Choosing Creation over Empire

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A presentation on the current ecological and economic crisis the Earth is facing, who is benefiting and suffering the most from it, and how people of faith can respond with creativity and integrity.

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Choosing Creation over Empire : 

Choosing Creation over Empire Introductory Reflections Pre-event: More Franchises, a Second Cup

Humanity at a Crossroads : 

Humanity at a Crossroads We are arguably standing at the most important crossroads in human history Not to underestimate previous crises: Think of the great world wars, peoples being enslaved and subjugated by colonization, falls of civilizations, etc. In many ways, what we are experiencing now seems much less grave and yet… how much of this is a problem of perception that keeps us from acting fruitfully?

Unprecedented Danger… : 

Unprecedented Danger… In the last 50 years, half of global forests destroyed, 65% of arable land lost, 10,000’s of new chemicals, 100,000’s of species lost (half-100y) + massive climate change, ocean chemistry Whole ecosystems are being wiped out before our eyes, and we are witnessing the greatest mass extinction in 65 million years (end of an epoch) Yet, why this destruction? Treating the Earth like a giant liquidation sale, turning life into dead capital

Who benefits : 

Who benefits In the short term, wealth accumulated by the few at the expense of the many (people, other creatures); longer term…. We are all losers… 20% of humanity with 80% of income: earn 200 times what the poorest earn 793 billionaires with $2.4 trillion (combined income of poorest 50%) in 2009, 1195 with $4.4 trillion ‘08 We, who are among the richest 20%, are cushioned in an illusion of wealth (5 Earths…)

A problem of perception : 

A problem of perception On the one hand, we are cushioned from perceiving the crisis (media, comfort, etc.) Dynamics of denial and distraction conspire to keep us in the dark (actively fed…) Also a problem of our short life spans; change seems to happen slowly, though really very fast (last 10 seconds of the “cosmic century”) – analogy of the frog in hot water…

What do we call this monster? : 

What do we call this monster? Industrial growth society Transnational, corporate “savage” capitalism Neoliberalism Empire (political + economic + mind) The global dis/order (pathology) The current system is not sustainable, even in the short term “Either empire dies, or the Earth will die”

A question of faith : 

A question of faith Ecocide is the key ethical, moral, and spiritual challenge of our time: Challenge to religions As a community of faith, have we really taken this seriously? Have we really grappled with this as a moral imperative that calls us to fundamentally re-orient all our actions, our spirituality, our way of organizing ourselves, and our ways of relating to one another and the Earth? Not just “living faithfully in the midst of empire”, but seeking to liberate ourselves from empire.

The Alternative of Jesus : 

The Alternative of Jesus What was Jesus speaking of in proclaiming “the Reign / Kingdom of God is among us” Malkuta: “ruling principles;” feminine – from name of the Earth goddess Malkatu…. Quality of leadership, empowerment evident in the Earth Image of a “fruitful arm poised to create,” hidden potentiality like a coiled spring, grass coming up through cement Present: among us/ with us / around us (where?)

Questions for the panel : 

Questions for the panel What is the role of the church in the midst of the current ecological crisis? What is ecological debt? Whom do we owe and why? How can our faith nourish our struggle to choose creation over empire? How can we create life-giving alternatives to empire where we are?

For more information…. : 

For more information…. Mark Hathaway is an adult educator who gives retreats, workshops, and courses on themes related to ecology, spirituality, cosmology, and social transformation. He is the co-author, together with Leonardo Boff, of The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation published by Orbis (2009). See www.taoofliberation.com for more details.

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