Matthew Fox is the founder of the University of Creation Spirituality at Holy Name College in Northern California. He was born in 1940 in Madison, Wisconsin. Fox was ordained in the Dominican order in 1967. He received his doctorate in Spirituality from Institut Catholiques de Paris.
Through much of his career as a Dominican priest, Fox was in conflict with many leaders of his order. He considered himself a liberation theologist and often voiced radical opinions regarding social issues that were not mutually held by the Catholic Church. In 1988 Fox was silenced by the Dominicans for a year, for his radical religious ideas. In 1994 he was dismissed from the Dominican order. Soon after this, he was accepted as a priest at the Episcopalian Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Fox believes that the universe is a blessing. His concept of God differs from the Catholic Church in its scope. Fox believes in a God that is dynamic feminine as well as masculine. Fox founded the Institute for Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California. Creation Spirituality attempts to incorporate indigenous and Christian spirituality and integrate them with a post-modern understanding of the universe. The ten principles of Creation Spirituality are as follows:
- The universe is basically a blessing, that is, something we experience as good.
- We can and do relate to the universe as a whole since we are a microcosm of that macrocosm and that this relationship "intoxicates" us. (Aquinas)
- Everyone is a mystic (i.e., born full of wonder and capable of recovering it at any age; of not taking the awe and wonder of existence for granted.)
- Everyone is a prophet, i.e., a "mystic in action" (Hocking) who is called to "interfere" (Heschel) with what interrupts authentic life.
- That humans have to dig and work at finding their deep self, their true self, their spirit self; thus the role of spiritual praxis and meditation and community confrontation which can itself be a yoga. If we do not undergo such praxis we live superficially out of fear or greed or addiction or someone else's expectations of us. That salvation is best understood as "preserving the good." (Aquinas).
- That the journey that marks that digging can be named as a four-fold journey:
Via Positiva: delight, awe, wonder, revelry
Via Negativa: darkness, silence, suffering, letting go
Via Creativa: birthing, creativity
Via Transformativa: compassion, justice healing, celebration
- Everyone is an artist in some way and art as meditation is a primary form of prayer for releasing our images and empowering the community and each of us. Art finds its fulfillment in ritual, the community's art.
- We are all sons and daughters of God; therefore, we have divine blood our vein, the divine breath in our lungs; and the basic work of God is: Compassion.
- Divinity is as much Mother as Father, as much Child as Parent, as much Godhead (mystery) as God (history) as much beyond all beings as in all beings
- That we experience that the Divine is in all things and all things are in the Divine (Panentheism) and that this mystical intuition supplants theism (and its child, atheism) as an appropriate way to name our relation to the Divine and experience the Sacred.1
Anyone familiar with the Catholic Church can easily see where Fox came into conflict with it while a Dominican priest. His liberal beliefs regarding divinity and human nature were unable to fit (in the eyes of his fellow Dominicans) into the Catholic Christian Ideology.