Matthew Fox spells out his bold, imaginative, and far-ranging views on an important subject that until now has proved too daunting for even the most forward-thinking members of the religious establishment. The author, who recently joined the Anglican Church after being dismissed from the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church, charts a spirituality of work for this postmodern era.
As the maverick founder of the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality, Fox has had to reinvent his own vocation as theologian, writer, teacher, lecturer, and counterculture gadfly. This is a passionate book which has grown out of his soul searching.
The Reinvention of Work is fueled by ideas and images of mystics from many religious traditions, including Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Abraham Heschel, Rumi, and Kabir. There are also insights proffered by modern thinkers and philosophers, including E. F. Schumacher, Brian Swimme, Thomas Berry, and Rupert Sheldrake.
Fox covers an amazing amount of territory as he delineates the paradigm shift from the dying industrial machine age to the new cosmology green era. We are already beginning to change the way we think, talk about, and experience work. The new emphasis is upon soul, the expression of our inner being. Work, as Fox and the mystics make clear, is closely linked with creativity, relationships, community, compassion, justice, and "the Great Work of the Universe."
Present day dissatisfaction with jobs, widespread unemployment, and workaholism all stem from the same source the desacralization of work. By probing the depths of our souls, we can begin the healing that is necessary in our time. Or as the Sufi mystic Rumi advises: "Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible." Fox spells out in detail just what this inner work means.
Then in four highly provocative chapters, the author presents his ideas on the reinvention of work as related to family, politics, education, youth, health care, psychology, art, economics, business, and science. As a critic of the old way of looking at the professions, he makes it clear that good work contributes to the extension of justice, compassion, and social transformation.
Fox predicts that ritual will be the growth industry of the 1990s since it "heals and celebrates . . . joining the work of our daily lives with the Great Work of the Universe." He closes with a meditation on work as sacrament alive with grace, goodness, and renewal. This is a great book for small groups to savor, digest, discuss, and debate.