Earth Day Stories from OSE Gathering, part 3

As our meditations today we are continuing to share stories from an OSE gathering on Earth Day, 2020.

Swimming in the sea. Photo by David Boca on Unsplash

One man recounted how he grew up in North Carolina, and spent much of his childhood literally underwater as he loved to swim.  After “too much education” he became divorced from the earth and the joy it brought to him but it came back as an adult on reading the work of Thomas Berry.  He learned to taste Earth and such experiences again and also woke up to the suffering of mother earth and the call to heed her suffering.  He recognizes that earth is part of ourselves.

One woman told how she read Silent Spring and joined Sierra Club and never looked back.

Hiking in the mountains of Costa Rica. Photo by David Boca on Unsplash

One man currently living in rural Canada recalled attending an ICCS summer program at York University in the 1980’s on “Leadership in a Feminist Framework.”  He was at the time a school principal and a deacon in the church but when he heard the distinction between Fall/Redemption religion and Creation Spirituality and how this applied to leadership his life changed and his approach to his work changed deeply.

One person who grew up in Costa Rica experienced Earth day everyday hiking in the mountains and the fields and befriending dragon flies and mango trees but on returning to the United States found the consumerism overwhelming.  He would escape into music.  Now he has become an interspirituality minister and leads an eco-ministry and has linked to the Order of the Sacred Earth and Creation Spirituality.

“Silent landscape sleeping whilst one slides throughout.” Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

One person encountered a charismatic biology teacher in college who would insist on the earth connection and take students cross country skiing where they would encountering trees and plenty of snow along the way.  He also taught that “Christianity is responsible for the ecological crisis.”  To this day he still questions  why faith traditions teach so little about restoration of the earth.

One person was visiting a park in West Virginia where she lived and encountered 28 hawks in a “thermal” updraft.  Later, on attending a retreat at Omega Center in NY she was journaling at a tree and needles fell into her journal.  So now she leads writing groups in nature.  Her day job is as a psychologist.

Maize growing under nitrogen-fixing Faidherbia albida trees on a regenerative farm in east Africa. Photographer unknown; from Agroforestry: An increasingly popular solution for a hot, hungry world on

Another woman, growing up in New Mexico, would listen to lessons from her grandfather who was an organic farmer and practiced “regenerative agriculture.” She is now doing that also.  Her grandfather led her to her first “Earth Awakenings.”

I think it is telling how often elders, i.e. grandparents, play a decisive role by their examples as well as teachings in alerting the young to the wonders of nature, to nature mysticism therefore.  It is also telling how the young today are awakening the older ones.

See Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, Jen Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action.

Banner Image: A Cooper’s Hawk flies across a field. Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

What role have elders played in your spiritual awakenings?  In your passion, quiet or wild, for Mother Earth? 

If you are an elder now, are you doing the same for the younger generation?  Are they doing the same for you?

Recommended Reading

Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug

In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.”  ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.

Conversations on Aquinas: Brian Thomas Swimme

As Matthew Fox’s travels have been curtailed due to the coronavirus, he is sharing a series of conversations with revolutionary thinkers and spiritual teachers on the topics explored in his latest book, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times. In this video, he and cosmologist Brian Swimme, author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos and co-author of The Universe Story, have an inter-generational conversation on Thomas Aquinas and his wisdom for sacred activism today.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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