Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Care and religion

As I wrote in my last post, earth-based religions are frequently paired with environmental education for children. But, after attending several Earth Care events put on by the local Interfaith Works, I am pleased to see that for many people of various Christian denominations Earth Care is a religious imperative. A Catholic nun that I have been very honored to know through these events wrote this lovely opinion piece for our local paper.

In our Unitarian Universalist faith, our 7th Principle calls for us to "respect the interdependent web of life, of which we are all a part". In my congregation, this manifests itself in many ways: in our Green Sanctuary committee leading the way in making our church a greener place, in our Adult Education committee including the category of "social and earth justice" as one of their 6 types of classes to offer, in an Ethical Eating Work Group that has sponsored a Food Film and Discussion series, in worship, and in children's religious education.

UU's care about the Earth. (According to the UU Ministry for Earth, 137 congregations are doing something special for Earth Day. The number is probably low - my congregation isn't registered but we always do an Earth Day worship service.) We're not always perfect about it (who is?), but overall, we feel the imperative to care for the earth as a religious and spiritual imperative. Just as I wrote when I warned that we should not scare or depress children before they even have the chance to love nature, I think we shouldn't hit adults with fear, depression, or guilt about nature either. Love, connection, spiritual oneness - those are the reasons I feel passionate about the environment. There is a positive, loving, spiritual and religious message we can give our children, calling us all to live in right relationship with each other and with the earth.

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