NATURAL GRACE by Matthew Fox


Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science
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 A graceful and illuminating spiritual conversation between a well-known theologian and a cutting-edge scientist. Fox, an Episcopal priest and author of several books on spirituality (On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear, 1972, etc.), here engages in a unique conversation with Sheldrake (Seven Experiments That Could Change the World, 1995), a British scientist and former research fellow at Cambridge University. Their dialogue encompasses prayer, darkness, ecology, mysticism, and the soul; what emerges from their provocative insights is the sense that the gap between science and religion is perhaps not so wide as Western rationalism might have us believe. Both contend that Westerners have lost touch with their souls--that part of their being which links them to nature and the divine. Fox's contribution is somewhat more accessible than that of Sheldrake, who in criticizing the prevailing scientific worldview occasionally forgets that his readers may need that rationalist perspective explained before it can be thrown out of the window. Readers may also question ``morphic resonance,'' the controversial New Agetype theory that has made Sheldrake famous. He argues that through morphic resonance, ``if rats in Sheffield learn a new trick, rats all around the world should be able to learn it quicker just because it has been learned there.'' But the rest of the conversations are real gems. Both participants are lucid and creative in their approaches to hackneyed theological debates on worship, prayer, and meditation. Both share humbly and honestly from their personal experiences, often speaking anecdotally of the many remarkable people they have encountered in their careers. Fox also draws freely from the wisdom of past mystics such as Meister Eckhart and Theresa of Avila, and the effect is like magic. This is a book to be read under a shady tree when one has time to reflect and to enjoy the beauty of nature. (3 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-48356-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996


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