Magazine article Whole Earth

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

Magazine article Whole Earth

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

Article excerpt

"Ecology is a way to understand life in our time. It is a way to do theology. I don't mean it is a way for priests, rabbis, babas, or mullahs to split hairs. I mean it is a way to understand the workings of the Reality which for me as a Christian is Christ, and for you is Allah or Yahweh or Buddha or the Great Spirit of Tao.

"In every age, there is an image whose power is commanding. In the fourth century, Augustine made it possible for people to see God's work in the world by means of the image of the city.... In our time, the sciences -- particularly ecology -- give us a new language to experience communion with God. We can have a relationship to the divine that is as powerful and living as was Augustine's.... And we must. The planet will not long continue to tolerate the abuse to which we have subjected it.

We don't do theology, and then think about environment. Our theology is ecological and our ecology theological. If you continue the long divorce between nature and human nature, then you will regard this idea as flaky, if not downright heretical. If, on the other hand, you regard Creation and communion as the two fundamental facts of the universe, you will get the idea." -- Rev. James Parks Morton

If there are one place and one person that have nurtured the blending of faith-work and environmental concern, they are the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and the Very Rev. James Parks Morton, who served as Dean for twenty-four years. Into the Cathedral have come the homeless, renowned politicians, religious spokespeople, elephants and pets, scientists, shamans, great musicians and performers, as well as loving New Yorkers. Its sermons have forged a new liturgy of sacred ecology. Proclamations written there, especially the Joint Appeal by Religion and Science for the Environment, put power brokers in Moscow and Washington on notice that the fate of the planet must have a high priority. …

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