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Ilia Delio

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Ilia Delio: Okay. There’s two things you should know upfront. I come from the Franciscan tradition and we are very incarnation-centered. Our way of life is really seeking Christ in the world and Christ in all things. I’m a scientist by training actually. Spent about over twenty years studying science, from a biology major and up to a doctorate in Pharmacology. I was in brain and spinal cord research before I heard the call and left the world of scientific research for religious life.—actually for a cloistered monastery. [Laughter] I spent four years in a very strict traditional monastery—learned the art of prayer and how to plant a vegetable garden at the same time. [Laughter]

 

Ilia: Right!. It’s interesting that Augustine spoke of love as the weight of the soul and you can speak of love as the gravity of the soul. As physical gravity bends the space-time fabric of the earth, intense love bends the soul and opens it up to more love or to more relationship. We’re rather stuck when you go back to this dichotomy between science and religion. We’re stuck on an upper, a more superficial level of intellectual ideas, but the science and religion dialogue as a dialogue, needs to go deeper into that place of love. In other words, that gravity of the soul in the universe that is metaphorically moving the sun and the stars, is also moving people toward one another

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You can, then, see the whole evolutionary process as a cruciform process, the cross spread out over fourteen billion years of evolution. Despite the forces of resistance, this movement higher or this movement forwards, towards unity, is the struggle upward to the great YES, to greater unity. The desire from within the human heart, and from within the heart of the cosmos for greater unity is, today, an evolutionary turning point—we’re at a transitional point where the evolutionary push is towards greater unity.

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. In the scientific area, the body is not really part of the process—it may be—but we’re less attentive to its part in the whole knowing process. The focus is usually on the cognitive or intellectual portion of knowing. In the monastic way of prayer there’s a much greater involvement of the whole person, of the whole body, and the whole spirit in the experience of God.

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And then with the rise of Scholasticism, when knowledge became an objective question, we abstracted it then from the experience of things. And that objectification of knowledge did several things: One it caused, in some ways, a separation of the elites: the knowers, from the common person. the unlearned person. The second is that the objectification of knowledge left spirituality bereft, it left it orphaned with no place for the experience of God and world.

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Whether we return to organic, non-interfaced, relationships, I do think, will determine what new turn evolution is going to take.. We know that the universe could go on for billions of years. I’m not sure if we, as a species, are evolving ourselves out of existence or evolving into a greater existence.

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This idea of thinking that Christ is the whole reason for the universe rather than only an afterthought in the universe is, some people think, grounded in the letter to the Colossians the first chapter and the letter to the Ephesians where the author speaks in Colossians of Christ as the head of creation. In that sense, when we think of Christ as the beginning of creation—Christ is the word of God and so that very word spoken by God is a word of love. In that word of God spoken in love is the world.. . . If we think about love incarnated all along, then from the Big Bang onward, in every quark and every photon in every hydrogen atom and in everything that’s emerging, the whole evolutionary universe is that word of love being incarnated.

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My mind is sufficiently blown. Do you have a link to the rest of that?

 

Lots to unpack there. I love the idea that Christ is the point of the universe, that redemption and reconciliation with God is the reason for all this. Love it, love it, love it.

 

If it isn't taken too narrowly, the idea that evolution is a 'cruciform process' spread out over millions of years is also nice.

 

And finally, this may be a little strange, but I love how it isn't anthropocentric. Love and reconciliation is something the universe is experiencing, not just humanity. It's not just about us. I think some forms of Christianity encourage an environmental arrogance where they only thing that matters is humanity. This goes somewhere else.

 

Thanks, Dutch. I needed that this morning :)

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I immediately went to the net, this Ilia Delio sounds very interesting. Alas, more books to read.

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Thanks for the first chapter of Ilia Delio’s book.

One thing that stood out for me-- “Creation is not a backdrop for human drama, but the disclosure of God’s identity.” If I understand her, it’s similar to Bruce Sanguin saying, “We feel hope from the inside out because this Presence, Creativity, Love, and Intelligence will never stop being what It is or doing what It does. ..We begin to take a God’s-Eye perspective…. our passion is to be agents of conscious evolution in the domains of self, culture, ecology, and the socio-political arena…this becomes our prime directive.”

 

I find it difficult to wrap my mind around Evolutionary Christianity, partly because to me there is no real contradiction between science and religion that needs to be reconciled or reframed. From what I have read (only scratching the surface) it seems like a convincing and attractive cosmic perspective, emphasizing that we create the future, that we need to take responsibility for the environment, and transcend tribal mentality, among other things.

 

But it’s so vast, abstract and impersonal that it doesn’t move me emotionally or spiritually. Do others feel this way, after reading Delio’s chapter or some of the interviews or blogs?

 

another voice of EC, Barbara Marx Hubbard – “Despite the moral and spiritual teaching of all the great systems, none have been able to move humanity toward a shared awareness that we are all members of one planetary body….” a worthy goal. Maybe this is the essential purpose and direction of EC - ?

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Just made me think of the little verse of the Pure Land "saint" Saichi........

 

O Saichi! What is your joy?

This world of delusion is my joy!

It contains the seeds

Of relishing the Dharma!

Namu-Amida-Butsu is blooming everywhere!

 

:)

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nice verse :-)

 

Going back to Dutch’s first post --I understand when Delio says “Christ is the whole reason for the universe”-- the Logos, the Word of God from the beginning of time, as in the gospel of John. But it’s not clear to me what this implies: “the whole evolutionary process is a cruciform process, the cross spread out over fourteen billion years of evolution.” Maybe others here are better able to explain.

 

Mostly what I’m trying to figure out is, what is truly new in this movement? Obviously many leading-edge voices from diverse fields are enthusiastic about EC. So far it seems to me, that it goes beyond PC in emphasizing a scientific approach, and global interrelatedness (as Delio says, “Relationship is not a quality of being, it IS being. Everything in the universe is genetically related, bound together in communion”). Realizing that humanity has always been co-creators with God, and that we are now (supposedly) in a position to consciously direct our own future. Seeing the bible as one small part of the larger epic of evolution which shapes us spiritually. (that last part is hardest for me)

Edited by rivanna

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So often that we encounter, if we but recognize them, the same concepts presented gain and again, simply in different languages.

I think perhaps in another of the many languages in which this idea might be expressed, would be that of the Rose blooming upon the Cross of Matter...

While the Rosicrucians are probably the most widely recognized order today that ascribe to these perspectives, the have been and are many branches of what are commonly called "Orders of the Rose Cross", and these concepts even crossed over from early Christianity to Sufism as it emerged from within Islam.

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