The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
4.9 (September 2010)
1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
2. Raimon Panikkar (1918 - 2010)
4. New Books
5. “A Garden Once Again” (CD tribute to Father Thomas Berry by Kathleen Deignan)
6. Gulf Oil & New Orleans Coverage: Braasch Photography
7. Call for Papers for American Academy of Religion Regional Meetings 2011
8. Lent 4.5 — Christian Simplicity
9. Time for Creation! (Sept. 1 – Oct. 10, 2010)
10. Bellringing for Biodiversity (Sept. 22, 2010)
11. Winter Solstice Celebration with Paul Winter Consort & Special Guests (Dec. 16-18, 2010, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY, USA)
12. The Feather Project – New Video of Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
13. Open Position as Research Associate for the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
14. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Welcome to the September issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. We have a lot of interesting and exciting news to share with you regarding recent and upcoming developments in the field of religion and ecology, including videos, books, conferences, calls for papers, a job opening, events, and more.
One upcoming conference we want to highlight is “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for A New Generation.” The conference will be held November 18-21, 2010 at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA, USA. Keynote speakers include Mary Evelyn Tucker, Illia Deleo, Brother Jeffrey Gros, and David Grumett. Early bird registration ends October 4.
An important part of the field of Religion and Ecology is the dissemination of information and research through various media projects, including film, photojournalism, music, and more. This month, we have a few such projects to share with you. We are excited to inform you about the film trailer of the Feather Project launched by Earth Charter Commissioner Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp. The Feather Project aims to facilitate collaborative dialogue between elders and youth in efforts to address the major global challenges humanity is facing while drawing upon the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions. The trailer featuring Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim can be watched here:
We would also like to direct your attention to the work of Gary Braasch, an environmental photojournalist. Recently, Braasch has worked in collaboration with Joan Rothlein, an environmental toxicologist, to produce powerful images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which has become the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States. He presents photographs, facts, and ideas about the disaster and its effects on humans and ecosystems. He claims that the oil spill can be seen as a link between climate change and our overuse of fossil fuels, and he calls for the implementation of a national program to provide sustainable energy sources.
Along with film and photojournalism, there is also a new CD with a collection of songs by Kathleen Deignan, CND. This CD, entitled “A Garden Once Again,” invites the listener to participate in a profound celebration of our universe and heal ourselves and our world by singing the praise of creation. This album is dedicated to the cultural historian and “geologian” Thomas Berry, whose work is a source of inspiration for this musical expression of the wonder and mystery that permeate the new story of the universe.
Along with music, film, and photojournalism, we also want to inform you of a job opportunity for researchers working with the dialogue between science and religion. A position is open for a post-doctoral Research Associate with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge. For more information, see below.
There are many upcoming conferences related to the field of Religion and Ecology. Particularly noteworthy is the 2010 American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, which will be held October 30-November 1, 2010 in Atlanta, GA, USA. This conference provides many possibilities for getting more involved in research at the intersection of religion and ecology. We hope you’ll be involved. In addition, regional meetings will be held in March & April 2011. See below for CFPs for regional meetings that have special sections on Religion and Ecology.
The field of Religion and Ecology includes the efforts of people from many different backgrounds and areas of expertise, whether they are working on media projects, academic research, conferences, publications, community organizing, or any other effort to engage the intersection of religious and ecological perspectives. We want to honor and celebrate all those people whose efforts contribute to the field of Religion and Ecology. Along these lines, we want to announce the death of Raimon Panikkar, a professor and scholar of comparative religion, theology, and inter-religious dialogue. Panikkar died on August 26 at his home in Spain. He was 91. See below for more.
We hope that this newsletter supports you in your own work and helps you deepen your engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.
Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors
“Raimon Panikkar, ‘apostle of inter-faith dialogue,’ dies”
By Joseph Prabhu
National Catholic Reporter
August 31, 2010
‘Overcoming tribal Christology,’ he said, is task of third Christian millennium.
Professor Raimon Panikkar, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century in the areas of comparative religion, theology, and inter-religious dialogue, died at his home in Tavertet, near Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 26. He was 91.
For full story, visit:
“Raimon Panikkar, Catholic Theologian, Is Dead at 91”
By William Grimes
New York Times
September 4, 2010
Raimon Panikkar, a Roman Catholic theologian whose embrace of Hindu scriptures and Buddhism made him an influential voice for promoting dialogue among the world’s religions, died on Aug. 26 at his home in Tavertet, Spain. He was 91.
His death was announced on his Web site, raimon-panikkar.org.
For full story, visit:
“Exhibit of New Story Accordions and Paintings by Mary Coelho”
Fisk Farm, Isle La Motte, VT, USA
August 27 - September 20, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/item/exhibit-of-new-story-accordions-and-paintings-by-mary-coelho/
“The Cross On the Mountain: An Ecumenical Prayer Service to Renew Appalachian Communities”
Salyersville, KY, USA
September 11, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.ccappal.org/
“Earth As Ally: Facing Climate Change Together”
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center
Goshen College, Wolf Lake, IN, USA
September 17-19, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.goshen.edu/merrylea
“Greening Your Place of Worship Forum”
Sponsored by the Long Island Interfaith Environment Network (LIIEN) and Abundant Communities Together (ACT)
Molloy Suffolk Center, Farmingdale, NY, USA
September 23, 2010
For More Information, see PDF at: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/item/greening-your-place-of-worship-forum/
“Creation, Nature and the Built Environment”
The Biennial Conference in Philosophy, Religion and Culture
Catholic Institute of Sydney, Australia
October 1-3, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.cis.catholic.edu.au/
“Reason, Theology and the Genome”
A conference on the ethics of human enhancement
Christ Church College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
October 9, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://mcdonaldcentre.org.uk/genome-conference/
“Campus Initiatives to Catalyze a Just and Sustainable World”
2010 Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Mary Evelyn Tucker will be speaking at this conference.
Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO, USA
October 10-12, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://conf2010.aashe.org
“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for A New Generation”
Hosted by Santa Clara University and the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley
Keynote Speakers: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Illia Deleo, Brother Jeffrey Gros, David Grumett
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, USA
November 18-21, 2010
PDF flyer available at: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/item/pierre-teilhard-de-chardin-for-a-new-generation/
Religion and the Environment, Volumes 1-IV
Edited by Roger S. Gottlieb
Volume I: Overviews; Ecotheology 1–Judaism, Christianity
Volume II: Ecotheology 2–Islam, Asian Traditions, Indigenous Traditions
Volume III: Religious Environmentalism in Action
Volume IV: Connections: Science, Ethics, Eco-feminism, Consumerism, Sustainability, Spirituality
In the last two decades a new form of religiously motivated social action and a virtually new field of academic study—each based in recognition of the connections between religion and humanity’s treatment of the environment—have developed. Interactions between religion and environmental concern have been manifest in the explosive growth of ecotheological writings, institutional commitment by organized religions, and environmental activism explicitly oriented to religious ideals. Clergy throughout the world in virtually every denomination have received word from leaders of their religion that the environment—no less than sexuality, poverty, or war and peace—is now a basic and compelling religious matter.
Out of this confrontation have been born vital new theologies based in the recovery of marginalized elements of tradition, profound criticisms of the past, and ecologically oriented visions of God, the Sacred, the Earth, and human beings. Theologians from every religious tradition—along with dozens of non-denominational spiritual writers—have confronted world religions’ past attitudes towards nature. In the realm of institutional commitment, public statements and actions by organized religions have grown dramatically. In the context of political action, throughout the U.S. and the world religiously oriented groups take part in environmentally oriented political action: from lobbying and consciousness raising to activist demonstrations and civil disobedience.
This collection serves as a comprehensive introduction, overview, and in-depth account of these exciting new developments. The four volumes cover virtually every aspect of the field—from theological change and institutional commitment to innovation in liturgy, from new ecumenical connections among different religions and between religion, science and environmental movements, from religious participation in environmental politics to an account of the global social and political contexts in which religious environmentalism has unfolded.
The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder
By William P. Brown
Oxford University Press, 2010
In their highly selective and literal reading of Scripture, creationists champion a rigidly reductionistic view of creation in their fight against “soulless scientism.” Conversely, many scientists find faith in God to be a dangerous impediment in the empirical quest for knowledge. As a result of this ongoing debate, many people of faith feel forced to choose between evolution and the Bible’s story of creation.
But, as William Brown asks, which biblical creation story are we talking about? Brown shows that, through a close reading of biblical texts, no fewer than seven different biblical perspectives on creation can be identified. By examining these perspectives, Brown illuminates both connections and conflicts between the ancient creation traditions and the natural sciences, arguing for a new way of reading the Bible in light of current scientific knowledge and with consideration of the needs of the environment. In Brown’s argument, both scientific inquiry and theological reflection are driven by a sense of wonder, which, in his words, “unites the scientist and the psalmist.” Brown’s own wonder at the beauty and complexity of the created world is evident throughout this intelligent, well-written, and inspirational book.
Schola Ministries announces the release of the latest CD by Kathleen Deignan, CND - A Garden Once Again - a tribute to Father Thomas Berry.
“Only if the human imagination is activated by the flight of the great soaring birds in the heavens, by the blossoming flowers of Earth, by the sight of the sea, by the lightning and thunder of the great storms…, only then will the deep inner experiences be evoked within the human soul.” (Thomas Berry, The Great Work)
It is the task of the artist, poet, and musician to awaken us to the wonder manifesting in the wholly mysterious cosmos. This joyful collection of original songs by Kathleen Deignan, CND invites us to enter into “the celebration of the great liturgy of our universe,” and offers a way to sing the praise of creation, for its healing and for our own. This album is dedicated to Father Thomas Berry, prophet, poet, and evangelist of the New Creation Story. He has both inspired and challenged us to learn to inhabit this precious Earth as a garden once again – an urgent spiritual necessity, “for the inner life of the human depends on the outer world of nature.”
Originally produced in 1990 by Posthorn Recordings, this new recording with Paul Avgerinos elaborates and enhances a musical celebration of creation by psalmist Kathleen Deignan, CND. Her inspiration is drawn from a variety of sacred sources: Isaiah, the Psalms, the Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi, the lovers of the Song of Songs, the Lorica of St. Patrick, the Easter Exultet, and many of her own sung prayers. All these voices conspire together in marvelous song, to enchant our minds and hearts to love this Earth and cultivate it to be a garden once again.
Environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch turned his experience as well as his lenses on the BP Gulf oil spill, bringing back powerful images and ideas about this great environmental disaster and its implications. With his background of 30 years environmental photography including a decade of reporting on global warming around the world, he presents photographs, facts, and ideas about the oil gusher and its implications. The active ripples of this disaster include effects on community, jobs, income and health, and damaged ecosystem functions on which millions of lives depend. “The oil spill,” he writes on his website, “illustrates the link between the warming atmosphere – brought to everyone’s attention this summer by record high temperatures and the flooding in Pakistan – and our overuse of fossil fuels… We must create a national program focused on making safe, low-carbon, low-waste, sustainable, energy sources. This is a national security, health and American employment issue of the highest priority.” Braasch reported on the Gulf with Joan Rothlein, an environmental toxicologist with scientific and health expertise.
For photographs, news, and opinion, visit:
For more work by Braasch, visit: http://www.braaschphotography.com/
2011 Western Region Annual Meeting
Conference Theme: Current Religious Thinking
Whittier, California, USA
March 26-28, 2011
Ecology and Religion Section
Diverse religious traditions stand witness to current ecological realities with varying tools at their disposal, theo/alogical, rhetorical, legal, practical, pedagogical, and symbolic, among others. While select scriptures bear merit for contemporary ecological concerns, religious practice also yields ripe fruit in movements reinterpreting food laws amidst industrial agriculture, reevaluating “modern living” amidst climate change, and rethinking globalized, transnational relations amidst exploitative use of plants, animals, and people. This section welcomes proposals on these themes in current religious thinking, as well as other writings related to religion as it streams together with ecology, nature, the environment, waterways, water rights, oceans, forests, climate, global warming, “natural resources,” oil spills, plastics, medical waste, nuclear power , space debris, industrialized land-use and “development,” ecofeminism, environmental justice, ecopsychology, sustainability, greening, green-washing, Gaia, anthropocentrism/speciesism, particular communities of animals, plants, and peoples, and the continuity of “living waters of life” in the current between past and future generations.
The submission deadline is September 30, 2010. Please email proposals to section chair Sarah Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org.
For submission guidelines and additional information about the AAR-Western Region, plus CFPs for other sections, including a co-sponsored session between Indigenous Religions and Ecology and Religion, please see: http://regions.aarweb.org/western/
2011 Upper Midwest Regional Meeting
Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
April 1–2, 2011
Religion and Ecology Section
Amy Marga, Luther Seminary
Submissions are welcome on any aspect of religion and ecology study, including the role of politics, globalization, war, or legal decisions in the creation of and/or resistance to environmental degradation. Other topics within the field are also encouraged. This year, we are particularly interested in papers on the topic of “Dreams, Visions, and Mosaics: Beauty in the Work of Thomas Berry and Terry Tempest Williams.”
The submission deadline is December 15, 2010.
2011 Southeast Region Annual Meeting
Galt House Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
March 4–6, 2011
Religion and Ecology Section
Papers or panel proposals are sought on the following themes: 1) Methods/methodologies for “learning from others;” 2) Green initiatives in theological education; 3) Wendell Berry (we hope to have him participate in some way); 4) Gaining understanding from other communities; 5) Collaboration as ecological practice; 6) Sustainable (or resilient) practices for teaching and learning; and 7) Resilient/sustainable religious practices. Proposals on other topics are also welcome. Send inquiries and proposals to Richard M. Carp, Appalachian State University, email@example.com.
The submission deadline is October 1, 2010.
Lent 4.5 is a 7-week faith formation program of conversion for Christian churches. It offers a more meaningful way to observe Lent than simply giving up chocolate. Produced and distributed by the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center, Lent 4.5 inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to care for God’s creation and bring forth a just society. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply church teaching on Gospel simplicity to their everyday lives.
Why 4.5? If the Earth were divided equally among all of us, each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now consider that everything you need (food, energy, home, clothing, appliances, gadgets) must come from those 4.5 acres. That’s your fair share. But realize it takes a staggering 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle! Not long ago, many believed that justice would be accomplished by lifting others up to our standard of living. Now, we know that is impossible, given the spatial restrictions and limited resources of the Earth. We have a huge global problem. Christians living in the affluent United States have a faith problem. Anyone who follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ cannot ignore or remain indifferent to the consumption habits of our country . Our patterns of consuming must change if we are going to bring forth a world that is both sustainable and just.
Lent 4.5 offers a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation and bring forth a just society by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of a 4.5 footprint is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today. Your church can participate and learn how to share this planet with the other 6.5 billion human beings in a way that enables all of us to live with dignity. Information and order forms are available online at www.lent45.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lent 4.5–Christian Simplicity is produced and distributed by the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center (www.earthandspiritcenter.org).
Dear colleagues, friends, brothers and sisters,
Last year, during the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, we had a very successful collaboration while ringing the bells, shells, drums, gongs or horns 350 times around the world and organizing vigils, prayers and activities on December 13, 2009. As religious communities we expressed our anxiety concerning the climate change in the world, the fact that it is urgent to do something as well as our hope and commitment to action.
After the 350 bell ringing campaign of last year in which more than 2,500 participants from all over the world joined, we have asked ourselves how we could continue to be and act together. This year we are happy to invite you to become involved in the “Time of Creation”, a special time from 1 September - the first day of the Orthodox church year - to 4 October - the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Catholic tradition.
This year, the World Council of Churches is suggesting to extend Time for Creation until 10 October, to join the 10/10/10 campaign (http://www.350.org/1010) with prayers, vigils and different kind of actions. Being 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, we especially encourage prayers around this theme. At the same time, churches are encouraged to pray for and with people in Africa, where biodiversity and human welfare are threatened alike by climate change.
Please go to WCC’s Time for Creation webpage http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=7047 and find prayers, meditations, liturgical resources and other materials and links for this special time.
Intern, Care for Creation and Eco-justice
The call from the United Nations for bells to be rung on 22 September whilst world leaders debate biodiversity issues is being taken up by churches around this country. With almost three weeks to go churches in Winchester, Bristol, Ely, Oxford, Canterbury and London dioceses have registered that their bells will ring out on the day. Lunchtime on a Wednesday is not the ideal time for church bellringers to turn out, but where a full team cannot be gathered a token ring is being organised. In some cases churches with only one bell will be taking part. The request from the UN is for any bell to be rung and so public buildings and schools are also being encouraged to participate as part of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. The UN is hoping that bells all around the world will ring at some time during the day to show concern for world’s biodiversity and churches as far away as Australia have registered that their bells will be ringing.
There is still time to organise something and churches planning to take part should let Ruth Watkinson know at 020 7591 1865, email@example.com
11. Winter Solstice Celebration with Paul Winter Consort & Special Guests (Dec. 16-18, 2010, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY, USA)
Joining the Consort this year will be Armenian vocalist Arto Tunçboyaciyan, gospel singer Theresa Thomason and the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, who lit up the show last year. The Consort includes Paul Winter, soprano sax, double-reed master Paul McCandless, Eugene Friesen on cello, keyboardist Paul Sullivan, percussionists Jamey Haddad and Bill Cahn and Tim Brumfield on the Cathedral’s pipe organ. Besides the perennial classics and new pieces by our guest musicians and dancers, the performance will feature music from the Consort’s new album Miho: Journey to the Mountain. And of course, the star of the show, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, will contribute its acoustic and aesthetic majesty to the celebration.
Four shows only, Dec. 16-18, three evening shows and one matinee. Ticket prices are the same as last year ($35-$80).
Watch a stunning four minute video of last year’s Winter Solstice Celebration: http://www.youtube.com/paulwinterconsort
For More Information, visit: http://paulwinter.com/concerts/upcoming-concerts/
FORE Coordinators Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim are featured in the film trailer of the Feather Project launched by Earth Charter Commissioner Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp. The video can be watched online on at http://www.featherproject.org as well as on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/featherproject.
The Feather Project is a collaborative effort to build intergenerational dialogue and collaboration between elders and youth, and to draw upon the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions to address the major global challenges humanity is facing. It involves capturing on video the core messages of moral and spiritual leaders of our time, based on the question: “Based on your life experience, what lesson would you like to share with the next generation?”.
On the Feather website, these inspiring messages are being combined with the visions, dreams, and aspirations of young people, as well as with suggested steps to move from inspiration to action. Rabbi Soetendorp believes that in this combination of visions, wisdom and best practiced action projects lies a key to unlocking the immense resources of human imagination, creativity and compassion that are so much needed in these troubled times.
Young people are invited to record and upload their own “feather messages” in which they share their own visions for the future and interview elders in their communities about their life experiences. More information can be found at http://www.featherproject.org
The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion (www.faraday-institute.org) at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, has a position available for a post-doctoral Research Associate who will help in developing the science and religion strand of the new British Council ‘Belief in Dialogue’ programme. The programme will involve educational, scientific and religious events carried out in international and cross-cultural contexts.
Applications are due by October 1, 2010.
For More Information, visit: http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/news.php
Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology has as its focus the relationships between religion, culture and ecology world-wide. Articles discuss major world religious traditions, such as Islam, Buddhism or Christianity; the traditions of indigenous peoples; new religious movements; and philosophical belief systems, such as pantheism, nature spiritualities, and other religious and cultural worldviews in relation to the cultural and ecological systems. Focusing on a range of disciplinary areas including Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Theology, the journal also presents special issues that center around one theme. For more information, visit: http://www.brill.nl/wo
For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/index.html. If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.