Monday, April 25, 2005

Totally Cool Coincidences

Coincidence Factor (CF for short) #1: Watching the biopic/religious/historical epic film "Luther", about Martin Luther, the spiritual firebrand theologian who threatened the regal power of the Papacy in 15th century Europe.

CF #2: The week following my viewing of 'Luther', Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Cardinal Josef Ratzinger) was chosen as the successor to St. Peter and the more than two hundred fifty popes who have led the Roman Catholic Church.

CF #3: Staying up late the other night on a whim, I am flipping channels and get the beginning of Pope Benedict's first mass as Pope in St. Peter's Square. I can't really stand looking at his creepy Bela Lugosi eyes and turn it off once they start panning to him every two seconds.

CF #4: Watched 'I Heart Huckabees' last night for the first time. Trippy movie. Made me think a lot about...coincidences.

CF #5: New visitor Ben uses the phrase 'coincidences of ours' in his comment to my last post. Not sure if it's a "Huckabees" reference but close enough. Coincidence!

CF #6: Got this email today from the University of Creation Spirituality/Wisdom University, a New Age-y, eclectic spiritual institute that I'm not big into but that I still respect, mostly because excommunicated former priest (and Bay Area resident) Matthew Fox is their head honcho of sorts. I've met him a couple of times; he's a cool guy, if not a little egotistical, but hey, when someone's the spiritual equivalent of an international rock star, what can one expect?

Here's an excerpt from the email:

"There are many exciting things happening to which I would like to draw to your attention. 

We are developing an extraordinary and provocative strategy for Matt, given the fact that his nemesis Josef Ratzinger is now Pope.  Matt is writing a letter to Ratzinger challenging him to make good on his assertion in his first mass after his installation on April 24th  to "listen to the whole church" by meeting first with all those he expelled or silenced while he was Head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. As you know, scores of other leading theologians and priests besides Matt were silenced or expelled by Ratzinger in the squelching of dissent while he was Head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, including Hans Kung, a German theologian, and Leonardo Boeff, a Brazilian Jesuit.   All of them are being invited to co-sign Fox's letter.

Additionally, Matt is preparing a manifesto called "The New Reformation: Toward a Mature Christianity", in which he proclaims that we are in fact confronted with two churches: one dominated by the image of the punitive father, personified by the long and harsh career of Ratzinger himself and his long suppression of internal dissent, rejection of other religions,
and protection of pedophile priests; and the other expressed by the feminine spirit of Wisdom and personified by a compassionate mother/father god of justice and compassion.  It is time for the church to choose whom it will follow:  an angry exclusionary god or the loving open path of wisdom.

To dramatize his letter and his Proclamation, Matthew will be preaching a sermon on Pentacost Sunday May 15 in Germany near Frankfurt. He will proclaim the need for a new reformation and expound the choices before the church, while inviting the Pope to meet with him and others who like him were silenced or expelled.  If all goes according to plan, he will then travel to Wittenberg, where Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses at the Cathedral in 1517, and nail his Proclamation on the same church doors.

From Wittenberg, he will travel to Rome where at the gates of St. Peter's Cathedral he will challenge Ratzinger to a debate about the future of Christianity at this moment of historical crisis and opportunity.

Isn't this totally cool?"

Yes, it is. Totally f**ckin' cool. My meditation-induced hopefulness is gettin' a turbo charge outta this sh*t.

In Peace,


smithfarm said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm currently reading Fox's "Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest" book and discovering his thinking. And very taken by it, I might add. Wonder why you consider him the spiritual equivalent of an international rock star, though? Nathan

Rona Fernandez said...

Nathan--i may be exaggerating with my comparison of Fox to a rock star, but as far as i know, he is quite famous as a charismatic, visionary and bold theologian among the 'creation spirituality', new pagan and other circles. he's the kind of guy that draws a crowd, so to speak. i've met him a couple times and, personality-wise, he's fairly soft-spoken and humble. but there's a streak in him that just draws people in, a 'star quality', if you will.

happy reading,

smithfarm said...

Hi Rona:
Have you read Matthew's blog? There's a good description of the "nailing" event in Wittenburg from the horse's mouth, as it were. With pictures. The URL is: