The environmental crisis is the no. 1 spiritual challenge facing the human race in the 21st century.
Spiritual Progressives should provide leadership in this struggle. We understand the dimensions of the issue, understand that we cannot save the planet without defeating the globalization of materialism and selfishness which provides the engine for unlimited exploitation of the earth without regard to the future consequences, and understand that a serious environmental movement would not only be involved in the day-to-day challenging of the worst offenses (as will happen at the demonstrations this weekend) but would ALSO be seeking to change the fundamental underlying assumptions about what is rational, productive and efficient in our economy, politics, and daily life. That is what we do with our “New Bottom Line” which is at the center of our Spiritual Covenant with America, and with our proposed ESRA–the Environmental and Social Responsiblity Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
No wonder then, that the Network of Spiritual Progressives has joined with over one hundred other organizations to support the Forward on Climate Rallies this Sunday, not only in the big rally in D.C. but also in the many other rallies around the country. Below is a list of locations we just received. If you can, bring copies of the ESRA to the rally, and signs indicating that you are one of the many Spiritual Progressives involved in this struggle (because doing so will encourage other spiritual progressives to feel safe to come out of the closet despite the religiophobia many people report experiencing in some liberal, progressive and/or environmental circles–and it will help alert secular demonstrators that they have spiritual progressive allies in this struggle to save the earth).
Hope to see you there this Sunday at one of the many sites!
I’ve changed my faith or religion or spiritual practice a lot over the years. I was born to parents of Jewish ancestry, but they were Unitarians, or Jewnitarians, as their friends joked. I was born to hybrids.
When I was twelve, we moved to Israel, largely because my Dad felt guilty for not teaching us kids about our Jewish history. It seemed to me to be too much too late. It was an alien country and faith to me. I felt terrible about the holocaust, and I understood Nazis would kill me whether or not I felt Jewish, but I still didn’t feel like kissing the ground when we landed in Israel.
At thirteen, I went to Quaker boarding school in the mountains of North Carolina. As students, we didn’t go to Meeting much, but we spent our days and nights outside in nature. You might say it was in the mountains I found God. I came home to myself and fell in love with the streams, rhododendron, sandy mica paths, and black mountaintops. I loved sliding down rocks in the South Toe river, sliding down mountain sides in the snow, skating and swimming in natural ponds, resting in wild grasses and staring at the stars on windy nights. My house parents had to drag me inside to go to bed at night.
by: Sharon Delgado on February 13th, 2013 | Comments Off
An Ash Wednesday Reflection
"Spirit of the River," Yuba River near Nevada City, California
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In Christian tradition, on this day ashes are used to symbolize two things: repentance and mortality.
As we consider the destruction of the earth and the suffering of our fellow creatures, both human and nonhuman, repentance and humble acceptance of our own mortality seem appropriate. In Ash Wednesday services the imposition of ashes is a way to show our repentance, our intention to turn away from harmful actions and to turn back toward God. As we consider harm to the earth we are called to repent of our own violence, greed, and over-consumption, our participation in ecological destruction and human misery, our complicity in the harm caused by the institutions and systems of which we are a part.
The "Golden Bull" at Occupy Wall Street
As a new Tikkun Daily author, this is an introduction to the themes I will cover in my postings to this blog. Many of these themes are covered in detail in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, which makes the case that today’s dominant global economic system, based on unrestrained free market capitalism, is damaging the human family and destroying the earth. The book is a call to action and a call to spiritual renewal. It proposes a way for people of faith and conscience to join together to resist corporate domination and to work for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world. My blog postings to Tikkun Daily will touch on these themes and will relate to the following three aspects of globalization:
1) Corporate Globalization: This is the current system of global economic integration, dominated by transnational corporations and based upon the ideology of Market Fundamentalism. The U.S. military/industrial complex enforces this interlocking network of political, economic, military, and ideological institutions, which Walter Wink calls the “Domination System.”
You may not have caught this news: “L.A. had fewer crimes last year than it did in 1957 – the mayor calls the numbers ‘mind-boggling’.”
But we all know that: “Los Angeles – like other big cities around the country – is in the midst of a crime drop so steep and profound, it has experts scratching their heads.”
And you’ve heard the usual (speculative) reasons. The LA Times sums them up as: “…better policing and more community involvement; fewer drugs and fuller prisons; an explosion in new technology; and the fading profile of violent gangs.”
And in particular you’ve heard about the “broken windows theory” which made Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton, his police chief, famous in the 1990s, and “stop and frisk” which is much hated today :
In New York this policy, under which police stop 700,000 residents per year without probable cause, is opposed by a majority of New Yorkers, including 75 percent of African American residents.
… which is highly relevant to Oakland, CA, (near where I live), because Oakland’s crime rate, unlike most cities, has been soaring and the city is now bringing in Bill Bratton to try to fix it.
But did you catch Kevin Drum’s article in Mother Jones on what may be the biggest reason for the rise and fall of crime in our time? Lead. And why is that good news?
by: Rick Herrick on January 16th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Did you ever think you would receive investment advice in a Tikkun publication? I have never come cross such advice here, but Tikkun was willing to entertain such an article because global warming is here. It is a very serious problem. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has risen 20% since 2000. The World Bank projects temperature increases of up to four degrees centigrade by 2100.
I became passionately interested in this issue twenty-five years ago. At that time I sold all the stocks in my IRA and reinvested the proceeds in alternative energy companies. Each year after that I have added to these holdings. Though the investments have not made me lots of money, I have been proud to own companies that are part of the solution. You might be interested in a similar investment strategy. What follows below are profiles of some of the best companies in the alternative energy space.
On Wednesday, January 9, nearly 2,000 people rallied against fracking outside of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, in Albany, New York.
Folks danced, chanted, shouted, drummed, and waved signs. Pete Seeger sang, the Reverend Billy Talen shook and shouted halleluyah, Sandra Steingraber, Debra Winger, and Natalie Merchant spoke. Voices of the thousands rang out loudly for hours.
Activists called (and call) for a permanent ban on fracking in the state of New York.
Geologists, chemists, biologists, and medical doctors argue that fracking is a threat to public health, will produce hazardous air and water pollution, and will endanger the state’s food supply. It contributes negatively to climate change as well, according to Phil Aroneanu, campaign director of 350.org. Of additional concern to many, as reported by Treehugger and the New York Times, among others, is the release of dangerous radiaoactive materials into the ecosystem through the fracking process. As of now, the gas industry has no means or plan to contain such radioactive waste.
I had a conversation last week with someone who gave up making films to start a business he hopes will earn enough money to finance major social-change organizing projects. He condemned progressives for their illusions, saying they that think if they’ve watched a hard-hitting film, they’ve done something, but really, “they’ve done nada. The most under-appreciated art and the one most needed and that makes the most difference is the art of organizing.” He explained that he meant Alinsky-style community organizing, with protests – rallies, marches, pickets – focusing on a succession of concrete steps in the hope they will aggregate into meaningful change.
I find this insistence on one form of activism fatiguing. It reminds me of the old alchemical idea: that if you perform the same action over and over again, it will eventually yield a transformative result. At this point, I think most old-style forms of organizing alone have about as much chance of succeeding in addressing our crises as ancient alchemical experiments had of finding the philosopher’s stone and transmuting base metal into gold. Real transformation has to engage the whole person: body, emotions, intellect, and spirit. But you can’t make anyone see what he or she is not ready to perceive, no matter how plainly it is inscribed in reality.
Do you think the world is going to end in 2012?
I look over at the young Italian woman who asked the question, thinking she’s joking. But by the look in her eyes, I know she’s dead serious. And I can’t say I blame her, given our surroundings.
It’s one thing to dismiss the Mayan apocalypse myth from the safety of a coffeeshop-and-laptop in Oakland, but it’s another thing to hear it standing here on top of the pyramids of Tikal, the heart of the ancient Mayan empire.
It’s December 2011 – exactly one year before my boy Ronnie keeps telling me the Mayan calendar is going to run out and life as we know it will cease to exist (Yo, that shit is real, son! I’m telling you!) - and I find myself deep in the jungle of northern Guatemala.
Dear President Obama and Democratic Members of Congress,
I invite you to embrace the radical notion that there are fundamental truths and values that the vast majority of US citizens believe in and support. They have chosen you to be the messenger and implementer of those ideas in the form of legislation and actions on a federal level. Now is the time for you to step out of a politics based on fear and limiting beliefs and into the very real possibility and actuality that when you choose to stand in a politics of love, your actions will be celebrated.
This is what a politics of love looks like:
1. Genuine care for the well-being of all, both in the US and abroad.
2. A commitment to the repair of our planet, food and water resources.
3. A belief in the sacred nature of every being.
The vast majority of citizens as evidenced by the occupy movement, votes at the polls, and public discourse, are tired by the politics of hate, fear and money that dominated the 2012 election and our public discourse for years. Instead of a politics of fear, hatred and money, they are yearning for a politics based on love – where the well-being of all overrides the desire of a few.