By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Internationally acclaimed theologian Matthew Fox will lecture, present a workshop, and preach in Oklahoma City, over four days, October 18 through 21.
Fox is renowned for a message of creation spirituality that joins traditional Judeo-Christian teaching with today’s concerns for environmental stewardship, social justice and gender justice.
Fox’s Oklahoma presentations are cosponsored by the Oklahoma City University Willson Lecture Series, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches Environmental Committee, local churches, organizations and individuals.
On Thursday, October 18, on the Oklahoma City University campus, Fox will discuss faith, religion, science and modern society. At 1 p.m. he will explore “Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet” and at 2:30 p.m. Fox will address “Creation, Spirituality and the Future of Religion.” Both talks will be held at the OCU’s Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel.
That evening, at 7 p.m. Fox will deliver a presentation titled “Creation Spirituality and the Future of Our Earth.” at Grace United Methodist Church, 6316 N. Tulsa Avenue. The three lectures are free and open to the public.
The Rev. Dr. Leslie Long, OCU religious education professor, said Fox’s presentations address questions about how faith relates to religious practice, science and society.
“Faith can challenge us to think about how we engage with the world we live in and with what God has created,” Long said.
The annual Willson Lectures at Oklahoma City University are provided by an endowment from James M. and Mavis Willson. Since 1953, the series has brought speakers of international stature from the areas of religion, science, Christian theology and ethics, church history, biblical studies and liturgical studies.
For more information, call 405-208-5284 or email Annette Harper at [email protected].
Fox is an Episcopal priest and he was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate in the history and theology of spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of creation spirituality.
He has authored more than 35 books – translated into 60 languages – on spirituality and contemporary culture.
While in Oklahoma City, Fox will speak twice at the Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N. Pennsylvania Avenue. On Friday, Oct. 19, from 7 – 8:30 p.m., Fox will address the topic “Sacred Order of the Earth.” A book signing and reception will follow.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 20, Fox will lead a workshop themed, “The Teaching of Mystics,” from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Doors will open 30 minutes before both events for registration, book sales/signing and early seating.
The cost is $25 for one or both COA events. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online (openarms.org) by filling out the ‘one-time’ donation form, designating $25 in the “Matthew Fox Events” option box. For more information, call Rev. Kayla Bonewell at 405-525-9555, or email [email protected].
On Sunday, Oct. 21, Fox will present the early (8:30 a.m.) and late (11 a.m.) services at Crown Heights United Methodist Church, 1021 NW 37th Street. To learn more, call 405-524-8428 or visit crownheightsumc.org.
In 1996, Fox founded the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, CA, offering both a Doctor of Ministry program and a master’s degree program accredited through Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Fox has since taught at institutions including Stanford University, Vancouver School of Theology, Association for Transpersonal Psychology, the California Institute of Integral Studies, Schumacher College, the Findhorn Foundation, and the Omega Institute.
“We are excited that Matt Fox is coming back to Oklahoma – this time to talk and inspire us about how we can be engaged together, as he says, ‘to be the best lovers and defenders of Mother Earth” that we can be’,” said Pat Hoerth Batchelder, a deaconess at Commonwealth Urban Farms and member of Mosaic United Methodist Church.
“Sometimes we feel overwhelmed about how we can help restore Earth to health. Matt’s approach is practical and do-able for all of us. And we stand to have healthier communities in the process.”
In addition to sponsorship by the OCU Willson Lecture Series and Oklahoma Conference of Churches Environmental Committee, cosponsors of Fox’s Oklahoma presentations include the Oklahoma Mainstream United Methodists, Crown Heights and Mosaic United Methodist Churches, Edmond Trinity Christian Church DOC, Mayflower Congregational and Church of the Open Arms UCC, Green Connections, Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition, The Peace House, and Susie Shields Derichsweiler.