Without a context bigger than ourselves, we all—whether we identify as right, left or none of the above—suffer from an “I am right, you are wrong” stance that creates strife and reduces all our differences to reptilian-brain consciousness of “I win and you lose.”

Awe at Earth power: walking the lava field at Pāhoa, HI, USA. Photo by Heather Morse on Unsplash

To move beyond a win/lose way of seeing the world, we must rediscover the gift that existence is, the gift of the amazing and still unfolding universe that is two trillion galaxies big and 13.8 billion years in the making. And the gift of this sacred Earth, special, beautiful, but in peril because humans have been too human-centered.

 OSE can move us beyond our anthropocentrism to places where we all can encounter again the wellsprings of joy and beauty, gratitude and creativity, from which we derive and which will arouse the needed energy to carry on new expressions of living as humans in our beautiful planet Earth.

 A wise elder in his eighties offered this response to the vision of OSE.“OSE is radical in a non-radical way. It empowers people at the grassroots level to use their spirituality and lives and commit to something. It offers a spirituality for ordinary people; it will frame itself.

Jen Listug and Skylar Wilson, co-leaders of the Order of the Sacred Earth with Matthew Fox.

OSE holds a huge potential for mobilizing people—especially those in their young 30’s. It is wonderful you have a couple of that generation running it as you get started. ….The key to OSE is its common values and Spirituality. The revolution should come from 30-somethings.”

         Another response came from a 26 year old woman who said: “My generation needs this Order so badly. Why? Because we are so distracted and dispersed due to our social media, etc. We need focus. OSE would give us this. With that focus we can do great things.”

         At this critical time in human and planetary history, what Buddhist activist Joanna Macy calls “The Great Turning,” the world does not need a new religion or even a reshuffling of our old religions. It does not need a new church either. What it needs is a new religious/spiritual Order, that is to say, a community of people from varied backgrounds of belief systems (or non-belief systems) who share a sacred vow to preserve Mother Earth and to become the best lovers (mystics) and defenders (warriors) they can be on behalf of Mother Earth. A post-denominational Order and a post-religious Order. Therefore, a Spiritual Order.

Vow-taking in one pod of the Order of the Sacred Earth, 2018

         OSE can allow people to more easily and joyfully carry on their varied vocations to save Mother Earth within a loose but real sense of community. It would take us beyond Institutional Religion and Institutional Education as we know them.  In OSE a particular lifestyle is not required— members of the order may be married (gay or straight); single; celibate; parents or not; it may engage community literally speaking or more virtually speaking: The key is that whatever one’s lifestyle, eco values permeate one’s decision-making. “How is what we are doing serving generations from today?”

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: A community gathers at the river. Photographer unknown; from the Order of the Sacred Earth website.

Queries for Contemplation

Can you see a new kind of community and a gathering of like-minded communities emerging from visions like OSE?  Does this give you some hope and inspiration and practical directions to move in? 

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.

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4 thoughts on “OSE & Community, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Yes, a community that is accepting of everyone forms into a close knit loving community. In a community like this people are not afraid to speak up and members nurture each other. I am a member of such a group. I promote the group by telling people that if they come to visit Us, they will sense the love that permeates the tribe. The Order Of The sacred Earth knows the world tribe.

    1. Rev. Dr. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Rev. Dr. Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Gary for your comments. We’re glad to hear that you are a member of a close and loving tribes we are…

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