The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature and Spirit

The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature and Spirit
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LaChance, Albert J. Lorbiecki, Marybeth, , Following St.

This sacred earth : religion, nature, environment

Louv, Richard, Low, Alains, and Soraya Tremayne, eds. Mann, A. Manning, Russell R. May, Gerald G. McGrath, Alister E. Moreley, James M. Newberg, A. Newburn, Kent, and Louise Mengelkoch, ed. Niman, Michael I.

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Trapani, Mary Evelyn Tucker, eds. Spiritual ecology is a complex. Copyright Information Powered by eiine. New items or newly discovered ones since publication of the book, with a few exceptions. Bergmann, P. Scott S. Campbell, Joseph, et al. Eck, Diana L. Levine, Michael P. Maslow, Abraham H.

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Mercer, J. Merritt, Dennis L. Merwin, W. Porter, Joy, Salmon, James, ed. Schwartz, Richard, , Judaism and Global Survival. I was stunned and dismayed. For people generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation. Bingo: To care about our common future, we need a story of the origin, nature, and purpose of creation that reflects the fullness of our current human knowledge, gives us a reason to live, and serves as our guide to forming healthy, mature relationships with one another and a living Earth.

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Three story candidates have established currency in Western culture: the Distant Patriarch, the Grand Machine, and the Integral Spirit. The first two are instantly familiar, but inadequate to the needs of our time. Only the third serves the needs of our time, but lacks a defined public presence and institutional sponsorship.

Here is a quick review. The Distant Patriarch story is most commonly associated with the institutions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It views creation as the work of an all-knowing, all-powerful God who, from his home in a separate, sacred dimension called Heaven observes and judges our obedience to His commandments as handed down to us through sacred texts and interpreted by His anointed religious authorities. This story focuses our attention on our individual relationships with a personal but distant God and on access to the afterlife as our primary purpose in our present life.

The economy is a vehicle for producing our sustenance until death releases us from the burden of Earthly labor. I once heard a woman on a radio call in show say that she thinks of her life on Earth as nothing more than a short stay over in a cheap hotel on the way to Heaven. That is her story.

No way can we expect her to accept responsibility for the upkeep of the cheap hotel or concern herself with the plight of its less fortunate residents. The Grand Machine is standard story of Newtonian physics and classical evolutionary biology commonly associated with science and the secular academy. By the reckoning of this story, we live in a clock works universe in which only the material is real. Life is merely an accidental outcome of material complexity and has no meaning.

Only the material is real. Consciousness and free will, or agency, are illusions. Our fate thus depends on forces beyond our ability to influence or control in reality without meaning, purpose, or moral foundation. Life evolves through a brutal competition for survival, territory, and reproductive advantage much as the global corporations we depend on as the drivers of economic progress. Earth is only a pool of cheap resources and a place to dispose our wastes. In a desperate search for meaning, or at least a distraction from terrible loneliness of a life without meaning in an uncaring universe, we turn to the pursuit of money and material indulgence as our source of solace and sacred purpose.

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Go shopping. For more than six centuries, science and religion have engaged in mortal combat for recognition as the primary story keeper of Western civilization. Yet each contributes to the intellectual and moral foundation of the suicidal Sacred Money economy that drives our self-destruction. The Integral Spirit story has ancient roots and is affirmed by our inner awareness, indigenous wisdom, the teachings of the prophets, the findings of science, and our daily experience. It is the story that I believe resides in some form in the heart of every person, even though it lacks institutional support and public visibility.

If this assessment is correct, we need only provide a source of public affirmation to bring it to the fore of public consciousness as a shared story of humanity. To the extent that we accept our human responsibility to and for the well-being and continued creative unfolding of the whole, our lives take on profound meaning and purpose. Through its lens, we view the beauty and vastness of a self-organizing constantly evolving cosmos with a sense of awe, wonder, and profound meaning.

Far from being alone in an uncaring cosmos, we are all deeply and irrevocably interconnected. Our obligation to love and care for our Earth mother as she loves and cares for us, becomes self-evident. The degree and complexity of the coordination and cooperation involved is breathtaking beyond human imagination—yet it is so seamless, so familiar we take it for granted.

According to evolutionary biologists, the first living organisms appeared on Earth some 3. As their numbers and diversity increased, they organized themselves into a planetary-scale living system comprised of trillions of trillions of individual choice-making living organisms that work together to optimize the capture, organization, and sharing of available energy, water, and nutrients resources to bring Sacred Earth to life.

All the while, constantly experimenting, testing, and learning this living system—a living superorganism in its own right—evolves toward ever-greater complexity, beauty, and creative potential—sometimes with what seems an impossible foresight. In so doing, this grand alliance of seemingly primitive species, created the environmental conditions suited to the emergence of a highly advanced species with an extraordinary capacity for conscious self-reflective choice.

So how have we humans chosen to use this precious gift of our unique capacity for self-reflective choice?

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