A sacred pledge or vow is a wisdom practice that articulates the common values that a community agrees to [ ] strive to fulfill. We are all beginners in this sacred work, both inner and outer. We are not here to judge one another but to support each other in our common efforts—efforts that include transforming ourselves beyond the anthropocentric consciousness we have all inherited from the modern era—as well as efforts to transform the institutions that buttress our culture, whether we are talking about education, politics, economics, agriculture, religion, or relationships.
Networking with other individuals and organizations doing similar work and bringing such activists together to develop a deeper spiritual grounding will be part of our shared work. We share on line in monthly zoom meetings and dozens of groups have been launched, following a theme of “self organizing” groups.
Many people in our time—especially the youth—have withdrawn from institutional religion. But as Deepak Chopra has pointed out, evil has not diminished on the planet because millions have walked out of church (or the synagogue or the mosque). Evil continues to walk among us and even to take on wings it seems with the current goings on in wars, refugees from war, poverty and from climate change, extinction of species, calls to hatred and bigotry and denial of scientific facts about the demise of the planet as we know it.
The question we address might be summarized this way: How can we now build a conscious community that gives us a sense of our common sacredness and purpose?
Orders arise when society’s spiritual/religious and cultural needs are not being met and when religion, which tends to move and evolve very slowly, is not responding adequately or swiftly enough to changes in culture. We feel this is clearly the situation in the times we live in. Each Order has a certain charism and a particular mission about it. Ours is captured in its name, a return of the sense of the Sacred and a movement or community or Order called to bring spiritual depth and energy to the defense of Mother Earth.
Orders respond much more swiftly to the new challenges of history than do religions themselves. OSE holds Mother Earth as the focus and the sacred container where the current spiritual adventure is to be played out rather than any particular religious institution. But this Order will draw on wisdom and practices from the many spiritual/religious traditions our species has birthed over the millennia. We are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater but taking wisdom from a burning building and re-grounding it in what truly matters—the sacredness of our lives and all lives in the sacred embrace and web of this numinous planet. With wisdom comes, play, celebration and creativity. And the passion to heal, to be instruments therefore of compassion and justice-making. Therefore love.
Adapted from: Adapted from Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, Jennifer Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action, pp.xvf.
Banner Image: Mystics in Motion in circle service. Originally posted to the Mystics in Motion website.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that orders respond more swiftly to cultural shifts than do entire religions? What follows from that in today’s search for healthy community?
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.