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A Spirit Earthly Enough: Toward a Philosophy for the Emerging Franciscan Earth Corps to Engage Youth in Climate Change Adaptation

Brother Coyote (Gary Paul Nabhan, OEF, PhD.)*

“It sometimes seems odd to me that we as Christians embrace the notion that Jesus came down from heaven to do healing on earth, but that we as contemporary Christians do not take seriously the need for healing of the earth as one of the highest expressions of our faith. If God so loved this Earth that he/she gave us his/her only son to live here among us, then how in this world can we ignore that this Earth itself is blessed, that the very soil which was touched by the feet of Jesus is sacred?

And yet, many of those who have wished to walk in the path of Jesus do so by defining their vocation as service to the poor, sick and downtrodden of humanity, as if Adam (humankind) was not of the earth, as reflected in the core meaning of adama. Ultimately, working for social justice and human healing and working for environmental justice and ecological restoration are one in the same; they restore us to right relationship with all of Creation, and through that process, to right relationship with the Creator. If we need such an impulse explicitly sanctioned by the many gospels or versions of the Good News, we need only remember the passage in the Gospel of Thomas in which Jesus encourages his followers to “go out to preach/to care for all of creation.”

And yet, we must daily confront the oddest of paradoxes: in the countries with the highest percentages of their populations calling themselves Christians (in the sense of believing in Jesus and attending church), we must bear witness to the highest percentages of the lands and waters being broken from their original nature, that is fragmented, degraded, contaminated or sickened. It is hard to be healthy Christians if the land on which we live is sickened, or if the waters in which we swim or drink can sicken humans as well as other-than-human lives…

…The loss of species and degradation of their (our) habitats may well be—in the words of Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson—“the thing for which future generations will be most likely to forgive us.”

Perhaps that is why, more than ever before in human (and Christian) history, we need to reflect on the special calling which a privileged youth named Francesco di Bernardone was given, a calling which transformed him into Saint Francis of Assisi, now known as the Patron Saint of Ecology.”…

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*About the author:
Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He has been honored as a pioneer and creative force in the "local food movement” and seed saving community by Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, New York Times, Bioneers and Time magazine.

For more, visit: http://garynabhan.com/i/

Read more:

Visions of a New Earth: Responding to the Ecological Challenge- The Report