So, I've been reading Thomas BerryBrian SwimmeJohn Muir.  They give shape to my deep sense that our story of our planet must be updated, as well as our theological reflection, to match what we now know about the universe.  We are terribly behind (especially in religious circles) and still read our sacred texts from inside an outdated cosmology--as if heaven is up, hell (whatever that is) is down, and this flat earth is merely a staging ground for what matters in the afterlife.  This means that earth is incidental and can be used and abused because, in the end, matter doesn't matter.  

Berry has said that "when religion lost contact with the presence of the divine throughout the natural world, the deepest sources of religious experience was lost.  Human control over the functioning of the life systems of the planet became the ideal to be sought.  Nothing was to escape human dominance."  He goes on to say about Matthew Fox that "Matt Fox is one of those persons in more recent times who seeks to bring back this sense of the Great Cosmic Liturgy that has been sustained over the centuries by the indigenous peoples, while the 'civilized' persons of the world have abstracted themselves into staid liturgies that have lost their primordial vitality."  

Matt Fox surely does this, but so did Muir a century ago.  Muir's break with the rigid Calvinism of his Scottish Presbyterian heritage, and his plunge into the natural world as alive with Spirit is a window into the kind of recovery we need.  Brian Swimme also points this way with his marvelous tale of the origins of the universe.  All this needs a more robust theological integration into more mainstream religious thought and practice.  (And this is exactly the kind of work that John Philip Newell is up to today)

Here's a story audio/visual story that invites us toward this newness.  

I wonder how religious people, particularly Christians (because they're my tribe) can find ways of creating new liturgies that involve people today in ways that orienting them to the universe so that we can be more present to the sacredness of the earth and our place in it.     

AuthorChris Neufeld-Erdman