Posted by: jblevins | June 2, 2008

Spiritual Renewal Leading to Physical Actions

Over the weekend at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Thomas Merton’s community) in Trappist, Kentucky, Catholic nuns and monks joined with Buddhist monks, sitting with each other to consider the ecological crisis going on in the world around them, and what they have to offer the situation. The headline in the The Courier-Journal read “Clergy: Environmental fixes a matter of faith, not technology” (click here to read the article).

“The manifestation of the problem may be technological, but the underlying causes and conditions are a spiritual malaise, and until that is addressed, the problem will not go away,” said Punnadhammo, Abbot of Arrow River Hermitage in Ontario, Canada. I certainly agree with that sentiment. It is why it is important for the church and people of faith to be involved in the solution to the problems facing God’s Creation. “People look to their faith communities for leadership,” said Sutera, from the abbey of Mt. St. Scholastica in Kansas. “We just have to get more motivated about preaching it in our schools, monasteries and neighborhoods. The first thing we do is set an example.”

However, it can’t end there. Thubten Semkye “said both religions have prayers and spiritual disciplines to help people pursue spiritual rather than material goals.” But equally key is that these spiritual disciplines bear out actions that reflect them in the world around us. Personally, it is important to have the spiritual discipline to turn from the materialistic nature of our society around us. The next step is to take that discipline and work to have it reflected. Click here for some great stories of churches doing just that. Finally, it is important that we see those values be reflected in the world around us, which often moves us to call on our political leaders to take action. Click here for a recent post and an opportunity to do that.

It is all about steps we take during the faith journey – the inner spiritual discipline, reflected in the world in which we live, and the Creation God called good. It is certainly true that technological solutions won’t solve the spiritual problem reflected in our treatment of Creation, but neither will spiritual discipline without being borne out into practical solutions.

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