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!