Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tread lightly

Question: if you don't know about something till after it has happened, are you still late?

I've just discovered, via Julie at One Hand Clapping, that yesterday was Blog Action Day for the Environment.

At our conference last week, the theme was "Pressure Points" and our first keynote address was "The Earth under Pressure" - with Clare Foster, the Archbishops' Advisor on all sorts of ethical and environmental concerns,- so I'd kind of planned an environmental post some time this week.
If I'd only known....
However, true to my tradition of coming in late whenever possible, I thought I might as well write it anyway - because, actually, this stuff really matters.

Clare was excellent - really inspirational (and how exciting to know that some of the national voices of the C of E are so eloquent) and her theme was sobering but never depressing. She took as her starting point the Anglican Communion's Fifth Mark of Mission
"Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth".
(Good, eh? I wonder if I'm the only person who didn't know that either there were 5 Communion wide marks, or that they included such wisdom. Guess I'd maybe better research the others)

Her presentation hang on several key theological points
  • The Covenant nature of creation - an interdependent web
  • Creation as Sacrament - every footfall of ours lands upon the body of Christ
  • humanity as "second Adams" with the task of tilling and keeping, serving and conserving the earth - not dominating by right (even the concept of "stewardship" implies a measure of control that we cannot apply in our relationship with creation)
  • (My favourite) The Sabbath Feast of Enoughness...an escape from the assumption of endless economic growth, of more as better, in favour of an economic model based upon perhaps a tree, which has limits to its growth...and then simply gains in maturity, though (as with the human body) renewal is constant throughout its lifetime....We need to recognise, against all the cultural impetus in the opposite direction, that we and the material world alike have limits...we cannot extend anything forever
She went on to talk about the practice of sabbath not only in ecological terms (reminding us of the jubilee principle, which leaves the earth fallow to rest every seventh year) but in personal terms...speaking of the way ceaseless hurry turns her into something less than human, someone who views everything, everyone as an obstacle in her need to get there on time ("Me too...me too" cried the curate who never leaves for anywhere before she should actually be arriving)
OOoooh - and there's a book - slight but practical, with ideas to implement and a moral and theoloical rationale to support them

Clare left us with the delightful invitation/challenge to pursue little sabbaths - being in the moment when delayed at traffic lights, while waiting for the computer to boot up, whenever, wherever the pauses come.
Later in the conference, during one of the (stunning) homilies preached by "ordinary" diocesan clergy, this point came home as he told of watching a woman at a cash point so intent on her next task that she didn't even wait to collect the money she was withdrawing...Apparently each year thousands of pounds are abandoned in the mad rush for the next thing. Quite incredible!
I'd rather stupidly not made the connection between personal and ecological balance - but it's something I'm pondering today, an unexpected sabbath enforced by the Common Cold.
Now, there's a lovely Michael Leunig prayer about that somewhere...if I can find it, I'll blog it later.

1 comment:

RevDrKate said...

This is lovely, (and there are at least two of us who did not know!) I think it is like a belated birthday....better celebrated late than not at all! I love the Sabbath Feast of Enoughness.... what a good reminder. Also love the "little sabbaths" thought. Thanks for posting this.