Matthew Fox – Thank you!

Thank you, Matthew Fox. What a ride of joy, awe, and inspiration to read your revised and updated “Confessions: The Making of a Post –Denominational Priest.” I was first introduced to you years ago by way of “Original Blessing.” Growing up in the fifties as a child of missionaries, I was steeped in original sin and a theology of atonement. “Original Blessing” was and remains transformative in my life.

Because of that it was delightful to be among the planning group who hosted you twice (2012 & 2013) at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida.

When Phila Hoopes emailed inviting many of us to consider posting comments about your autobiography, I was delighted to say “yes.” You are a gift!


When I finished the last page, I wrote some words. They all began with the letter “p”. I smiled at what I had written. This morning as I read through my notes I found fifty words within your book all beginning with “p.”  In a way they capture your story for me and might serve as a kind of “trailer” to the book for others:

parents, polio, paralyzed, patient, priesthood, province, Paris, people, panentheism, presence, police, politics, prayer, publish, poet, potter, painter, preacher, photographer, passion, protest, pope, provincial, pain, poetry, patience, prophet, psychologist, Paul, plane, perhaps, poured, philanthropy, preference, permission, pressing, privatizing, pragmatic, principles, pitting, phalanx, president, participant, promise, play, prepare, pace, particular, privilege, peace

I too like the letter “p.”

Your book affirms it’s your whole life that has created the poet, prophet, priest, writer, wonderer, wanderer, teacher, tiller, theologian you have become. It is difficult, therefore, to select a single section as most salient. It has taken your whole life, all of it, to sculpt you. Readers who read the entire book will more fully understand the nuances which carved you into who you are and who you would like the rest of us to become. May we be those who resonate with and act upon the T. S. Eliot words you quote: “perhaps it is not too late.”

If I had to choose a single section, it would be chapter four, “The Paris Years: A Culture of Revolution – 1967-1970,” which you conclude with these words: “My Paris days were ended; my European foray was complete. I would never be the same person again. But our culture had changed irrevocably as well. A critical understanding of culture and spirituality was coming together for me.” To experience the deepening of your spirituality within the foment of culture during these years sparked memories of the late sixties as a definitive transforming period in my own life. Thank you.

Not long after reading chapter twelve, A Postdenominational Priest Standing Outside the Rusty Gate,” Patricia and I went to see “Bridge of Spies.” More than once Abel (Mark Rylance) a Russian spy, describes Donovan (Tom Hanks) his attorney, with some Russian words. After the conclusion of the trial, Abel looks at Donovan with eyes that radiate honor and repeats the phrase. Donovan asks him what it means. Abel, with a wellspring of admiration, says,“the standing man.” Donovan demonstrated steadfastly he is a person of strength, flexibly, compassion, and tenacity who remains firm in the face of threat, heartache, and surprise.

Matthew Fox, you are a standing man. Oh yes!



Published by philandpatricia

we live in Northport, MI

4 thoughts on “Matthew Fox – Thank you!

  1. Phil: we are appreciating your essays on Fox (and all the blogs). With a name like yours (and mine), I am not surprised you like the letter “p”.

    We attended St. ANDREWS for the Christmas Eve service, and thought of you two. Beautiful!

    Happy New Year!

    Phil Thomas

  2. Thank you Phi.
    Yes you do have a good name.
    Have dabbled in Henrietta’s “Memories.” I am so grateful for her willingness to share them with me and others!
    Glad you found St. Andrew UCC, Sarasota, for Christmas Eve.
    Blessings of the New Year to you both.

  3. Thank you, Phil, for your creativity at UCC Sarasota which I very much enjoyed visiting and now in upper Michigan AND also in your responses to my autobiography. The Holy Spirit, which IS the spirit of creativity, is alive and well in your many ministries and I’m honored that you took the time to read my story–and I like the parts you plucked out including the Reb Zalman piece (more p’s here).
    A Blessed New Year to you and yours and All!
    Matthew Fox

  4. Thank you, Matt.

    As with so many of us your life story has touched, you are often thought about and appreciated.

    Blessings of the New Year to you also.

    Should your journey every wend it’s way to Michigan, Patricia and I would be glad to host you as a speaker or as someone ready for a bit of introvert time with this most magnificent portion of the cosmos.

    We listened to Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of the Morning” spoken by her with the background of Samuel Barber’s Adagio. It is a YouTube anyone can access. Gifts of the season, may we treasure them.

    Namaste, phil

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