Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Lessons for Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

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9780609805800: Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Lessons for Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

In Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. Through its marriage of spirit and flesh, Fox's Theology of Spirit sets forth a visionary but practical mysticism that lays out a blueprint for social transformation.  

In this book, Matthew Fox dissects the roots of our culture's spiritual malaise and offers Creation Spirituality and a Theology of Spirit as the "medicine" for our society's deep spiritual "wounds." He shows how, contrary to mainstream church teachings, flesh is the grounding of spirit, and how spirit and flesh are entwined with each other in a felicitous and spiritually nourishing bond. He outlines a Theology of Spirit, an approach to the fusing of spirit and flesh which has been underdeveloped in Western thought. His cosmology stresses the need for diversity, the revelatory power of Nature, and the imperative of cooperation.  

Fox draws together the wisdom of East and West on the subject of human destructiveness by taking Thomas Aquinas's definition of sin as "misdirected love" and ushering us through parallels between the Eastern teachings of the seven chakras and the Western teachings of the seven capital sins. In doing so, he responds to Martin Buber's call to "deprive evil of its power" not by "extirpating the evil urge, but by reuniting it to the good." Psychologist M. Scott Peck has said that humanity's naming of evil "is still in the primitive stage." With this book, Fox ushers us beyond rudimentary naming and places our capacity for evil in the fuller context of our touching the natural beauty of our physical world, the complex texture of our emotional lives, and the splendid depths of our spiritual center.

In Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh Matthew Fox has created his most ambitious and profound book. The text crackles with his intelligence and wit, deftly moving the reader into an examination of our world and our perceptions about it and ourselves, expanding our minds and showing us paths of thought that you would swear were not there before you turned the page.

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Review:

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, by Matthew Fox, is a big, exuberant, difficult book. It's a new theology that re-evaluates fundamental Christian methods of perceiving spirit and flesh by denying any hard and fast distinction between the two. Even more radically, Fox denies that goodness and sinfulness can be cleanly distinguished. Following to its logical conclusion Thomas Aquinas's belief that sin is misdirected love, Fox describes parallels between the Seven Deadly Sins of Christianity and the seven chakras of Eastern traditions--how, for example, even the ugliest expressions of lust are, at their root, corrupt expressions of a God-given desire for union with another. In this regard, Fox quotes the German mystic Meister Eckhart: "Everything praises God. Darkness, privations, defects, and evil praise God and bless God." Sins of the Spirit is so complex and ambitious that its structure and language often become knotty and abstruse; however, Fox always returns to his central goal, "to ground our sense of sinfulness--and of awe--in the body." For this reason, Sins of the Spirit is a landmark of popular contemporary writing about Christian theology. It points the way to a time when we might learn to live out our confession that God's incarnation is the reason for our faith. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Back Cover:

"A sweeping, enticing vision, pulsing with Fox's unrelenting passion."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Impassioned . . . life-affirming."        
--New Age Journal

"A big step toward a new, promising age of human scale and sacred context."
--Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

"Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one's inner and outer work. . . . [A]n important road map to social change."        
--National Catholic Reporter

Advance Praise for Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh

"Matthew Fox writes boldly and brilliantly about the Seven Cardinal Sins of the spirit, and the compassionate blessings of the flesh, all in relation to the attributes of the seven chakras--those energies given to us by God which can be used to become Godly, or Godless. It is a fine blend of his great intellectual prowess, creativity, and love of
humanty."        
--Clarissa Pinkola éstes, Ph.D., author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, The Gift of Story, and The Faithful Gardner

For the Reinvention of Work

"A sweeping, enticing vision, pulsing with Fox's unrelenting passion."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"A big step toward a new, promising age of human scale and sacred context."
--Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

" This is a compassionate and powerful call for the reformation of daily work . . . [A] spendidly illuminated path to meaning."         
--Paul Hawken         author of The Ecology of Commerce

For A Spirituality Named Compassion

"Well worth reading for Fox's timely insights and vivid images."
--Christian Century

"Forceful and compelling. . . . [This book] demands a conversion to Christianity in its essence and fullness . . . impressive . . . a work of marvelous con-
struction."        
--Spirituality Today

"Well worth our deepest consideration . . . put[s] compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect."        
--The Catholic Register

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