The Center For Progressive Christianity


Progressive Christianity and the Environment
June 2009
In This Issue
Featured Book- Darwin, Divinity and the Dance of the Cosmos
Yours The Praise- A Chant
Prayer for Global Restoration
In Memory of Thomas Berry
Ecology, Spirituality, and The Evolution of Consciousness
Global Ecology- How Big is Your Backyard?
Environment in Religion
A Voice From The Ocean Depths
Hope For Environmental Stewardship
Feature Book
Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos
By Bruce Sanguine
Darwin bookcover
 In Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos, Bruce Sanguin shows us the way to find a way to step back into the flow of nature from which we have extricated ourselves.  Sanguin draws on the latest scientific understandings of the nature of the universe and weaves them together with biblical meta-narratives and frequently overlooked strands of the Judeo-Christian tradition to create an ecological and truly evolutionary Christian theology - a feat few theologians have even attempted.

More Info or To Purchase
Yours The Praise
A Chant
by Jim Burklo

Fire who burns inside the mountain
Earth who feeds the trees
Sea who sprays up like a fountain
Wind who sighs the leaves
You, the source of inspiration
You the beauty bring
Yours, the power in creation
Yours, the praise we sing

TCPC Links

Music Pick of the Month

Kaila smiles
"Love is what we meant, but hate got the better half... the seasons they show...mother earth dances, the sky cries...and now we must start the healing..."

Click here to listen
A Prayer for Global Restoration
By: Michelle Balek, OSF
hands holding globe and flags

Good and Gracious God,
   Source of the evolving Universe,
   Source of all Life,
   All creation is charged with your Divine Energy.
Ignite your Spark within us,
That we may know ourselves
   As truly human and holy,
   Irrevocably part of the Web of Life.
All creation
  each star and every flower,
  each drop of water and every person,
  each and every atom, down to its very electrons, explodes with the revelation of your sacred mystery.
Our minds alone cannot fathom such splendor,
Our hearts can only respond in awe, praise and gratitude.
Forgive us, we pray, our ignorance
And insecurities which
blind us to your Thumbprint writ large,
deafen us to the sacred space between two heartbeats, prompt us in arrogance to demand and dominate, numb us to the destruction we've caused, hold us hostage to "either-or" thinking and living.
May we always walk gently upon this earth,
  in right relationship,
nurtured by your Love,
taking only what we need, giving back to the earth in gratitude,
honoring all with reverence,
reconciling and healing,
mindful of those who will come after,
recognizing our proper place as part of,
not apart from, your creation.
Grant us the strength and courage, we pray,
For such radical transformation into your Kin-dom.
The we, too, with the very stones will shout,

In Memory of Thomas Berry

earth from space
Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest and renowned eco-theologian who died early this month was considered by many the father of evolutionary spirituality. He would not have called it that because for him deep spirituality always resulted from the awareness of our interconnectedness and interdependency of all creation. That is what spirituality was for him. Berry will be best remembered for helping the religious traditions to recognize the ecological crisis as a deeply spiritual issue. The following is an excerpt from his article "The Spirituality of the Earth" (1990):

"We need a spirituality that emerges out of a reality deeper than ourselves, even deeper than life, a spirituality that is as deep as the earth process itself, a spirituality born out of the solar system and even out of the heavens beyond the solar system. There in the stars is where the primordial elements take shape in both their physical and psychic aspects. There is a certain triviality in any spiritual discipline that does not experience itself as supported by the spiritual as well as the physical dynamics of the entire cosmic-earth process. A spirituality is a mode of being in which not only the divine and the human commune with each other, but we discover ourselves in the universe and the universe discovers itself in us."

Fred KayakingThere are a lot of reasons why I am glad my wife and I moved to the Pacific Northwest nearly five years ago. They are too numerous to list. We both love the outdoors and the beauty here. We will not live long enough to take advantage of all of the natural treasures that exist within a short drive from our home, let alone our own island. If you want to hike, ski, kayak, water ski, or sit quietly in the rain forest, it is all here. We are surrounded by a body of water called the Puget Sound with the Cascade Mountains on one side and the Olympic Mountains on the other. If one has the eyes to see, the scenery is glorious and is a constantly changing panorama of visual delights. I say, "If one has the eyes to see" because we have discovered that some people just do not see the same things that we see or, for that matter, hear the same things that we hear. Although it sometimes surprises us, we have learned to accept that... You see, the real reason I love it here is that I have become reconnected to nature and the earth.

Read On "Spirituality of Mother Earth"
By: Fred Plumer, TCPC President
Ecology, Spirituality, and the Evolution of Consciousness
Excerpts from a keynote talk by Bruce Sanguin
The Great Turning, May 23, 2009

earthIt is my task to speak on ecology, spirituality, and the evolution of consciousness. My intention is to describe the characteristics of an ecological spirituality be for the 21st century. Such a spirituality would transcend, yet include, all traditional religious expressions of spirituality. Each religious tradition, including my own - Christianity - is faced with the challenge of interpreting this ecological crisis through the lens of its tradition and mobilizing its constituency to take action. We either do this, or risk irrelevance. This is what I set out to do in my book, Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos: An Ecological Christianity.

When looked at through an ecological lens, it's not difficult to identify the human species in the 21st century with the younger son. In the last three hundred years during the modern era we have impetuously demanded the inheritance of a 14 billion-year universe, left home - the planet earth - and squandered the gift. We are now suffering the indignity of our arrogance, living in a state of exile from our own planet, and causing the degradation of biosystems, and the extinction of other species. We are yearning to return home. Our confession is born of deep lament. Our desire is to return home. One of the key features of the parable is that the son willingly offers to change his status from privileged son to hired servant. His journey home was the path from arrogance to humility. So, the question of the 21st century in the ecozoic era is whether we are willing to walk this same path home. Are we willing to change our status from the entitled ones to willing servants of the one earth community? Are we ready as the prodigal species to "come to our senses"?

Global Ecology- How Big is Your Backyard?
Sermon by Ian Lawton,

window You long to be a part of something greater than yourself; whether it's a vision or a movement or a God. You long to know that this collective energy is more steady than an economic crisis, unmoved by the worst flu, unshaken by global warming, and unflinching in the face of personal traumas. You can't add to or subtract from this collective energy. It is infinite, and all you need to do is remember that you part of it. At the same time, you long to know that your life makes a difference; that your actions of love do matter.

I'm here to tell you that both things are true, and both things are true for the backyard that is this nation as well. What happens in this national backyard affects and is affected by what happens right around the planet.

Environment in Religion
By: Vladimir Tomek

earth embrace It is of great urgency to utilize the insights of the world's religions for helping to solve the global ecologic crisis. The World Council of Churches has had for a long time a program on forming a just and sustainable society, but, as yet, very little has trickled down to the churches. Theologians have not addressed themselves to the fact that religious beliefs had not kept pace with the radical transformation of society, and, as a result, the churches have had very little to say on the environmental issue.

Western organized religions remain without any dominant ethic of the environment and little inspiration in this respect flows from their teachings. Various responses to the ecological crisis have already been given from the perspective of different religious traditions, but specific proposals seem too partial and palliative. Without religion, neither science nor technology are going to get us out of the present ecologic crisis, nor will atavism or prettification. No one yet knows how to deal with the problem effectively. It appears that in our effort to seek a new relationship with the natural world we have to find a new religion. A religion that will help us recapture much of the respect and reverence which earlier generations had for the natural world.

A Voice from the Ocean Depths
By: David Anderson

ocean waves Not honor, only human connectedness will save us. And it will not appear in a blast of glory at the end of times by way of the coming of the Jewish Messiah or the Shiite Mahdi or the second coming of Jesus Christ. These and all other such apocalyptic religious images are cynical. They are suicidal. They spell the end of our species on this planet. Only by casting off religious beliefs such as these can we be saved.
The forces of change pressing in on our country and our planet are far reaching. Deadly geopolitical stresses and strains are rising. The self sustaining viability of past economic, political and religious beliefs that successfully supported our American framework in the past is now being tested. In addition, we are now starting to see the deadly ecological outcomes of our myopic intransigence.

Hope for Environmental Stewardship
By: Gary Wilburn

tree planting As I write this, it was just disclosed that by an internal draft of The United States Climate Report to the United Nations that our passive tolerance of this clear and present danger to the earth is unconscionable and unacceptable.  What in the Name of God are we doing to God's Creation?
"The earth is the Lord's," said the Psalmist, "and all that is in it." "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork."

I am fully aware that 2,000 years ago Jesus hadn't even heard of global warming and nuclear weapons. However, his teachings and his lifestyle were in direct opposition to all attempts in every age to exploit the weak, the poor, human life and nature itself.


By: Vivi

Kaila smiles
We found this beautiful and inspiring blog while searching for thoughts on ecology and religion and we love it.  Enjoy and make sure to read on!

As my eyes opened this day..and again awakened into a new morning, the thought arose in my mind: ''I am part of all of this''....and I smiled! My heart is most grateful...for every experience lived, I know Love and its living Source. I can walk, run, dance and hop,...I can breathe...I can breathe..not only that! I can smell and detect the exquisite fragrances and scents of favorite magical children of the earth...they are children in disguises know?

Have you noticed their smiley faces? They are soon as you hold them in your hands..their love essence permeates thru, into your hearts with a deep peace, their aroma delight your nostrils..your soul!...And I can taste..oh the taste of mangos with lime..what a delight!
Or the delicious taste of a chirimoya fruit..or a for the God's that we are! Truly blessed we are...a taste of a ripe fig oh my..white peaches, a fresh picked tomatoe...ahhh I love fruits and all that grows from the earth! I can taste the sweet as well as bitter, sour and can choose which to like!

Feel that the abundance of the earth is great...and all that is green vibrates with life and love!

Thank you for taking this journey with us as we continue to encourage the growth and understanding of a Christianity that is open, inclusive, just, loving and compassionate.  As you delve deeper into the heart of this beautiful and authentic spiritual path, we hope you share it with those around you, educate those who desire to learn, and most importantly let it fill you with light and loving kindness.
Fred Plumer
and the Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity, (253) 303-0022

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