What’s Really Important: Naming the Holy or Experiencing It?


Andrew Harvey and Matthew Fox
Andrew Harvey and Matthew Fox

Recently I received an announcement of an upcoming series of seminars featuring Matthew Fox and Andrew Harvey.  Part one is titled, “Cosmic Christ and the New Humanity.” The live event on March 8-10 will be held on the west coast whereas I’m in the east, but people can participate online using live streaming technology.  Having attended events with both of these spirit persons in the last six months, I know this will be a deeply enriching experience so I’ve signed up.
Somehow I missed Fox’s book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, when it first came out in 1988, so until a few weeks ago I hadn’t realized what a huge debt I and other progressive spiritual thinkers owe to the courageous work of this spiritual pioneer. If you don’t know his story, I encourage you to check it out on Wikipedia.  Ditto Andrew Harvey.
So anyway, the term “Cosmic Christ” was new to me until I met Fox last month. I’m a bit concerned that the word “Christ” might lead people to think this seminar is only for Christians. My passion is to heal divides by raising awareness of our commonalities, so I worry about language, religious or otherwise, that might sound exclusive. This is why I use mostly psychological language in this blog: It carries far less emotional baggage.
Because of my Jungian studies I know what Fox means. The Cosmic Christ is one way of referring to our innate ability to connect with sacred energies in an inner mystical, experiential, and personally meaningful way.  Jung called this psychological reality the Self, or the “religious function.”  This archetype is universal and influences us in ways often associated with deity.
It may be helpful to think of the Self as the image of God that indwells us. Others might equate the Self with the Holy Spirit or the Christ within. Regardless of the language we use, the Self is that inner force that prods and urges and nudges us to become aware of our true natures, heal our wounds, and fulfill our God-given potential as unique spiritual beings. Incarnating the Self via the faculty of perception known as nous, or creative imagination, is how we become consciously connected to our divine Source, whatever that may be.
The word Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning anointed, a translation of the Hebrew word, Messiah. The early Christians attached this word to Jesus because they believed him to be the Messiah, a king/priest who would right the world’s wrongs. Islamic sources don’t give much importance to the concepts of kings and priests. Islam’s important figures are prophets and messengers. These terms point to the primacy of knowledge and revelation as ways of  receiving much-needed messages from Allah—itself a culture-based term, like Yaweh or God—for our spiritual and moral development.
Cosmic Christ. Christ Within. Kingdom Within. Self. Diamond Body. Messiah. Philosopher’s Stone. Buddha Nature. Prophet. Messenger. Holy Spirit. Hierophant. God-Image. Religious Function. Sacred Marriage. All these names are metaphors from various ages and cultures. All refer to the same nameless, fathomless reality: the sacredness within and our yearning to consciously enjoy its presence.
So here’s my question. Does it really matter which term we use? Not to me. And not, I assure you, to Matthew Fox or Andrew Harvey. So if you’re looking to deepen your connection with Whatever You Want to Call Whatever It Is That Connects You with Whatever You Think of as Holy, I think I can safely recommend this seminar. And if you’re interested in these ideas I encourage you to check out their books.
Christ Path Seminar link
Amazon link to Andrew Harvey
Amazon link to Matthew Fox
Healing the Sacred Divide can be found on Amazon or at Larson Publications, Inc.

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9 Responses

  1. Love the distant learning! Registered…thanks for letting me know. Fun event at Casa tonight. Florida folk musicians/storytellers. Maybe we will see you guys. Have a great weekend.
    Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2013 05:02:33 +0000 To: pschrob@hotmail.com

    1. Hi Pat. I think it’s wonderful that these kinds of opportunities are being made available to people all over the world! Amazing. Since it starts at 10pm for us here in the east, we might be able to attend the Casa event first! Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Very well said, as usual. I totally agree with you that it does not matter what name is used, if you can remember or stay in touch with what is being named. Since literal-ness is pandemic, naming things, while useful, can be a slippery slope.

    1. Yes, it pains me so much that names for the sacred are always fodder for bias and misunderstanding. I know because many years ago I was there for a while. The assurance I needed and received from my religious authorities felt so comforting, yet even then, deep within I struggled with the exclusivity of so many of the beliefs I was taught. But I didn’t want to look too closely lest I lose my safety net, so I ignored my questions for years. Finally life brought me to a point where I simply couldn’t ignore them any more, and sure enough, the safety net disappeared and down I went into the void. From my current vantage point I can now say it was the best trip I ever took! This reminds me of a recent dream. Maybe I’ll write about it in my next post. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  3. Beautifully said, as ever. I have always been saddened by the way “religion” tears people apart, instead of uniting them with each other and with their God. We are all on the same journey, but we may choose different “vehicles” to get to our destination!

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