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Thomas Berry's Sacred Surround: An Introduction to His Thought & Spirituality - Kindle edition by Tim Flinders. Download it once and read it on your Kindle. Editorial Reviews. Review. "The essential collection of Thomas Berry. Introduced with an Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community (Modern Spiritual Thomas Berry's Sacred Surround: An Introduction to His Thought &.
The Making of a Teacher: Conversations with Eknath Easwaran Feb 01, Illness, Wellness, And Spirituality: Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Speaking in general terms and using a biblical metaphor, I think Thomas stands up as a kind of new Moses leading all religious people, people of religious sensibilities and certainly Christians, out of a bondage of a land of anthropocentrism to a land of cosmology and ecology, a land flowing with milk and honey.
A land that promises to respond to the great needs of the great human heart. He leads us out of the land of domestication to revelry of the sacred which always has something in common with the wild.
For example, he writes: It is that wellspring of creativity whence comes the instinctive activates that enable all living beings to obtain their food, to find shelter, to bring forth their young: This is the same inner tendency that evokes the insight of the poet, the skill of the artist and the power of the shaman. Such a reminder that we are capable as a species of domesticating even Divinity Itself, making Divinity into our tidy images. Prophets wake a sleeping people and Thomas does that. Prophets cry in the wilderness and Thomas does that.
Prophets call people who are wallowing in injustice and neglect back to justice and Thomas does that. He calls us to Eco-Justice which is the necessary context for all other justice struggles be they economic, racial, gender or class. He calls us as the prophets of old did to the Great Work and thus to leave trivial work behind. In a brief essay on Hildegard of Bingen he wrote this about western spirituality: Nor do Christians seem to be aware of the futility of social transformations proceeding on an historical-industrial rather than on a comprehensive ecological basis….
We find relatively few Christian guides in the past to enlighten or to inspire us to a more functional relationship between the human and the natural worlds. Thomas Aquinas of the 13 th century who was condemned three times by the church before they canonized him a saint. Like Thomas Berry, Aquinas had the imagination, the scientific curiosity and the courage to propose a whole new direction for Christian theology in his day and the direction was that of incorporating science and of course the breakthrough science of Aquinas' day was Aristotle, a pagan, who came to Europe by way of Islam.
Aristotle came double-tainted into Christianity and this is why Aquinas was condemned three times because he was working overtime with those who were more than Christian. Some of Aquinas' observations follow. Nature and the Bible. Why is it that by now EVERY seminary, every school that pretends to be training spiritual leaders, does not have scientists on its faculty telling us the revelation of nature, its mysticism and the ethics to be derived from that as well as biblical theologians?
We must find the balance anew between the revelation of nature and the revelation of the Bible. In fact in the Bible there is a whole tradition, the wisdom tradition, scholars now agree was the tradition of the historic Jesus which is total nature mysticism. One prevalent teaching of scholars today is that Jesus as a child, being considered illegitimate, was excluded from the synagogue so he went out and played in nature while others were meeting to pray indoors and that radicalized him.
It comes through in all of his parables and all of his teaching which are all nature based. Wisdom literature is not based on reading books. Jesus was illiterate like most of his country people.
Consider for example the great Otto Rank, the father of humanistic psychology who broke with Freud over many issues. Rank came to the conclusion that the number one problem for human beings is the feeling of separation that begins with leaving the womb which was our universe for nine months and the rest of life is about trying to find a reunion with the cosmos. This is that wound: That we feel separated from the cosmos. He says the only solution is the Unio Mystica , being one with the all, in tune with the cosmos. And indigenous people all know about this.
Witness the reverence of the primitives for animals. In humans identification aims at reestablishing a lost identity with the cosmic process that has to be surrendered and continuously reestablished in the course of self-development. Gaston Bachelard, the late twentieth century French philosopher, comments on what happens when cosmos and psyche reconnect.
All awe is both an intense and intimate experience.
We have a right to intimacy and things are set up biased in favor of intimacy. Like Thomas Berry, Aquinas had the imagination, the scientific curiosity and the courage to propose a whole new direction for Christian theology in his day and the direction was that of incorporating science and of course the breakthrough science of Aquinas' day was Aristotle, a pagan, who came to Europe by way of Islam. No animals or plants housed souls according to Descartes. He calls us as the prophets of old did to the Great Work and thus to leave trivial work behind. John Muir Table of Contents. We all flow from one fountain Soul. The pursuit of truth is a spiritual act, a meditation.
Humans cannot separate the immense, intense and intimate experience and Thomas Berry by leading us into a cosmic awareness again, an awareness as important for our hearts as for our minds, is bathing us anew in Immensity, Intensity and Intimacy far beyond any mere anthropocentric relationship could ever do for us. I honor Thomas and Aquinas and others who are helping us to name the vastness of our souls.
Ernest Holmes put it this way: Holmes was right and Thomas Berry is right. Thomas Berry carries us into diversity as well. Many western philosophers have fought over the issue of the one vs. Berry calls the universe the primary artist. Thus the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness …. Not only are individual creatures images of God but so too is the whole cosmos.
Thomas Berry says it. In addition, he sees the universe itself as a mirror of Divinity when he observes: I mean by this the world itself. Why are we here? As Aquinas very bluntly puts it: The most excellent being in the universe is the universe itself. Thomas taught us to see with new eyes old new eyes? He reseeds the goodness or blessing that is inherent in all of being. Without this consciousness we are short on right behavior. For example, Black Elk says: This is the Eye of the Great Spirit…. If Black Elk is correct, then Thomas is an ethical teacher showing us the way to recover our peacefulness and ways of reconnecting to the powers of the universe itself.
Aquinas put intimacy this way: Insofar as a thing has existence it is like God. We have a right to intimacy and things are set up biased in favor of intimacy.
An anthropocentric consciousness is not capable of providing intimacy and this is why television is run over with soap operas—an infinite amount, unending number, of pseudo-love shows that are destined not to satisfy. Intimacy is found in a more than human context and we are invited to participate. We see in Thomas the yoga of study itself. By his life style Thomas reminds us of something that our educational system has practically forgotten and that is that learning itself is prayer.
Learning itself can be a spiritual practice. The pursuit of truth is a spiritual act, a meditation. The rabbis of old knew this—studying Torah is prayer. Aquinas knew that—his study was his prayer. Our secularization of education has sucked out of us the joy and commitment and thrill and yoga that study is. The excitement and spiritual experience of learning is so often left behind.
Whether you study languages, mathematics, science, if you bring your heart to it, it is a spiritual discipline. We thank Thomas for that as well as Aquinas. And finally, Thomas Berry is a true elder to the young—so important in our time. The young are yearning for elders and there are so few. What can you say of the captains of industry, the Enrons, the Andersons, the Talibans, the World Coms, the Vaticans in this moment of history? They all suffer from a terminal disease called Patriarchal Excess and from Adultism.
They want to use the youth but are not there to awaken the stories of the youth.
And Thomas Berry has been inspiring youth for years.