Friday, April 24, 2009


With Earth Day still lingering in the air, I found myself contemplating and reflecting on the intersection between ecological responsibility and faith. Below are a few of my thoughts and questions:

1) Story-telling: how can communities of faith weave individual and group stories into the larger, cosmic story? Might we thereby see our personal relationship with God as bound up with our relationship with the world around us? Further, can we begin to re-theologize the self in light of our physical dependence on and bodily composition of ecological sources (ecology of human dignity)?

2) Bridging duality: can we move beyond the spirit-matter and humanity-nature dichotomies towards a more holistic view of dynamic oneness?

3) New dimensions: rather than reinvent the theological wheel in the sterile classrooms of the academy, faith leaders should emphasize the ecological dimension of existing ministries, liturgy, scripture, etc.

4) Interconnection: will we take seriously the seventh Unitarian Universalist principle and recognize our own complicity in the environmental concerns of others? Will those in the upper socio-economic brackets come to acknowledge their implication in the lives of those who primarily carry the burden of ecological irresponsibility?

5) Management: how odd that humanity is now in the position of managing its own climate-related sins! Is the call to stewardship one of management and mitigation? What vocabulary do we use to express the dual reality of God's gift and human responsibility?

6) Beyond the anthropocentric: a select few have the resources and privilege to approach nature on their own terms (e.g. 'I will go immerse myself in nature by camping, fishing, etc.'). How do we give voice to those people whose interaction with nature is out of their control (e.g. hurricanes, pollution, etc.)? What happens when we move from ideas of natural bounty to questions of theodicy?

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