Scrambling Around.

Midsommar                                                            Most Heat Moon

eduardo_kohn_how_forests_think_lHere are the key conceptual elements I’ve already assembled for reimagining: emergence, becoming native to this place, the Great Wheel and similar sacred calendars focused on seasonal change, rituals associated with those changing seasons from many cultures, shinrin yoku and its relatives, Iroquois prayer and Iroquois seventh generation thinking, the Great Work, How a Forest Thinks, nature writers and their various approaches, paleoastronomy, original relation to nature and beyond the boundary thinking. These may require editing, probably will require editing. There may be, probably will be, deletions and additions, but these are my starting point.

After a quick scan of my Reimagining bookshelf, I noticed a couple of other elements: Romanticism and the idea of the self. Still not sure how to go about prepping for this work. I’m a fiction guy and I prefer to sit down, start writing, see what happens next. Suppose I could try that here, but it seems unlikely to produce anything coherent.

David_and_Goliath_-1700sMaybe, what, read a book or two from each category, see where that takes me? Rough out a reading plan and outline after that? Or, there’s that 200,000 word dump from Ancientrails. The posts deal in some way or another with reimagining. Read them all the way through, too? This is the sweat of the intellect, confusion. Not unexpected at this point, but still frustrating.

Guess I’ll just keep poking around for a while, see where that gets me. Maybe write summaries at least weekly, if not daily. Perhaps right here. Eventually it’ll come into focus.

The Journey Ahead

Beltane                                                                             Moon of the Summer Solstice

Look for a new post here each Sunday.

In some ways the reimagining work feels too thin. It doesn’t offer salvation, though it might offer remediation. It doesn’t imply or even have the tools for a human ethic beyond one that enjoins us to become friendly to our mother. It doesn’t have that deep resonance that thousands of years of human affection, intellectual pursuit, spiritual imagination offers in most of the world’s religions. It runs the danger of being concocted, a sort of ecological scientology. It will hit the world with little history and no ethnic/national roots to commend it to anyone.

It may, it might, turn these distinct disadvantages into real assets, however. It will not be implicated in the past or present failures of chauvinistic religionists. It will not get mired in the political economics of the nation states, though it will have a critique of them. If done as I hope, it may serve as an ur-faith, a place agnostics, atheists, Taoists, Jews, Sikhs and Christians might find common cause. Its resonance, if it gains one, will come from the deep and abiding instinctual love for mother earth we all have, even if it’s buried by materialism, by political ideology or next world focused theology.

The work has begun, a bit ahead of schedule. Somehow though, as I start, I find myself bogging down, feeling the challenge may be too much, too hard. Can I stretch an argument past the length of a blog post or a sermon? I don’t really know. Guess I’m about to find out.

I will report here regularly as the work progresses.

 

Kairos

Beltane                                                      Moon of the Summer Solstice

Linneaous   Flower Clock

Linneaous Flower Clock

I last posted here after a trip to Tucson, Arizona in 2014. In retrospect it’s not odd that it’s been so long since I came back to this blog. It was in April of that year, in a spirit of reflection occasioned by the long drive and the inner work of the Ira Progoff Intensive Journal retreat I’d attended, that Kate and I decided to move to Colorado. The move took over our life together and the move itself didn’t really terminate until well into 2015  when we had both adjusted to the oxygen scarcity at 8,800 feet.

A bout of prostate cancer, an increasingly painful arthritic left knee, Jon and Jen’s divorce, total knee replacement and Kate’s rough time since then has distracted me. But now I’ve returned. My passion remains creating a sustainable human presence on the earth, following Thomas Berry’s conviction that this task is the Great Work of our generation.

Chambered_Nautilus_ShellI’ve imagined that my primary contribution to this work would be political, a strategy I’ve embraced for many years. Now though I’m focused on something less political, a reimagining of faith that can constantly remind us of the reverence we owe to the earth, the sun, the mystery of life. Reimagining faith will occupy me until I’ve written a short book proposing a way to reenchant our daily life, a way to find wonder in the everyday, to locate the holy not far away or in some ritualized observance, but in the here and now.

Baba Dioum

Baba Dioum

Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry scientist, wrote in a 1968 paper, ”In the end we will conserve only what we love…wiki  And so the question is how do we love the earth, the sun, the universe? They have conspired to bring us all to this moment when the survival of the human species may be in the balance. This is, after all, the critical reality: it is not the earth that is in danger, not the sun, not the vastness of our cosmos, but humanity. Our actions, unwitting until recently, have brought us to a moment of kairos: a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action, the opportune and decisive moment, as Merriam-Webster defines it.

Seasonal-roundKairos in its Greek origin is a counterpoint to chronos, our familiar and assumed understanding of time as sequential and linear: where past present and future separate cleanly and finally, moment by moment. Kairos is a sort of time when matters crystallize, when events are ripe for change, important change. It takes no special genius to see that our time is such a moment, a moment filled with kairotic potential.

Even with the spiral understanding of time that I embrace, seasons turning, pushing forward, but always returning to the same phase of life’s regularity, moments of kairos can occur. This one, when our most powerful elected official turns his back on global solidarity, when the CO2 in the atmosphere has passed 400 parts per million, when hottest years and biggest storms get surpassed often, when scientists suggest we have only a few decades to slow climate change (not eliminate it, but slow it), we have reached a moment of kairos. And it is our moment.