Some signs of positive ReMembering shifts
Ten years ago, I felt like a lone voice when I talked about the importance of engaging with religion, spirituality, arts, music and “culture” for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Now, there’s a myriad of different initiatives along these lines. For example, Green the (Black) Church in the United States is preparing for their fifth annual conference in California; Yale’s Forum for Religion and Ecology has a long email list (sign up here) of workshops/conferences/events that connect religion (from Christianity to Jainism) and ecology. “New” spiritual/religious initiatives delve deep into the ancient, defy religious “boundaries” and effuse creativity, such as Refugi in the French Alps.
More and more groups are discussing colonization - and decolonization – and once in a while they make the connections to climate change and what it means to become whole people. Unquestionably the strengthening and the growth of indigenous voices from luminaries such as Robin Kimmerer to a plethora of great Native podcasts contributes to the shifting zeitgeist. The Lutheran Church has had its second conference on decolonization (and is explicitly aiming to create a “revolution”). Quakers and others across the nation are digging into the horrific history of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States as part of the larger work of Right Relationship. Here’s a great article on the need to go beyond changing policies and focus on change mindsets when engaging with indigenous concerns by Mohawk Professor Taiaiake Alfred, University of Victoria, Canada.
These bright lights illuminate an increased willingness and interest to engage with difficult histories in order to create a better future for everyone. To step out of the silos that keep us from being whom we are called to be. It is a kind of truth-telling, and truth-telling is an essential part of the spiritual process. When Ecotheologian Chris Fici joined my team this past week, we had a rich conversation about the relationship between historical truths and spiritual seeking – check it out here.
ReMembering is closely connected to ReEnchanting. “ReEnchanting” is far more than a “woo-woo” term out of the contemporary New Age movement (though much that is there is pretty cool). Its deep in the analysis of our contemporary society. Max Weber (borrowing from Friedrich Schiller) used the term “disenchantment” to describe the character of modernized, bureaucratic, secularized and highly rational Western society, closely related to the desacralization of society. In other words: with industrialization (and I would say with colonization) society lost its magic and mysticism (much of it was violently suppressed) that had been previously channeled in the rituals in indigenous folk traditions and in the Church. Or at least society came to consistently ignore the magic that was already-always present – because our world is so miraculous nothing could get rid of it. Later, much of the work of Carl Jung, including his focus on symbols, was about finding a way to reconnect with the “numinous” in a secular world can be seen as part of the larger efforts of ReEnchanting.
To ReEnchant is to engage our imaginations: a critical dimension for reforming education and enabling truly sustainable development. Check out this interview with Vanessa Anderotti (from University of British Columbia) by Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Towns Network. I’m also inspired by this North Philly Afrofuturism community – where they envision the future and practice “collapsing it into an existing reality” and are actively engaging with the past. And I absolutely loved this “witch burning forgiveness” video by my dear friend Lyla June Johnson (Dine/Navajo/Irish).
What a great time and space for Sequoia Samanvaya LLC to be emerging. One of my great excitements is that the legal paper work is close to being done, our online classes are thriving, I spoke at two events this past week to amazing audiences, and my team is growing, which is such a blessing. Hopefully, we will soon see you at one of our online courses to support you supporting your community's journey of re-connecting that which colonization has dis-connected.