On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear


At a church book sale, I paid twenty five cents for a used copy of an old book by Matthew Fox, On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear. The book, which was written in 1972, represents one of his very early writings, and I was surprised when I looked it up on Amazon.com that it appears to be out of print, and it has no user reviews on that web site. Fox is a prolific and popular author, and I would have thought that this book would be in print, although, as far as I can tell, it seems to predate his more fully formed Creation Spirituality.

The book is full of quotable passages, and in my view ought to be considered a spiritual classic. The book is certainly a product of its time, and yet in many ways one finds how little has changed in the US with respect to religious and political questions in the intervening years. For example, Fox writes at one point:

It may dismay some that our generic understanding of prayer does not contain an explicit reference to God. The difficulty in talking of God today is that the name, paraded for centuries as the Father of western culture, has lost its meaning within that failing culture. Believers who claim an ancestry to the Israelites might do well to imitate their modesty in the face of Yahweh, whose name the Jews refused to employ more than once a year and whom they refused to address directly. For the Jew, one's name is a sacred trust. To know one's name is to have power over that one. Rightfully, then, they were cautious in pronouncing God's sacred name, for no one holds power over God. Contrast this respect for a name to the use of "God" in American culture, where self-anointed president and pundit alike invoke and preach him. We should not forget that we are a people who have altered the name of God by putting him on our coinage with all the ambiguity that "In God We Trust" implies.
The situation that Fox describes in American culture is even more true today than it was when he wrote it.


Mystical Bear said...

Just an FYI: Fox re-released this with a new title - Prayer: A Radical Response to Life. I noticed that there were still no reviews, but the book is still available.