Just another Rainbow Christian's Blog

Posts tagged ‘ecology’

NATURE AS MIRROR – -a Meditation

NATURE AS MIRROR

by Fr. Richard Rohr

Nature was a mirror of the soul for St. Francis of Assisi — a mirror for himself and a mirror for God.  All this mirroring affected a complete change of consciousness in how he saw reality.

When Francis was a young man, he just loved to party.  One night he left the party and looked up at the stars above Assisi.  He stood there for a long time, and he was in awe of what he saw.  He said, “If these are the creatures, what must the Creator be like?”

The outer world began to name the inner experience and the nature of God for Francis.  It all became a two way mirror through which he could see God and also see his deepest soul.
 
Adapted from In the Footsteps of Francis webcast
 
Starter Prayer:
Be praised, my Lord,
through all your creat
ures.

basic values: peace and justice. The two are like bread and salt for mankind.
– Lech Walesa
from his Nobel Lecture

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Help end world hunger

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This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

IMPORTANT NOTICE

You may have noticed the increased amount of notices for you to notice. Some of our notices have not been noticed. This is very noticeable. It has been noticed that the responses to the notices have been noticeably unnoticed. This notice is to remind you to notice the notices and respond to the notices, because we do not want the notices to go unnoticed.


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

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So NOW you’re Mad?

I emant to ree-post this awhile ago, but in light of the the fact that Super Tuesday is on supposed to be Tuesday, March 6, 2012., I thought this might be wirth sharing NOW. – Ninure da Hippie

So Now You’re Mad

By and via Vanessa Johnson Butler...

“IF ONLY THOSE WHO SEEM TO BE SO MAD AT PRESIDENT OBAMA WOULD READ THIS AND REFLECT A MOMENT, THEY MIGHT SAY:
Hmmmmmmmmmm… YOU MIGHT BE RIGHT!!………

Now, since Obama’s regime, all of a sudden, folks have gotten mad, and want to take America Back…BACK TO WHAT/WHERE is my question?

After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn’t get mad when they didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when Bush ran up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the 1%, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.

You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.

You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn’t get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick…

PS. This one definitely needs to be circulated just for a reminder sake!”

FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

IMPORTANT NOTICE

You may have noticed the increased amount of notices for you to notice. Some of our notices have not been noticed. This is very noticeable. It has been noticed that the responses to the notices have been noticeably unnoticed. This notice is to remind you to notice the notices and respond to the notices, because we do not want the notices to go unnoticed.

“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Sightings: Reuse or Replace

A really interesting article.

What should “we” do with once “sacred space” when the people “outgrow it”. move away, or disband?


Sightings: Reuse or Replace

Gallery

A single drop…

Together we fill the ocean

Sightings: Rational Animals

How often do you think of “our” religious outlook concerning animals/the living creatures God created? – Ninure da Hippie

Sightings 1/12/2012

Rational Animals
— Kristel Clayville

Definitions of what it means to be human have been sought out for centuries in many academic disciplines. Theology and philosophy have been at the forefront of this humanistic inquiry, but since Darwin’s writing, biology and psychology have posited their own definitions. More importantly, biology and psychology have been used as an interpretive lens on the earlier theological and philosophical definitions of what it means to be human. In the public sphere, the theological and philosophical definitions have taken a back seat to the biological and psychological definitions. While this shift may seem inconsequential, it has a profound effect on the public’s views of morality. Rather than morality having a theological or philosophical center or origin, it is now largely represented in media as the natural outgrowth of human evolution from animals, which situates animals and animal studies as the new center for biological and psychological definitions of humanity. Interestingly, despite the culture wars over the place of evolutionary theory in public life, new and popularly accepted definitions of human and animal relations imply an acceptance of the basic assumptions of evolutionary theory.

Consider several recent books, movies, and news articles about the inner lives of animals that have flooded the market in the past three to four years. Books on bird intelligence, getting into the mind of your dog, cross species friendships, human terrorizing of elephants through environmental destruction, and animal social organization and its implied morality have found homes on bookstore shelves. On the film front, documentaries like Project Nim, which follows the efforts of a Columbia University psychology professor to teach language to a chimp (Nim Chimpsky) have debuted at art house theaters, while big budget films like the Disney film Earth have offered audiences a window into the epic journeys of animal “families.” Human curiosity about animals is pretty normal. Who doesn’t want to know more about how ravens recognize faces and teach their young to do the same? Isn’t it horrifying and illuminating that elephants grieve the loss of a loved one—or that they even have loved ones? Does Nim Chimpsky actually learn to communicate with humans or does he only mimic and placate them? Do social animals abide by a set of morals?

Closer attention to these mass media representations of animals reveals three basic trends in our contemporary relationship with animals and how we think about morality through animals: 1) We are interested in their experience of their world, and study of their experiences shows that animals have much in common with us; 2) We can learn about ourselves and our relationships with other humans by studying animals; and 3) Animals can teach us how to be moral.

The first trend—drawing similarities between human and animal experience—seems sentimental, aimed to circumvent rather than recruit our higher faculties of judgment. Moreover, the books and movies mentioned above draw mainly on narrative conventions to tell us a story about animal intelligence, and in fact these narratives could simply represent what their authors wish were the case—that humans and animals have similar experiences of the world. By extension, the similarities between our experiences of the world and those of animals lay the groundwork for an expansive notion of our duties to animals. None of the narrative expressions of our similarities go so far as to articulate an ethical project, but the implication is that similarities of experience warrant an equality of treatment in the ethical realm. In short: animals are just like us, so let’s treat them better.

While rampant anthropomorphizing may inform the above narratives and their potential ethical projects, the second trend is highly rational and human-centered. An article that represents this trend appeared recently on the University of Chicago homepage, and it reports the conclusions of a study on rat behavior conducted by psychologists and psychiatrists at the University of Chicago. Previous studies on rats had noted that they could sense the emotional distress of other species. Building on these earlier findings, the study investigates whether rats could sense and understand the distress of their fellow rats, and to see what if anything the rats would try to do to alleviate the distress. Pairs of rats were put in cages for two weeks, after which one rat of each pair was freed. A large percentage of the freed rats worked tirelessly to liberate their cagemates. When confronted with the choice between eating chocolate—a favorite food of rats—and freeing their fellow rat, a large percentage of them chose to free their cagemate, then share the chocolate with the newly liberated rat. This study is fascinating for the information it offers about rat intelligence, emotion, and empathy, but the conclusions in the news article were not about the rats themselves. Instead, the conclusions posited that these findings could be used to increase empathy in humans.

Counter to the ethical position that humans are naturally selfish, this study of rats concludes that humans, like other social animals, find helping others to be its own reward. While the impetus of the rat study is to gain knowledge about rat behavior, the conclusions of the article on the study suggest that rat behavior is not an amoral category for the scientists conducting the study. In fact, rat behavior is synonymous with social animal behavior, and the rationale for studying social animal behavior is to study and possibly augment human behavior.

This humanistic, yet scientific enterprise posits psychological similarities between humans and animals on the order of the narratives in the books and movies above. In contrast, the similarities between humans and rats become part of a potential ethical project that is concerned with how humans interact with each other. There were no conclusions offered in the study itself concerning how the inner lives of rats might change the human relationship to rats and other social animals.

A third trend in the study of animals and morality stands in stark distinction to the narratives of animal intelligence and the study of empathy in rats; this group of books posits that animals are moral and that we can learn how to be moral from them. We aren’t learning about animals, and we aren’t learning about ourselves through animals, but in fact we are being taught by animals. The book Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom presents the reader with photos of strange animal pairs, often predator-prey pairs, along with a narrative of how they became friends and some indication of the depth of their friendship. Here animals function symbolically to ratify human feelings of being innately at odds with others, while also leading us out of our intractable differences. In fact, like these animals who have befriended their natural predators, we too can overcome our differences with one another and live in harmony.

So what can we make of these three trends in the study of animals and morality? All of these trends are represented in academic studies of animals, but these books, movies, and news articles are written for and marketed to the general public, suggesting that some of the assumptions of the academic scholarship have permeated contemporary culture. Most important among these assumptions is a version of evolutionary theory that posits a biological relationship between humans and other animals, and this biological relationship influences the psychological elements of our lives. While this is not a particularly radical statement, its acceptance motivates the creation and consumption of the books, movies, and articles mentioned above. Additionally, this modest acceptance of evolutionary theory by the public shows the extent to which the Judeo-Christian position of “subdue and dominate” has been subverted, at least intellectually, when thinking about animals and our relationships to and with them. Or to put my conclusion in moral terms, the ground of our duties to animals has shifted in the public realm from a theological and philosophical context to a biological and psychological context.

References

Earth. Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, Dirs. Disneynature, 2007.

Holland, Jennifer S., Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom. Workman Publishing Company, 2011.

Horowitz, Alexandra, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. Scribner, 2009.

Maia Szalavitz, “Rats Show Empathy and Free Their Trapped Companions,” Time Magazine, December 8, 2011.
http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/08/rats-show-empathy-and-free-their-trapped-companions/

Petersen, Dale, The Moral Lives of Animals. Bloomsbury Press, 2011.

Project Nim. James Marsh, Dir. Red Box Films, 2011.

Kristel Clayville is a PhD candidate in Religious Ethics in the Divinity School and a Martin Marty Dissertation Fellow for 2011-2012. Her dissertation is entitled Responsible Hermeneutics: The Interpretation of Religious Texts in the Environmental Ethics of Hans Jonas and Holmes Rolston III.
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Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Submissions policy
Sightings welcomes submissions of 500 to 750 words in length that seek to illuminate and interpret the forces of faith in a pluralist society. Previous columns give a good indication of the topical range and tone for acceptable essays. The editor also encourages new approaches to issues related to religion and public life.

Attribution
Columns may be quoted or republished in full, with attribution to the author of the column, Sightings, and the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Contact information
Please send all inquiries, comments, and submissions to Jeremy Biles, editor of Sightings, at sightings-admin@listhost.uchicago.edu. Subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription at the Sightings subscription page.

FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

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“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”

Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then through the gates of this house shall enter kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their servants, and their people. But if you will not heed these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.- Jeremiah 22:3-5

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. – Marian Wright Edelman

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Ark – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Ark

Excerpt from Genesis 6:5-22
“‘Make yourself an ark of cypress wood . . .”

Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell

Noah’s ark scares me. It all just seems so precarious, you know? All the life on earth, every bit of viable DNA that still exists, is floating there, just one well-placed hoof-kick through a bulkhead or one escaped ember in the hay away from the end of all life forever. And only Noah and his family trying to keep it all going and alive.

Which isn’t so different from the situation on this planet. Just one planet, only one, equipped by God for sustaining life as it floats a lonely path across the face of the void. Like the ark, carrying all the viable DNA in the solar system, maybe all the DNA in the whole galaxy, maybe all that there is in the entire universe. Precarious.

I believe that from time to time, God calls new Noahs to tell the rest of the family how to care for our ark, what to do to keep the life here safe and thriving. Among them: John James Audubon, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Chico Mendes, Wendell Berry. Tomorrow is the birthday of another: Rachel Carson. I plan to celebrate it as a kind of ecological saint’s day, reminding myself what she taught us and praying to live accordingly.

Why not spend today learning about these new Noahs and what God sent them to do for the ark? Why not spend today praying to see whether you might be the next one?

Prayer
Dear God, all this life, all this life on just this one tiny planet. Show me what to do. Amen.

About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Associate Minister of Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9

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“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

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