A Very Special Greeting to my Brother in Asheville on this special moment of your Retirement (re-firement and re-wirement) from active duty at Jubilee!.
What a wonderful journey it has been, Howard, for you and for the thousands upon thousands of people you and your very alive community have reached not only in your services and projects but in just being a beacon, a sign of hope and creativity, a witness to what creative worship can mean and how Creation Spirituality can create a welcome matrix for all the birthings you all have accomplished these thirty years. Thirty years! Hasn’t the time flown by fast?
Like your teacher Jesus you have brought life and life in abundance to so many, like him too you are a mystic in action, a prophet, one who interfered with what Rabbi Heschel calls “insipid” (meaning flat and uninspiring and unchallenging) religion to get at the heart of it all–life, love, aliveness, humor–and music led the way.
May your dancing and musical soul find further excitement in the years ahead as the active peace-maker you are and have been. May your Re-firement and Re-wirement be a continued grace to many!
Thank you for making creation spirituality truly live in a parish context–and for the courage and creativity that has so marked your years of birthing.
Your brother in Spirit and Creation Spirituality,
Matt Fox, Theologian
Rare among religious spokesmen in the western world, Howard Hanger possesses (and has often demonstrated by both word and deed) the wisdom that recognizes that there are occasions when a grin can be nearly as luminous as a halo, that heartfelt laughter is not always antithetical to prayer, and that the jester’s jingly cap can both cover the pain and defy the mockery of a crown of thorns.
Even more significantly, perhaps, Howard also has shown — by personal example — that one may lead a meaningful spiritual life without compromising one’s intellect; that we need not starve our mind in order to nourish our soul.
And finally, Howard has demonstrated — for Jubilee! and beyond — the truth inherent in that perhaps most illuminating gem of Carolina mountain wisdom, as spoken by an old farmer who, when asked along a roadside for directions to Asheville, paused significantly, scratched his head with his hoe, and announced: “If you don’t plant ‘taters, they won’t grow.”
Tom Robbins, Author, Summer of 2019