The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human

Matthew Fox’s newest book, which up till now I’ve been paying all too little attention to (probably because I’m a little put off by an acronym in the title of a book), is called The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human. His Reinvention of Work: A Vision of a New Livelihood for Our Time was a life-changing book for me, and Fox’s new book, which connects awe and education, is incredibly relevant to the project of this blog. I’ve often had the thought that Fox’s work can be a lens through which to explore a renewal of education, and that if someday I wrote a book, I could make that connection, but here is a book that makes that connection explicit! Though there will be those who agree wholeheartedly, and those who disagree passionately, I see Fox’s ideas for reinventing culture, which have at their core spirituality and honouring the childlike nature of ourselves (both of which are altogether ignored in most liberal and even radical critiques of culture) as essential. In this new book (which came out in the Fall of 2006) Fox introduces 10 C’s that are at the core of his renewed philosophy of education:

1.) Cosmology and Ecology
2.) Contemplation, Meditation
3.) Creativity
4.) Chaos and Darkness
5.) Compassion
6.) Courage
7.) Critical Consciousness and Judgement
8.) Community
9.) Ceremony, Celebration and Ritual
10.) Character

I haven’t yet picked up the book (which I’ll try to find through inter-library loan at the library or through an online bookseller) but I think I may eventually explore each of these 10 C’s one at a time in my blog. (Or at least, I think I’ll do some kind of methodical approach to Matthew Fox’s work.) If there’s a single writer that I think readers of this blog should be acquainted with it’s Matthew Fox. A minor caveat I have in introducing him is that, as an Episcopalian priest originally coming out of the Catholic tradition, his writing is quite enmeshed in theology. If you’re open enough not to be immediately put off by Christian theology, I think you’ll find value in Matthew Fox’s approach, and learn something new about the Christian tradition as well. His theology is not your grandfather’s theology: it’s a very spiritual theology, that can be appreciated by a secular audience, and his spirituality vision of cultural renewal are very relevant to my project with this blog. I must emphasise that you don’t have to be interested in theology to appreciate his work.

He’s been the subject of a lot of criticism from conservative Catholics, and according to some blogs I’ve read, is considered by many of these Catholic bloggers as one of the “most dangerous theologians.” On the other hand, I know many more progressive Catholic priests and nuns who appreciate his work, and I would add that, all of the ten C’s mentioned above can be seen as categories in Catholic theology, albeit often neglected ones. My hope is that those who read this blog can understand the importance of at least some of the ten C’s above, whether we’re Christian or not, whether we consider ourselves spiritual or not. Reading Matthew Fox, I have a new appreciation of the Christian tradition, as he challenges so many of the assumptions I previously had about it. Fox provides a language for communicating my own worldview with Christians. I used to be scared to share my worldview with some Christians, as I thought we had very different visions, and perhaps we do, but now I’m confident that what I’m interested in is usually there, somewhere in the Christian tradition, perhaps hidden or neglected, but there. I hope that translating between worldviews, finding ways to cooperate and get along with people with very different ones, can be a focus of this blog.

Thomas Berry said: “Matthew Fox might well be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America. He has the skill to fill this role at a time when the more official Christian theological traditions are having difficulty in establishing any vital contact with either the spiritual possibilities of the present or with their own most creative spiritual traditions of the past.”

So, I hope if any of this piqued your interest, you will look into Matthew Fox’s work. Or perhaps if you continue to read this blog we can explore some of Matthew Fox’s ideas together.

And especially, if you’re under 30, and are a fan of Matthew Fox, I’d love to hear from you. It’s strange, but I don’t know any younger people who are interested in his work, and I’d really like to find some!

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~ by dewiniaeth on June 21, 2007.

7 Responses to “The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human”

  1. Hi, I came across your blog while searching Matthew Fox’s new book and found your description of yourself very interesting. I work at a charter school in northwestern NJ whose mission is “educating children for a sustainable future”. I don’t know your background or location, but thought you might find our school interesting and wanted to mention that we are currently looking for a “support guide” staff member who can share their loves/passions/skills with our staff and students. Here is our website: http://www.ridgeandvalley.org Check it out!

  2. Thanks for letting me know about your school. I was at the AERO (Alternative Education Resource Education) annual conference in Troy NY this weekend and wonder if you or anyone from your school was there. Right now I’m working to start a democratic alternative school in Worcester Mass. It’s nice to hear you found my blog searching for Matthew Fox. 🙂 A “support guide” sounds like a really exciting position and I’d love to hear more about it.

  3. I’ve read a few of Matthew Fox’s books and I’m currently reading his “Creativity: Where the Human and Divine Meet” and find it an excellent book. I find my emerging worldview (mystical and creative spirituality out of “mainstream Christianity”) finds a place in his theology. Fox’s theology challenges us and makes us (regardless of belief) expand ourselves the way Christ called us. Peace!

  4. Hi! I am a huge fan of Matthew Fox. I actually met him in person two weeks ago, during his lectures in Chattanooga, TN, on “The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human” and “Return of the Sacred Masculine: Marriage with the Divine Feminine”. It was fantastic. I was able to arrange an hour of one-on-one discussion with him. I have been diligently working to spread the word of creation-centered theology/spirituality/philosophy for the past eleven years, even though I didn’t discover Dr. Fox’s writings until 2006. It has been a very hard road, especially since I am a pastor’s kid from the conservative evangelical tradition. I heavily researched the traditional Christian Doctrine of Creation for many years before I found creation spirituality/theology. Although I am a moderate (not a liberal), I strongly desire for people, religious or irreligious and conservative or liberal, to have much more dialogue on creation-centered thought and life. Our society needs this badly. Anyone out there who is interested in talking about this subject may feel free to email me, Andy, at rhodeaj@mindspring.com.

  5. ALSO, YOU CAN READ THE ENTRE BOOK, “The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human” (AND OTHER BOOKS BY FOX), FOR FREE HERE:

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=a4EU9Rxgu6MC&dq=The+A.w.e.+Project:+Reinventing+Education,+Reinventing+the+Human&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=XXq6sEj9fU&sig=qTKoSkepRHISOcevX38WgsrZgGA&ei=ClCcSe_eBIOftwfE6JTpBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPT1,M1

  6. HERE, YOU CAN READ HIS LATEST BOOK FOR FREE, “The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine‎”:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=widVy77KqFwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+hidden+spirituality+of+men

  7. And there are tons of video lectures here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MatthewFoxFCS

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