Contemplating an Ecological Chaplaincy: A Soft Manifesto for Dark Times

By Jason M. Brown
November 5, 2023

An ecological chaplaincy then might be one that tends to the spiritual care of people of any or no faith who want to connect more deeply with the earth, or who worry about what is happening to the earth. As an Earth Chaplain I would serve those who feel ecologically disconnected, spiritually lost, or emotionally overwhelmed. An ecological chaplaincy would be place-based rather than institution-based. As an Earth Chaplain I would tend to the wellbeing of humans as part of the wider ecological community. An ecological chaplaincy would provide spiritual care that is comfortable with discomforts past, present and future. As an Earth Chaplain I would not provide Sunday-school-answers to the problem of suffering, evil and death, would not be afraid of the dark.

An ecological chaplaincy would be a place-based chaplaincy. An Earth Chaplain tends to the soul of places. Monks make a vow of stability which voluntarily ties them to a particular place and community. Perhaps for us un-vowed, making a bond of stability to our places would suffice. Our abbot underfoot, our obedience to the land. This might enable us to explore the contemplative depths of being alive in a lush and wounded world. Rather than being part of a congregational Diocese, we might see ourselves as part of a bioregional Biocese, a place presided over by the bishopric of weather and season.

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