THUR, DEC 2, 2021 | 7:30-9:00 pm MST
How does the coming of the Son of God into the world change our relationship with all living things?
GATHERING VIA ZOOM
Thanks to Jana Spangler for continuing to host us via Zoom. Below is some helpful info for being part of a Zoom convo. Also below is the Zoom link. This is an open group. You are welcome to invite and share with others. If you are not on my email list then either join at the bottom of this site’s home page or text or call me at 801-695-5036.
Pope Francis wrote, “how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” This congruence between love of God, creation, and neighbor is taught in every book of scripture and most perfectly typified in the pattern of Christ’s life. His birth among peasants, beasts, and Earth. His disdain for hierarchy and insistence on reconciliation. His interpretation of dominion as service and love. Most importantly, his demonstration that all life depends on death. In a world of nearly 8 billion neighbors, how can we apply Christ’s ecology today? In this conversation, we hope to ask, what can we do as a faith community to return to a place of obedience to Earthly laws? We will explore how the life and teachings of Jesus could heal our personal relationships, patterns of consumption and reciprocity, and the structure of our societies.
Perhaps more than any other choice we make, the relationship we cultivate with our earthly home affects our ability to keep the two great commandments: love of God and love of neighbor. We live in a time of unparalleled human dominion of the Earth’s great cycles and life—an epoch called the Anthropocene or time of humans. Though our relationship with the Earth is obscured by industrial supply chains and carefully controlled indoor lifestyles, our dependence on ecological community—relationship with creation—is more immediate and absolute than ever before. Indeed, our abuse of the environment is now the leading cause of human sickness and death—pollution accounts for 1 in 4 deaths every year, more than all communicable diseases, dietary disorders, and human violence combined.
Economic and ecological sciences typically assume that human nature is immutable. Christ’s Gospel of radical transformation—his invitation to abandon all our wealth and be released from the burdens of our careers—challenges this assumption. Jesus showed us that each individual, community, and ecosystem has unique and sacred attributes. No one and no place is dispensable. We must meet our temporal needs in ways that do not poison or exploit the Earth. What can we learn from Christ’s example and teachings about how to live in community with creation? How can we share this gospel in time to save our sisters and brothers across all the branches of the tree of life?
Ben is an environmental scientist at Brigham Young University who studies global ecology, climate change, and sustainability. His research, advocacy, and teaching are motivated by duty and love to humankind and all creation. He was trained as an ecosystem ecologist at Utah State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The focus of his research group has changed dramatically over the past ten years, from a study of pristine ecosystems to translational ecology and citizen science in urban and agricultural ecosystems. His team seeks to understand and encourage sustainability and reciprocity among all persons. Specifically, they are working on air pollution policy, renewable energy systems, ecosystem conservation, and environmental education. Depending on the place and people, this can range from optimizing water quality monitoring designs to seeking reconciliation with Indigenous peoples to stop the desecration and abuse of life, land, air, and water. Ben and his wife Rachel have four children who take after them in their love of animals, TV, and biking.
EXPLORE BEFORE WE MEET:
Robin Wall Kimmerer 2014, “Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass”.
Pope Francis 2015, “Laudato Si’—our care for our common home”.
Wendell Berry 2012, It all turns on affection.
Ben Abbott 2020, How close are we to the edge?
Joseph Smith 1834, Doctrine and Covenants 104
Isabella Errigo and others 2020, Human Health and Economic Costs of Air Pollution in Utah
VALUABLE BITS AND PIECES FROM OUR GATHERING:
Steven Peck recommended a listen to Forest Listening Rooms
(Thanks Steven, and Thanks Walter Yates for sending to me.)
PLEASE READ THESE ZOOM TIPS:
- Please mute your microphone before entering and when you are not speaking so noises are not heard by everyone else.
- Rather than have the whole group watch you try to get your camera or screen positioned, or play with funky green screen backgrounds, feel free to get that figured out prior to when we meet.
- Resist the urge to multitask—be with us fully if at all possible. But we’ll be grateful for whatever presence you are able to offer. Just knowing you are there is nice.
- If you are going to multitask, or wander around a lot, please turn off your video and make sure you are muted. No one wants to be distracted by you eating or using the loo.
- If you are having difficulty with the technology, don’t hold up the meeting by distracting other participants for solutions. Try Googling your problem. I do that with most of life’s problems.
- Speaking of distractions—just as when we used to meet in person in the good old days, let’s be cautious about using the chat for side conversations that may distract others. You can always ask for people’s contact info and continue your conversation—I’d love that to happen. Or, let me know, and I’ll do my darndest to give you a chance to share to the group.
- Please share air time and follow the guidelines under “Intentions” on this website.
To enter the Zoom conversation:
- Click on the Zoom link above.
- The link Zoom should open, and you should be able to see and hear other participants. Or wait until the host opens the meeting. Please make sure that you muted and that your video is on if you choose to have it on. (Love to see and hear you live, but we’ll take curious lurkers also.)
- If you can’t hear the host, me, or others, find your settings and make sure you have a working microphone and speaker selected. Also, make sure you have your volume up.