Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Fox’s reference to Mother Earth furnishes a powerful image for a creation-centered theology; it is also an acknowledgment of the significance of the maternal attributes of God, who has traditionally been imaged as a male patriarch. Fox argues for a theology that embraces maternal love as a sustaining force in God’s creation on earth. He begins with the ecological surroundings of humans and connects Mother Earth to the process of renewal and new birth. He regrets Western societies’ emphasis on science and rationalism and their disregard for the role of mysticism in natural phenomena, which underscores unity and interconnectedness in God’s creation. Since reverence to Mother Earth is lacking, humans have abandoned Mother Earth to a painful condition of toxic contamination. “The maternal is the place of new birth” and new beginnings, but instead of connecting to the possibilities for a healthy and wholesome future, humans are inflicting pain on Mother Earth by polluting the holy water, which is symbolic of spiritual rebirth during baptism.

Fox describes the historical Christ as a mystic who would retreat to quiet places for prayer. Christ fasted in the wilderness for forty days and overcame Satan’s temptation. His miracles are evidence of his human compassion, but as a mystic he also knows God’s will and carries it out to the point of death. However, his death was an apocalyptic event, culminating in his resurrection with the promise of his Second Coming.

Fox aims to revive the experiential mysticism of the early Christian saints and martyrs; he contrasts it with modern pseudomysticism (found in nationalism, consumerism, asceticism, and fundamentalism), which “lacks integrality of justice,” promotes divisions, and is deficient in the prophetic energy and ecumenical wisdom of the Cosmic Christ.