Earthtalks: Conjectures on the Spirit Journey. Those understanding life to be a journey of spirit may resonate with these conjectures from a companion on the great journey shared with the congregations of two churches in the Roanoke Valley. 177 pages.
from "Anniversaries of the Spirit"
Everybody starts off with what can be called an environmental self which simply means there is no way we cannot be shaped profoundly by the environment we begin our lives in. All sorts of values, biases, and doctrines seep in before we are able even to begin to sort them all out. Our sense of self then is not so much our own as borrowed. This is not a bad thing, by the way, it's just the way things are.
The spiritual task of life, it seems to me, is to brave the rigors of a long journey in order to find one's real self which means, in a nutshell, there are going to have to be painful partings of the way--painful because to question and sometimes go beyond the prevailing culture predictably evokes at least puzzlement, if not wrath, from that culture. So what I'm suggesting as you reflect back on and jot down your spiritual steppingstones is to pay attention especially to the partings, to the difficult times in your unfolding history when, for the sake of your emerging real self calling you to be true to the voice within, you took the path less traveled.
Those, I suggest, were breakthroughs of the spirit for you and can therefore become anniversaries of spirit. It may be the time when it dawned on you that to be white, or any other color, is not a mark of superiority, that to believe such, and then to act on that belief, creates abominations. It may be when the realization thundered home that to consider America or any other nation as favored by God, as somehow closer to God, is not only ridiculous but dangerous. It may be when the church of your childhood no longer felt wide enough to sustain and bless your quest, when you paid the price and moved on. Try, as you are remembering these partings, to remember the time when they occurred, not only the year and month but even the day. The goal in all this, remember, is to create your own holy days in the year's turning, your own anniversaries of spirit.
from "The Stupendous Journey"
Bill Moyers asked Joseph Campbell shortly before he died if he still believed we are at this moment participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit, and Campbell's response was "the greatest ever." And what gave him such confidence was to see in the Gaia principle that I mentioned--the sense of the whole planet as a living presence--the rise of a new mythology that can save us. And in that spellbinding picture of Earth as seen from the moon he sees the fitting symbol for this new mythology. Isn't it a hopeful dream to imagine the nation-states of the Earth trading in their flags for the flag of Gaia?
At last we have in the story science has labored for centuries to present to us a cosmic creation story accepted by people around the globe--not only of a common origin but of a common destiny. If the life-systems of our fragile jewel of a planet go, we all go. We can no longer afford a myopic arrogant humanism that pursues its own comforts at the expense of the larger life community. We can no longer afford an exploitive militaristic patriarchal value system. We can no longer afford millennial expectations of salvation from the Sky God if we're serious about healing Earth and all her children.