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Eco Catholic

New Eco Catholic blog co-editor

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Beginning this week, we have a new co-editor and contributor for the Eco Catholic blog. Carol Meyer returns to full-time work as executive director of the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition. Journalist Sharon Abercrombie replaces her as co-editor and chief contributor, along with Rich Heffern.

Sharon Abercrombie has covered the environment, spirituality, women’s issues, animal rights and social justice for many newspapers, including the Columbus Ohio Citizen-Journal, the Columbus Catholic Times, the Oakland Catholic Voice, and Catholic San Francisco. She was assistant editor for EarthLight Magazine, the interfaith journal of eco-spirituality. She is a graduate of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif.

She has been a long-time contributor to The National Catholic Reporter. Her most recent article appeared in our special issue on ecology in April 2010 on the Canadian tar sands oil extraction and how churches there are trying to deal with the devastation.

The geologians: Stalking the divine in the real

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When Fr. Thomas Berry exhorted us to put the Bible on the shelf for about 20 years, Berry was not showing disrespect to the scripture, but rather trying to get us to see, before it’s too late, that God’s revelation is also in our midst. The world is not an expendable backdrop to some remote salvation drama. God is here and now. Every bush is burning. God has been at work for billions of years everywhere in the processes of creation that are still going on.

The butterfly and me

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Providing hospice care for a wounded butterfly had not been on my supermarket shopping list that day. But then, Sophia Wisdom needed to get my attention, somehow. The back story: I was longing to study for my master’s degree in the creation spirituality program Matthew Fox had created at Holy Names College in Oakland, but didn’t see how I could financially manage moving to California.

That afternoon my mood matched the sultry Midwest Ohio weather – I was dripping outside with copious sweat, and inside with teary sadness.

Not for long. It’s amazing how swiftly the vision of a vibrant orange Monarch butterfly lying on the steaming asphalt of a shopping center parking lot can serve as an energizing distraction. The butterfly was languishing near the left rear wheel of my car. Her right wing was split. She couldn’t fly. I picked her up.

Paper or plastic?

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The Zen Buddhist tradition often makes use of the koan, a pithy question or dilemma that is posed by a master to the aspiring student.

The most famous example of a koan is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” but there are many more: “What was your original face before you were born?” “Has a dog the Buddha nature?” The aim of the koan is to produce a short-circuit in the mind and spirit of the aspirant that leads to new insights or even to qualitatively different ways of understanding or experiencing the world. The mind is startled out of its usual sluggishness by the koan into a more alert perception.

'The Tree of Life' asks 'Who are we to You?'

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Terrence Malick’s new film, “The Tree of Life,” is at once a wide-ranging meditation, an elegaic cinematic rendering of what it’s like to be a child, and a litany of sounds and images of humankind, nature and, incredibly, the Earth’s beginnings. It opens with the ultimate rank-pulling quote from the end of the Book of Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”

Priest calls for synod on creation

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from the Catholic News Service Blog, written by Dennis Sadowski

A synod for creation? Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh believes it would be a good thing for the church and for the future of the Earth.

He repeated his suggestion for Pope Benedict XVI to call such a synod during a visit to the Center of Concern in Washington May 17 in a visit also sponsored by Pax Christi USA and Missionary Society of St. Columban.

“It would give everyone a chance to share insight,” said the Irish priest, who has spent more than 30 years urging the world to do a better job of caring for God’s creation. “The synod would be a great impetus to the task for caring for the earth and caring for every creature. It would give new life to the Catholic faith in contemporary society.”

It’s not just the duty of the Catholic church to care for the Earth, but for all religions to lead the way, he said.

The rush toward summer

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This is excerpted from the writings of Hal Borland, who penned a nature column in the New York Times for years.

The urgency is upon all of us and every growing thing around us. Daylight now approaches fifteen hours, but still there isn't enough time to [img_assist|nid=24780||desc=|link=none|align=left|width=131|height=147]do, to see, to participate as we would. The farmer hurries her planting to be ready for the hay crop swiftly maturing. The suburbanite mows his lawn and wages war with the dandelions and the crabgrass, hoping for an idle weekend or a free evening. The gardener is caught between spring bulbs and summer annuals, between peas and corn and beans and the annual crop of weeds.

Meanwhile, the trees spread their green canopy, hurry their blossoms to maturity and seedling, and the chlorophyll works overtime, feeding new shoots and old stems. Brooksides, purple with violets last week, begin to flush with wild geraniums. Meadows where bluets were like frost two weeks ago are freckled with buttercups. Cool woodland margins that have had their succession of hepatica, bloodroot, anemones, wild ginger and trilliums, now are peopled with Jack-in-the-pulpits.

Global climate change and religion

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An article on the Huffington Post Green blog explores the connection between global warming denialism and religion. Evidence exists that many who deny the dangers of global warming do so out of religious conviction. A Pew survey asked the following question: "Is there solid evidence the Earth is warming?"

Physicist and author Victor Stenger breaks down the responses according to religious affiliation or non-affiliation, then lays out further details of a connection between evangelicals in particular and opposition to the consensus of climate scientists.

He gives the Catholic church credit for becoming increasingly green.

Prayers for the floods to recede

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Good and gracious God,
all the elements of nature obey your command.
Calm the waters that threaten us
and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

God, our provider, we acknowledge you
as the only source of growth and abundance.
With your help we will plant our crops again,
and by your power they will produce our harvest.
In your kindness and love,
make up for what is lacking in our efforts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Amen.
-- from the National Catholic Rural Life Conference

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August 1-14, 2014

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