In The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Matthew Fox addresses mysticism as an essential part of spirituality and Christian faith. The prologue, “A Dream and a Vision for a Global Renaissance,” underscores the importance of the language of mysticism in communicating spiritual matters beyond physical reality.
The book is organized into six parts with several subheadings. Each begins with quotations or citations from the Bible and writers who have captured the ecstasy of experiential mysticism in their works, including Christian saints (such as Hildegard von Bingen and Thomas Aquinas), poets (such as Jall al-Dn Rm, Kabir, and Walt Whitman), and other writers (such as Henry David Thoreau and Dorothea Soelle). At the end, an epilogue sums up the book’s ecumenical scope. It relates a dream about the Third World nations and the United Nations’ plans to prepare for the year 2000 as a jubilee year, when spiritual leaders from both West and East will gain appreciation for cosmic wisdom in their relationships. The new era will be marked with possibilities for experiential mysticism and excitement and will dismantle the institutions of abusive power. Old divisions of race, gender, and culture—often promoted through religion—will cease to exist.
In part 1, Fox interprets the Crucifixion story in a modern global context by using Mother Earth to represent the primal elements of humanity, which are threatened in many ways. He then shows how separation from the primitive cultures and primeval elements of religion deprives humanity of “Mother Love.” He adds that universal wisdom is dying along with native peoples, their religions, and their cultures.
In part 2, Fox describes mysticism as the expression of renewal and resurrection for our times. He deplores the rise of pseudomysticism in Christianity, which separates the mystical experience from the natural state of a living creature. Taking a more inclusive approach to mysticism, he suggests “twenty-one experiential definitions of mysticism” that embrace the changing conditions of human life and cultural diversity without losing...
(The entire section is 867 words.)