Continuing my series on being ”A Yogi at Union” with an exploration on the need for an urgent and compassionate call from the spiritual/theological tradition concerning our existential ecological crisis. You can check out more at the Union In Dialogue blog at the website for Union Theological Seminary. The history and legacy of Union Theological Seminary is to [...]
Lamentations–the text traditionally read by Jews on Tisha b’Av– is not the first book that comes to mind when one is asked what the Tanakh has to say about the environment. But this text has some significant things to say about environmental ethics—specifically about the consequences of environmental destruction for humans. As we are forced to confront the reality and implications of unchecked climate change, Lamentations offers a prophetic and terrifying vision.
As part of the interfaith environmental work I am blessed to be able to do, I visit with people in congregations around the state about caring for the environment. In these conversations, I am almost always asked some variation of this question: “Where do we find hope?” Anyone working on environmental issues today must wrestle with this question of hope and purpose–and if people are unable to find a meaningful answer, they won’t be able to stay engaged for very long. Without some kind of deep wellspring, the struggle of facing the world’s troubles is too frequently, too much.
This was my first visit to the Zen Center. One of the Buddhist priests had invited me to encourage his students to engage in interfaith environmental work. I was a little nervous, but something about this group—their open spirit, perhaps, and honest questions—quickly put me at ease and helped me speak from the heart. At some point, I found myself saying, “The Buddhist tradition has beautiful teachings about how all life is interconnected, and the world desperately needs this wisdom! Please share it.”