Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, Revised Edition
Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Visionary theologian and award-winning author Matthew Fox challenges traditional perceptions of good and evil by offering a new theology that lays the groundwork for a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In this revised edition with a luminous foreword by Deepak Chopra and a new preface that brings the book up to date with the cataclysmic events of the new millennium, Fox illustrates how, contrary to mainstream church doctrine, flesh is the grounding of spirit.
Fox argues that our culture has concentrated far too much on transgressions of the flesh while failing to take into account its sacredness. Artfully weaving together the wisdom of East and West, he considers Thomas Aquinas’s definition of sin as “misdirected love” and applies parallels between the Eastern teachings of the seven chakras and the Western teachings of the seven capital sins. Fox explains how the chakras teach us to direct the love-energies we all possess and proposes seven positive precepts for living a full and spirited life. He invites us to change the way we think about sin and asserts that we can combat and transform evil through love, generosity, letting go, and creativity.
Crafting a blueprint for social change, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh points the way toward a deeper and more compassionate way to live while eloquently revealing the means to confront evil both within and without.
About the Author
Originally a Catholic priest, Fox was silenced for a year and then expelled from the Dominican order, to which he had belonged for thirty-four years, by Cardinal Ratzinger for teaching liberation theology and creation spirituality. Fox currently serves as an Episcopal priest, after he received what he calls “religious asylum” from the Episcopal Church. With exciting results he has worked with young people to create the Cosmic Mass to revitalize worship by bringing elements of rave and other post-modern art forms to the western liturgical tradition.
Fox has worked extensively and consciously to reinvent forms of education for thirty-four years in master's degree and doctor of ministry programs with adults, as well as with inner city high school students in his program called YELLAWE. Key to that reinvention, he believes, is putting Creativity first.
In 1976 Fox founded the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality (ICCS) at Mundelein College in Chicago, Illinois. The master’s program was designed to step out of the overly heady academic pedagogy that dominated in European-based models of education in order to educate all the chakras including the heart. The program included many artists as faculty along with scientists and teachers from many faith traditions. After seven years Fox moved it to Holy Names College in Oakland, California where it thrived for twelve years. The program was eventually terminated in the wake of Fox’s expulsion from the Dominican order.
Rather than disband his amazing and ecumenical faculty, Fox started his own University in 1996 called the University of Creation Spirituality, where he was president, professor, chief fundraiser and recruiter for nine years. Its Doctor of Ministry degree was unique in the world since it honored the inherently priestly work of all workers who are midwives of grace (Fox’s definition of the priesthood archetype) in their work. It drew amazing students from a variety of professions, all of whom felt called to deepen their spirituality and to reinvigorate their work as agents of social transformation.
Fox is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Peace Award from Morehouse College, the Humanities Award of the Sufi International Association of Sufism, the Tikkun Ethics Award, and the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey of Sherborn, Massachusetts. Other recipients of this award include the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cardinal, and Rosa Parks. Fox is currently a visiting scholar at the Academy of the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and lives in Oakland, California.
“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 humanity.”
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD., Author of Women Who Run with the Wolves
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science. A breathtaking analysis.”
—Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics, and Christianity's Dangerous Memory: A Rediscovery of the Revolutionary Jesus
“A sweeping, enticing vision, pulsing with Fox's unrelenting passion.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A Big step toward a new, promising experience of human scale and sacred context.”
—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
“A fine, updated, multifaceted take on the concept of sin.”
—Vivencio in Goodreads
“Read it three times, amazing!”
—Christopher Collins in Goodreads
“A new theology that re-evaluates fundamental Christian methods perceiving spirit and flesh by denying any hard-fast distinction between the two....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, author and journalist
“Readers of Fox's earlier works will be waiting for this, and collectors staying current on comparative religions, how-to-guides, and general-interest titles in spirituality will find it essential.”