During our Creation Care message response, we headed out to our garden site to plant an avocado seed that we have nurtured since Easter. This act signifies our community's commitment to the earth as provider and our responsibility to care for it.
From Seed to Table
In confronting global climate change, it will be necessary to cultivate new means of faithful living. As living often hinges upon believing, living will require the transformation of our faith traditions, spirituality, and theology. From this, a new story can be told, one that leads to a new way of living; earth-bound, simple, and sustainable. This new way of faithful living is cultivated out of humanity’s psychic and spiritual legacy.
In fact, a deep commitment is what is necessary if humanity is to cause a shift that will allow us to live differently in the face of our present ecological reality. This commitment must be to the teaching of a new eco-ethic, the cultivation of a new means of faithful living, and the propagation of an eco-communitarianism that will challenge us to live locally, communally, and sustainably. The notion of ‘locally’ suggests that we begin to see the answers to global climate change existing in our own backyards; literally. Urban farming is but one necessary solution to achieving independent living from empire-driven production and consumption.
In regards to community, we must begin to explore our commitment to local neighborhoods. Our community begins here. The process of education and cultivation may begin in my backyard, but must extend to my immediate community; my neighbors. The paradigm shift begins at home, in my own example of faithful living, but from there, must be propagated from neighbor to neighbor, producing urban homesteads slowly over time. As our local commitment to community strengthens, neighborhoods begins to see their own liberation as a shift from empire-bound living to communal and sustainable living.
Sustainability, then, is the goal of one’s commitment to community. Neighbors begin to educate themselves and each other, seeking to cultivate a new faith in humanity and the earth. From this commitment a new spirit is born among the community, and a new commitment to liberating the whole from the grasp of empire. The community cultivates a new way of living that is liberative, transformative, and sustainable. This, then, becomes a model to be propagated from neighborhood to neighborhood, sprouting new communities that are interconnected yet possessing their own independent ability to sustain themselves in unique ways.
Perhaps most fundamental to this new way of living is a return to the use of small scale agriculture. If empire-thinking (bigger is better) has gotten us to this point, then a return to small-scale, simple living presents a fundamental direction that is imperative. Eco-communitarianism suggests the development of small-scale communities that have learned to live as one, farm as one, and share resources as one. I suggest we see this, not as a shift backwards, but rather a shift towards sustainable living. This will require a dramatic change, a new way of living that frankly, many will not take easily too. Farming is hard, labor intensive work. Most, whose lives have grown comfortable with empire-living, will find the shift a painful experience. However, the benefits are enormous and far exceed merely the provision of produce.
If the Church is to remain a meaningful and relevant fixture within our community, it may be important for the Church to redirect its mission to align with the significance of global climate change. Locally, churches should become instrumental leaders in a shift towards faithful, sustainable living. The Church must become a ‘Center of Sustainability’ to its local community, providing a central location for eco-education, spiritual ecology, and sustainable practices. Neighbors loosely connected to this ‘Center of Sustainability’ work in eco-communitarian fashion to ensure a collective liberation from the collapsing empire.