells, redact,
return to earth and sky from whence we came.

First breath seeds the promise
that life shall be fulfilled,
willed by the very act of birth itself.
Death the proof that pledges made
do not break.
 In gratitude, She takes. All return to Her,
the self a memory, space filled.

Today I walk upon my altar (by any other name).
Her tempests, my respiration.
Her fires, my inspiration.
Her waterways, my animation.
Her matter, my materialization.
I offer my creation
in sacrifice to this sacred place we call home.

I met Creation Spirituality at exactly the right time in the '90s - I have a copy of the first newsletter! CS and Matthew Fox opened many doors for me.  I am a writer and retired teacher but my life is far far bigger than that.
At Spiritwind for the month of November we have been looking at the Four Paths, then for December we will be looking at Free Will vs. Determinism and we will also celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Spiritwind is a Creation Spirituality community in the spirit of One River, Many Wells, led by Rev. Dr. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
Creation in Crisis
Monthly Webinars, 1st Thursday of every month
1pm PST    2pm MT   3pm CT    4pm EST

There was a moment as few seasons ago when it became apparent that climate change and eco-disasters were no longer something we talked about, but something we experienced. The CIC leadership team realized that we needed to know what people were doing that was effective, what programs we could support, and who else was approaching this crisis through a balance of the Creation Spirituality sacred vocations of prophesy, mysticism, and creativity.
 
On the first Thursday of the month at 4:00 EST, Creation in Crisis invites a special guest that approaches our ecological crisis from a spiritual perspective and a sense of the sacredness of life on this beautiful planet. We have heard from international leaders and regional activists, organizational leaders and individuals who ventured out on their own. We have developed our skills through Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, and we have explored the depths of mystical activism.
 
If you are on the Creation Spirituality Communities Newsletter email list, you receive a monthly invitation to join us. We hope you will decide to register and join in the conversation, reflection, spiritual inspiration, music, art, and videos. By the end of the webinar, we hope you will feel more informed, more connected to others who share your values, more aware of what people are doing and what you might do yourself to address this crisis in creation.

Leadership Team: Penny Andrews & Gail Ransom
Letting Go, Letting Be
by John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.

I am stepping away from my active life in the world. No plans, no commitments, no goals. I’m 74. Should I be doing something more, something “productive” or “worthwhile?” Can I give up my life plan? Do I even need a life plan anymore?

It’s quiet in this moment. I am no longer focusing on the next thing. No webinars, articles, interviews. I could resurrect that life though I don’t think it would be good for me. And I know that the next level of awakening cannot happen in my present form. So, I’m retiring. I’ve lived in a straitjacket of my own making for too long. Like a spent toothpaste tube, I cannot squeeze any more out. I’m done.

It’s been a long run - psychology, mysticism, teaching, writing, climate activism. I’m not sure if I made a big difference in the world though I deeply love my family, friends, clients and students. Was I true to my gift? I think so and I believe that’s all we are really asked to do. I shared what I came here to share.

What will I do now? A voice replies, “Just live. Grandfather. Father. Friend. Husband. Mystic. In the warm sunshine. In the quiet. In the wonder. Relaxing. Preparing. Seeing. One day leaving. The only way to grow now is to ‘let go and let be.’”

It is time to serve my soul, to release it in a world steadily brightening as de Chardin’s Divine Milieu, and to love as I was meant to love in my final years in this gorgeous place. As often the case, with each step into the heart of wonder, a new path appears - always found in the present moment. A recent illness and family health crises finally convinced me that this change was overdue. Time to move on. I am in transition.

I move now in another consciousness, a sacred one. The serious seeker will find the path leading here in my books, but I have moved on from the explaining phase. I am in the release phase. I am free. I help the world now in a new way but that, too, transcends conventional explanation.

I wish you peace, joy, grace and many blessings. I wish you love. I wish you awakening. Thank you.

13 Sacred Nights Challenge
With St. Hildegard of Bingen and Dr. Jeannine Goode-Allen
Connect with the Illuminations of St. Hildegard and find peace, strength and hope this holiday season.

* Connect with your divine purpose
* Learn how to remember your dreams and tap into the wisdom they bring you
* Discover the power of visioning
* Bring more comfort into your life
* Join us and be eligible to win one of three inspiring prizes

Vesper Hymn
By J. Barrett Lee

O Laughing Light and Fire of Joy:
We find in you our Sacred Source;
we thank you for the gift of life
and pray you guide us on our course.

We stand in awe before the sight 
of evening star and setting sun,
of this transcendent mystery
in which all things are joined as one.

We raise our voices to the sky
and rest our bodies on the Earth;
We marvel in th’eternal Now,
which brings all futures into birth.
The Long Distance Runner
by Tim Cronley

When I work out…

I leap into the unknown
from the springboard of my heart
I turn off the treadmill of my mind
and I run a grace-filled race
along the pathway of my soul.

Along the way as I run
I am mindful of my inner self
…the person I truly am.
 
I dodge around the traps of concepts
the demands of custom
and the siren-calls of conformity
and the absurdities of a knowledge
…that is beyond my comprehension.

And as I go I listen to a voice
…that cannot be heard
and I look with faith upon a goal
…that cannot be seen.  

Garlands of suns blaze my path
and a diadem of star-filled light
encircles my head
and with each step I take
…daisies grow.

And as I run my center-self implodes
into… emptiness
and moral loneliness becomes
my compassionate guide
as I fall forward… trusting
…into nothingness

Dear Cousin
by Marijo Grogan

Dear Cousin,

I write to you today in the wake of the presidential election because I can imagine how much you are hurting. As the country teeters forward, possibly facing more strife, gridlock and possible violence, I find it difficult to feel victorious. Instead I feel lonely and lost in many ways. I strive to understand the meaning of justice and compassion. In the bible it is says they kiss - one cannot exist without the other. I think of Jesus and feel close to him when I am standing at a Black Lives Matter vigil or in passing the Christmas creche scene last year and seeing a sign, “Would you separate this child from his parents?”

When I visited you last fall, you confidently declared that there would be a civil war, if Trump was not re-elected. I remember how proud our family was of our faith. Your dad was my beloved storytelling uncle. I remember your mother telling me how she prayed your brother would break up with his black girlfriend. “God did not hear this prayer,” she told me. “I prayed that they wouldn’t get married or have children. But God didn’t hear that prayer either.” A wry smile crossed her face. “Finally I prayed that I would love her. And, guess what? That is the prayer God heard.”

These stories give me hope that our family and country can heal despite the divide separating us. Our widowed grandmother raised her children during the Spanish Flu outbreak that killed nearly 700,000 Americans. She saw two world wars and sent sons to fight overseas. Did she support Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, who stood up to the large corporations, challenging their monopolies and labor practices? Did she also support Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, when he declared the New Deal asking the wealthy to help save the country? Once assisted in this way, our country went on to create the largest thriving middle class the world has ever seen.

The media has tried to divide us but we are not so far apart. You have raised your concerns about protecting law and order, pro-life, Israel, the economy and the Constitution. I want you to know that I am a true supporter of peace through reparations and de-militarizing police training. I am a supporter of pro-life and pro-choice, not seeing them as antithetical. More funding that support women and families, will make more options available. Women don’t deserve to be criminalized. I am also pro-life in supporting an end to capital punishment and the arms race. I want our economy to be strong without giving tax breaks to the rich which would give us the funds to make health care, education, housing, and work a priority for everyone. I support peace in the Middle East based on justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. Finally, I am a supporter of our Constitution but not at the cost of losing our democracy.

I want to believe that we can dream big together where everyone wins! I hope we can join forces. I love you cousin!
Life Coaching Services
Life Coaching with Colleen Natalie, MS.

Hope, help, and inspiration for your walk on the four paths.

Five session package $250.00

Want to Review Books?
From time to time (and now more frequently than before) your newsletter editor is approached by authors within our community who are offering their books for review and promotion. If you are interested in reading and writing up reviews of books focused on creation-centered spirituality, please let us know. The books will include poetry, theology/philosophy, memoir, art, etc. We would be interested in relatively in-depth and objective reviews of books. Please send a message to newsletter@cscommunities.org
Survival of Religion
By Nathaniel Batchelder
 
Until the religions of the world fully embrace the unity of all life, they will remain lacking in spiritual relevance to current life. Christianity, for example, has suggested separation of the worldly from the spiritual - that physical life is to be transcended toward a higher spiritual life, particularly after death.
 
The further scriptural suggestion that humanity has status above other life forms has lead to the near universal belief that other life forms are here for us - to protect, enjoy, or use as we will, as though “dominion” granted in scripture means that other life forms are a gift to us from God.
 
As science and industry have advanced so spectacularly over 300 years, much of humanity has come to believe our intellect empowers us to solve every puzzle and challenge that life might present – that we can grow any crops, cure any disease, manufacture any products to satisfy our wants - indeed, that we may manipulate nature as it suits us.
 
The result is today’s catastrophic degradation of life systems that support nature and civilization as we know it. The climate crisis is merely the latest evidence.
 
Healing nature and achieving sustainability will of course require the best of scientific and industrial collaboration, but they will not save us unless guided by nature’s wisdom. Once upon a time, humanity saw divinity in every leaf and creature, the humble knowledge that we were but one species among many in God’s Creation. We will not have peace on earth, or even survive, unless we give up the mythology of our separateness from nature.
 
We must return to that numinous spirituality of connection to every living thing as having value and status equal to our own—now.  Following the old story, we are destroying life on earth of which we are but a part. Only technical, scientific and industrial solutions guided by a new story—one of conscious loving unity with all life and ecological spirituality will save us from the destruction now impending.


The author has been director for 30 years of The Peace House in Oklahoma City, an education and advocacy organization on issues including human rights, economic justice and environmental sustainability.  Ideas herein are  drawn from works of Thomas Berry, Charles Eisenstein, Kabir Helminski, Ilia Delia, Joanna Macy, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and my wife Patricia Hoerth Batchelder.
Leaf Fall
by Tim Cronley

At times my internal landscape is a wasteland
of misjudged potentialities, misunderstood truths
and unresolved doubts.
Why do stars have to die? Each one like a fallen leaf
a testament to a vibrant life once lived? Why?
The multi branching stems of the green world mirrors
the infinite branching and reach of the Cosmos.
 
The community of floating dust revealed in sunlight
replicates the community of stars in the Milky Way.
And stars as they die are like leaves as they fall
recycling the stuff of their lives back into the Cosmic soil.
So how have I come to this disbelieving state?
where I choose not to grasp what all of nature proves?
Why do I abhor the universality of death
when I know that it is irrevocably part of the process?
 
And how is it possible that even in my blindness
I know that I am blind by the very light that blinds me?
What is Creation Spirituality Communities?
Creation Spirituality Communities, Inc. (CSC) is a network of individuals and communities who are grounded in the sacredness of all creation and seek to connect to the spirituality of creation through mysticism, creativity, and cultural transformation.

CSC includes people from many spiritual traditions, cultures, races, sexual identities, and ages. They come to Creation Spirituality through the writing and speeches of Matthew Fox, through articles and videos, through conversations with friends, and through study at one of the Creation Spirituality universities – now the Fox Institute of Creation Spirituality.

Creation Spirituality Communities provides avenues for gathering together, being inspired, and embodying the CS message of compassion, co-creation, and transformation. We are led by a nine member board of directors and supported by our members.
Below are the Creation Spirituality Communities that we are aware are meeting on a regular basis. If you are participating in a community or CS circle that is not included on this list, please let us know by writing to contact@cscommunities.org.

If you are the convener or leader of a CS community, you are invited to an online conversation on the first Monday of every month at 11:00EST. Please let us know if you are interested!

LIST OF CREATION SPIRITUALITY COMMUNITIES:

Creation Spirituality Communities
contact@cscommunities.org | www.cscommunities.org