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What is Creation Spirituality?

Creation Spirituality starts with original blessing, rather than with original sin. It regains the understanding that our original and true nature, the original and true nature of all things, is "very good." Although this good original self has been obscured and distorted by alienation and sin, it is still our authentic self. Redemption comes to us, not as a power alien to our natures, but as an "aha" experience that puts us back in touch with our authentic natures. Redemption also reconnects us with our relational nexus. We reconnect with the relationship of reason and intuition, consciousness and embodiment, ourselves and others-humans, animals, plants.

Creation Spirituality unleashes vitality, creativity and playfulness. It is generous, mutually affirming of diversity, and non-competitive. Unlike fall-redemption spirituality, it does not set up competitive dualisms between males and females, celibate and married, heterosexual and homosexual, white and black, Christian and non-Christian, us and them. It is egalitarian and pluralistic, rejoicing in the manyness of beings that interconnect in a rich cosmic community. It allows us to lay aside our defenses, our needs to control, dominate and destroy the other. It is the spirituality that is needed for an ecological, peacemaking and just world community.

There is also a royal line of Christian spirituality which has retained the creation-based sense of spirituality. This is found in Eastern Christian mysticism, rooted in the cosmological Wisdom as the ground of being and renewed being. It is found in medieval mystical theologians such as Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and Nicolas of Cusa. The recovery of the creation-based tradition requires both the reinterpretation of theologians, such as Aquinas, long pressed into the mold of fall-redemption spirituality, and the recovery of neglected figures, especially the women mystics.

Creation Spirituality, while exemplified in one line of Christianity, is truly as old as creation. It is found in all the great mystical traditions of Hasidic Judaism, Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. It is even more fully expressed in the nature religions of Native peoples that have been conquered and almost exterminated by patriarchal dualistic religions: the spirituality of ancient Celts, Africans, Australian Aborigines, and Native Americans. Creation Sprituality calls for a "deep ecumenism" which brings together these traditions of Creation Spirituality from every culture.

Creation Spirituality seeks a wholistic spirituality that overcomes the dualism between religion and science, between spirituality and social justice and between psyche and society. It is a justice-seeking spirituality. It is fundamentally feminist and anti-patriarchal. The affirmation of women's power in religion and society is central, but not simply in order to integrate a few individual women into a male-defined world. Rather, to reclaim feminine values for men as well, in order to create a new culture rooted in "right-brain" capacities for intuition and relationality.

Creation Spirituality is naturally allied with liberation theologies and the struggles for justice in Latin America, Asia and Africa against colonialism. The tragedies of abusive relations in our own society:the abuse of the young, of women and of the poor, the gross expenditure of wealth, of militarism: all this is part of the story of a patriarchal alienation of human and planetary life.

Creativity is also central. Reclaiming our suppressed creativity is the major fruit of getting back in touch with our fuller self. Painting, sculpture, dance, music are the expressions that mirror back to us our larger powers and life energies. Enhanced creativity also will renew liturgy, making it truly the mimesis of redeemed community in celebration, rather than an exercise in boredom and alienation. Above all, the exploding inner self allows us to recover our repressed sexuality, so long the target of projected hostility and guilt. Rather than splitting sexuality between libertine exploitation and ascetic repression, our sexuality can again become a wholistic way of expressing delight and love in relationship with the beloved other person.•

Adapted from "Creation Spirituality: The Message and the Movement" by Rosemary Radford Ruether, origianlly published in the Novemeber/December 1990 issue of Creation Spirituality magazine.