Sacred Ground

Dear Friends,

It was almost eight years ago, on the morning of June 22, 2008 that I woke up wondering,

“What is sacred in our world? What does ‘sacred’ mean? How do we even have public conversations about sacredness?”

I carried these questions with me when I started attending church a couple of months later, when I went to divinity school, when I was ordained, and when I formed Church of the Woods. They remain central to Kairos Earth, now.

I believe all life is sacred, and that we are meant to wrestle with the paradox that we must take life in order to live. The way through the paradox is to recognize that we have to treat the taking of life — the feeding upon life, for there is no other way to live — as itself a sacred act.

The alternative to this awareness of omnipresent sacredness is to treat the taking of life as a bloodless transaction, one with no moral consequence. Or to be sidetracked by questions about whether one form of life feels more than another the pain of being killed and is, therefore, more suited to be killed.

This month, we are launching a new program — the Common Ground Initiative —dedicated to exploring these questions and their relevance for conservation. What does it mean to destroy, or to protect, a natural landscape if the life it holds is sacred? What happens to the business of conservation when we lose the ability to speak of land and its living inhabitants as sacred?

When God told Noah to pack up All Creation — two of everything — he meant it! Can we speak about the diversity of all life as sacred?

How do we become more aware of the ways in which we take life? How do we wrestle with the paradox of taking life in order to live? Is there any way out of our ecological dilemmas without recovering an understanding of sacredness?

These questions will become a central focus of the EarthTime newsletter over the coming months, and we hope you will participate. How do you experience the sacred? Is the Earth and Nature an expression of that? Can you share an experience? Please join the conversation!

And since it is the season, if you are near enough, please join us for all or part of our observance of Holy Week and Easter at Church of the Woods — see below for details.

I look forward to being in touch, and thank you,

Steve

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