Monthly Archives: January 2014

On The (Human) Nature of Things

The photo at the top of this blog was taken in the exact same place as the picture on the cover of my forthcoming book, Chewing Sand; An Eco-Spiritual Taste of the Mojave Desert.

There is one difference: a human (me) is embedded above,
because this is a place where I have reflected on and written about the deep geologic Time
evidenced by Cambrian corals, Permian brachiopods, and Ice Age mammal remains.

Communing with these ancient cousins brings to my mind a question annoyingly posed by the spiritual director/seminary professor who was introducing the work of Father Thomas Berry and the new universe story to us twenty years ago at Starr King School for the Ministry:

“What are we two leggeds here for?”

That question haunts my book, as in this excerpt from The Great Unconformity:

Cresting the ridge reveals all of the Las Vegas Valley, lately become the haven for bad human behavior that seems hell-bent on trashing the planet, beginning right here.
Okay, not just here: in my mind’s eye I am hiking through conservation woodlands behind my brother’s house in New Hampshire; he bends down to pick up beer cans carelessly tossed by an off-roader, shakes his head in disgust, and says,
“The earth will shuck us off and start all over again, real soon!”
But being clergy, I protest: “No! Not yet, not yet.”
For while people disappoint, humanity must be here for a purpose even while it appears that human consciousness and conscience have been eroded away by the floodwaters of consumerist greed, in a whirlwind of public corruption.

Can we transform in time to save ourselves from the conditions we’ve created for our own extinction?
I hold onto hope as I straddle this Great Unconformity, a fragment of pink granite in one hand, in the other a slab of marine green shale, looking for a trilobite that’ll answer me.

Well, Milt presented me with a trilobite for Christmas, and there has been no ‘answer’ as yet.

But how could there be? It is only in the human species that ‘the what’ becomes ‘so what’ and ‘then what.’ If we extinguish ourselves through our ecocidal beliefs and behaviors, what will be lost is the evolutionary impulse of the cosmos to become conscious of itself through us.

The book that is about to be released (in April 2014) is my small attempt to keep that from happening.

I am also gathering together a group of thoughtful people to join me in this important work.

Here’s what I am planning:
once a month I’ll post an excerpt from on my book (no, you don’t need to have a copy of the book, though that would be nice), share the backstory of each piece, and invite you to interact with my insights and ideas, then add your own.

Together, may we/we may co-create a deeper wisdom and a wider vision.