The biblical affirmation, “it was good…” is surely the most widely known, enduring and influential statement in western culture of the inherent goodness of the world. In this simple statement, repeated over and over at the beginning of the book of Genesis, the Judaeo-Christian tradition affirms the goodness of the Earth and of all life. The text proclaims the entire cosmos – Earth, heavens, and the diversity of life – as filled with the divine breath: bearer of sacred reality, inherently worthy of reverence and awe, and a well-spring of joy, delight, and wonder.
Kairos Earth seeks to renew a widespread understanding of the natural world as a bearer of the sacred and to restore this awareness as a foundation of both religious practice and practical action to conserve the Earth. Starting from a small core, we are building a widespread movement of people who live our belief that Nature is an expression of the sacred and that living and acting accordingly is essential to the well-being of individuals, society, and the world. Specifically, we seek to:
- Renew Christian practice of connecting with the Earth. We seek to use and adapt traditional structures of Christianity – prayer, church, religious community, education, and service – to reflect that spiritual connections with Nature that are central to human life.
- Deepen conservation by restoring its understanding of the Earth as holy ground. We seek to deepen the environmental understanding that the Earth is replete with sacred identity, inherently worthy of love and care, and not merely raw material for human use.
- Open people to be transformed so the Earth may be renewed. We seek to open people to inward transformation, believing that internal change in people is fundamental to renewal of the world, including conserving Nature. Without an inward change in people, no amount of politics, technology, science, economics and conservation, however necessary, will ever be enough.
The understanding of Nature and the sacred as inseparable is common to all the world’s great religious traditions, but from most current practice of religion and of environmental conservation in America, one might never know it. Christianity here has largely turned its back upon Nature as a source of abundant joy and wonder filled with spiritual guidance, insight, and inspiration. At the same time, the environmental movement has largely forgotten how to speak of Nature as holy, putting its faith instead in languages of economics, technology, and politics – vernaculars in which fear and anger often replace joy, relative value drives out absolute goodness, despair replaces hope, and which inspire fear, distrust, and discontent – inward movements that lead to devastation rather than renewal.
This segregation, which has developed only in the modern era, has left religion sundered from Nature. It has contributed to the distortion and abandonment of religious practice for untold numbers of people, separating them from experiencing, speaking of, and caring for the world as filled with divine presence. It has left conservation without its most basic rationale – that Nature is sacred and therefore inherently worthy of reverence. And it has fueled human destruction of the Earth in epic (one is tempted to say, biblical) proportion.
Strategy & Method:
Kairos Earth’s strategy is to teach ways of being “religious” that are grounded in love of and connection to the Earth – recognizing that the world is indeed, in the words of poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, “charged with the grandeur of God.” Through this, we build bridges between the worlds of religion and conservation – worlds separated too long.
The great ecologist Aldo Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac, “No important change in ethics was ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections, and convictions. The proof that conservation has not yet touched these foundations of conduct lies in the fact that philosophy and religion have not yet heard of it. In our attempt to make conservation easy, we have made it trivial.” Kairos Earth seeks to change this.
Our core methods are ancient: teaching and building community around shared practices and beliefs in a time of great need. Grounded in the Christian and conservation traditions, we embrace learning and insights from science, contemplation, and many faiths. To teach and support a religious sensibility rooted in Nature, we are adapting three traditional structures – church, community, and education – as means to invite and open people to inward transformation. Both spirituality and science – and the greater truth they reveal – provide a foundation that can lead people to act on behalf of the Earth and to live fuller and richer lives in service to a truth greater than merely human truth.
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning “time” in the sense of IT IS TIME, or, the time has come. Kairos is about EARTH – the home (so far as we know) of all life in the universe, much of which has been tragically diminished by human beings; about PEOPLE – who are both the cause and possible cure of these harms; and about cultivating and inspiring positive TRANSFORMATION so that all people may live in greater harmony with Earth and with each other.
We welcome people of all faiths, and of no faith or tradition, who are drawn by the idea that God – by whatever name, faith, and form – is essential to transforming us and the world.
This site is a place for everyone who believes that conserving Earth and helping her people is much too important to leave only to “the environmentalists.”
The environmental movement has forgotten that it grows, at its roots, from a religious impulse. We must recover that religious impulse to be able to live in harmony with Earth and each other. Kairos Earth will explore how this recovery might happen. Of course we need better science, technology, economics, and so on, to respond to climate change and other human-fueled harms. But alone, these technocratic tools are insufficient. We need also to transform our fundamental way of being — to be rooted in awestruck wonder and reverence, in gratitude for all we are given, in comprehension of our own puniness and failings, and in recognition of our ultimate dependence on the Source from which all flows.