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Excerpted from One River, Many Wells by Matthew Fox. Copyright 2000 by Matthew Fox. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"I am not alone in calling for religions themselves to practice the humility they so often demand of individual adherents."

  Matthew Fox
One River, Many Wells
, Part 1

It is my belief that in the Presence of God there is neither male nor female, white nor black, Gentile nor Jew, Protestant nor Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, nor Moslem, but a human spirit stripped to the literal substance of itself before God.

- Howard Thurman, Creative Encounter

Religions are integral to Creation because they are themselves created, set up by humans in relationship to their stories of the Divine. In addition, religions provide us with a perspective, a lens through which we see Creation and interpret it. Therefore, it seems important to consider Deep Ecumenism even before we delve into the deep mysteries of Creation itself.

I am writing these words at the ocean in Northern California, where the waves are churning and inspired, full of energy and rushing where they will. Spirit is like that full of energy and free to choose its own path.

My thoughts turn to the subject of our various religions. None of them is mother of the ocean, rather the ocean is mother of all things. Our religions are so recent in relation to the lifetime of the sea and to most other creatures including humanity itself. What religions did our ancestors practice for the two million years that preceded the forms we now recognize as "world religions"? How humble our religions ought to be before all creatures. As Mechtild of Magdeburg said, "the truly wise person kneels at the feet of all creatures."

Deep Ecumenism should be deep, it ought to demand of human religions that they imitate the depths of the sea (la mer) in its capacity to maintain mystery and energy, being mother (la mere) to all beings. Varying with the course of seasons and the topography of land and water alike, ecumenism ought to be big, accepting, magnanimous, forgiving. It ought to just be.

Our souls are meant to imitate the sea also. That is our origin. Our very life-blood imitates the saltwater of the ocean. But culture so often shrinks our souls that they fit a consumer mold or some other tribal size.

I am not alone in calling for religions themselves to practice the humility they so often demand of individual adherents. All the mystics the truly deep ecumenists speak as I do. Hear them out. Consider how well we are doing.

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