This is the first of what will be many posts on Matthew Fox's Book, "A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity" (2005).
Fox is a controversial figure, an ex-catholic preist who has been engaged in creative-creation theology with the likes of Starhawk, a wiccan priestess and famous author. While I am not completely on Fox's bus, I appriciate the theological and ecclesiological questions he raises.
Fox offers an insight that I and my friends (who also occupy the lunatic fringe of The Lutheran Church) have been discussing for years: that we find ourselves in the midst of profound cultural and social shifts which in many ways mirror those of Martin and Katie Luther's time. We are experiencing a democratization of information, much like when the printing press was introduced. Power shifts from Nation-States to multi-national corporations mirror the sifts from fiefdoms to nation-states. We have also share a corruption of the church and theological ideology as well as an increase in the ranks of the educated elite.
Here's a great quote from Fox: "The current papacy can run the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica, but we can let go of religion and begin to get serious about spiritual practice. Protestantism can shed its apathy and ask not 'What did Luther or Calvin say five hundred years ago?' but rather 'What would Luther and Calvin say and do in today's global ecological and ecclesial crisis?' We can draw on rather than neglect, the riches of the Roman Church's mystics and prophets of past and present..." (17)
This seems like a bit of contradiction to me. I'm all for a new Reformation and a focus on Christian spiritual practice, but "let go of religion"? Hell no. I refuse to allow the church-as-it-is to be THE CHURCH. I would be willing to bet that Luther wouldn't abdicate either. He wasn't interested in letting go of religion, conversely, he wouldn't allow the church-as-it-was to be THE Church. He knew the time was right to REform the church. And the time is right again friends. It's up to us.