Comments on: Sacred Nature? http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Sat, 14 Nov 2009 22:10:07 -0700 #?v=2.8.4 hourly 1 By: Joseph http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26656 Joseph Tue, 10 Nov 2009 19:54:51 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26656 Sssooo much misunderstanding could be avoided if we make a distinction between *nature* - the biosphere - with a small "n", and Nature - the entire multidimensional Cosmos - with a large "N". What we have in fact lost touch with - and which is the source of human problems - is direct experience - not faith in something intangible! - of the Absolute as simultaneously the transcendental source of all and the Absolute immanently manifesting as the multidimensional Cosmos. The idea that the human being can spiritually evolve light-years beyond conventional ego-identity - and thus answer ALL the great questions about existence via direct Realization - is NOT a *new age* idea, but is in fact the age-old testimony from all the esoteric spiritual traditions. And all of our problems on this planet stem from the fact that we refuse to acknowledge this openly. In fact, talking about this is THE greatest taboo around. The idea that humanity was heading for catastrophe if we did not spiritually evolve has been "in the air" and fairly well known in esoteric spiritual circles in the West for at least 50 years. Our destruction of the biosphere is caused by our aberrated condition, by the fact that we seek ego-fulfillment instead of ego-transcendence because we have forgotten that the purpose of existence is spiritual Realization, not satisfying the human ego. If spiritual Realization were the foundation of civilization - as it should be - we would not be in the position we are in today. Seeking some kind of absolute fulfillment or happiness on earth via wealth and offspring and ego-fulfilling experiences is at the root of all of our problems, a truth, no matter how "inconvenient" the human ego finds it. "nature" - with a small "n", is but one teeny tiny slice of the spectrum of phenomenal reality, and the fact that we are almost completely unconscious of the full spectrum of reality is at the root of all of our problems. And Sharon, tikkun olam and similar ideas in other traditions, has to do with the restoration of the entire cosmos. In other words, the fallen condition of the cosmos occured in the cosmogonic process long before humanity even existed, and thus the solution is spiritual regeneration and anamnesia, remembering who we really are and acting as instruments of the Divine in the restoration process, but this process goes way beyond "nature" - the biosphere - with a small "n." In this sense, the problems we are struggling with on the material plane - such as ecological exploitation - are byproducts of an aberration that occurred in the cosmogonic process on much higher levels, and if we do not become aware of these levels and work from there, we will not be able to understand what is happening. (excerpt from a longer essay) Regards, Joseph Sssooo much misunderstanding could be avoided if we make a distinction between *nature* – the biosphere – with a small “n”, and Nature – the entire multidimensional Cosmos – with a large “N”.

What we have in fact lost touch with – and which is the source of human problems – is direct experience – not faith in something intangible! – of the Absolute as simultaneously the transcendental source of all and the Absolute immanently manifesting as the multidimensional Cosmos.

The idea that the human being can spiritually evolve light-years beyond conventional ego-identity – and thus answer ALL the great questions about existence via direct Realization – is NOT a *new age* idea, but is in fact the age-old testimony from all the esoteric spiritual traditions. And all of our problems on this planet stem from the fact that we refuse to acknowledge this openly. In fact, talking about this is THE greatest taboo around.

The idea that humanity was heading for catastrophe if we did not spiritually evolve has been “in the air” and fairly well known in esoteric spiritual circles in the West for at least 50 years. Our destruction of the biosphere is caused by our aberrated condition, by the fact that we seek ego-fulfillment instead of ego-transcendence because we have forgotten that the purpose of existence is spiritual Realization, not satisfying the human ego.

If spiritual Realization were the foundation of civilization – as it should be – we would not be in the position we are in today. Seeking some kind of absolute fulfillment or happiness on earth via wealth and offspring and ego-fulfilling experiences is at the root of all of our problems, a truth, no matter how “inconvenient” the human ego finds it.

“nature” – with a small “n”, is but one teeny tiny slice of the spectrum of phenomenal reality, and the fact that we are almost completely unconscious of the full spectrum of reality is at the root of all of our problems.

And Sharon, tikkun olam and similar ideas in other traditions, has to do with the restoration of the entire cosmos. In other words, the fallen condition of the cosmos occured in the cosmogonic process long before humanity even existed, and thus the solution is spiritual regeneration and anamnesia, remembering who we really are and acting as instruments of the Divine in the restoration process, but this process goes way beyond “nature” – the biosphere – with a small “n.”

In this sense, the problems we are struggling with on the material plane – such as ecological exploitation – are byproducts of an aberration that occurred in the cosmogonic process on much higher levels, and if we do not become aware of these levels and work from there, we will not be able to understand what is happening. (excerpt from a longer essay) Regards, Joseph

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By: Deb http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26645 Deb Tue, 10 Nov 2009 16:37:30 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26645 Personally, I find God when I see the sunlight in the morning, when the yeast in the bread makes is rise, when a flock of migrating indigo buntings spend a day at my feeder, when I go to the store and the cashier asks me how my husband is doing knowing he's had the flu, when I taught my "dyslexic" daughter how to read, when my car starts in the dead of winter, when I look at my son and see the image of his father, when I look at my daughter and see the image of my father, when the tomato I've been watching for a month is sliced and eaten.........God is all around us. You just have to wake up and pay attention. I think that's the problem....we as a society arent awake to what is going on around us because we live too much inside our intellect. We stop seeing. Personally, I find God when I see the sunlight in the morning, when the yeast in the bread makes is rise, when a flock of migrating indigo buntings spend a day at my feeder, when I go to the store and the cashier asks me how my husband is doing knowing he’s had the flu, when I taught my “dyslexic” daughter how to read, when my car starts in the dead of winter, when I look at my son and see the image of his father, when I look at my daughter and see the image of my father, when the tomato I’ve been watching for a month is sliced and eaten………God is all around us. You just have to wake up and pay attention. I think that’s the problem….we as a society arent awake to what is going on around us because we live too much inside our intellect. We stop seeing.

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By: Mark N http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26642 Mark N Tue, 10 Nov 2009 15:54:20 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26642 "(Judaism doesn’t really answer the question of what happens after you die – or perhaps it answers it a dozen different ways)." I happen to like some of the beliefs of one of the ancient sects of Judaism, the Sadducees. If I am not mistaken, they believed in the here and now. They did not believe in an afterlife, heaven, hell. So, if they believed in G_d, it must have been for reasons other than eternal reward or punishment. OK, somewhat off topic perhaps, but I think these guys were on to something. “(Judaism doesn’t really answer the question of what happens after you die – or perhaps it answers it a dozen different ways).”

I happen to like some of the beliefs of one of the ancient sects of Judaism, the Sadducees. If I am not mistaken, they believed in the here and now. They did not believe in an afterlife, heaven, hell. So, if they believed in G_d, it must have been for reasons other than eternal reward or punishment.

OK, somewhat off topic perhaps, but I think these guys were on to something.

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By: Lisa Z http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26637 Lisa Z Tue, 10 Nov 2009 14:47:26 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26637 "Where is reverence, when we gather wheat, and potatoes, and Pecans – and then store it in such a manner that the squirrels and the mice of the field can’t get at it? When we build ourselves a house, should we build in such a way as to encourage mice to dwell with us, should we keep a cat to prey on mice where we deem them unwanted? Should we set traps for mice and rats to protect our family, our shelter, our food? I don’t mean this in a snide way." ~quote from Brad K. @Brad, your words remind me of Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew: "Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they? "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith? "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient." Matthew 6:25-34 I think this also tells us not to worry or even think much about the afterlife! Such focus, in the extreme or even moderately extreme, seems to me just an excuse to not focus on the here and now and the work to be done. However, it is also a comfort that when we fail, as we usually do, to live up to our own or others' standards, forgiveness and mercy will prevail. “Where is reverence, when we gather wheat, and potatoes, and Pecans – and then store it in such a manner that the squirrels and the mice of the field can’t get at it? When we build ourselves a house, should we build in such a way as to encourage mice to dwell with us, should we keep a cat to prey on mice where we deem them unwanted? Should we set traps for mice and rats to protect our family, our shelter, our food? I don’t mean this in a snide way.”

~quote from Brad K.

@Brad, your words remind me of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
“Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
“Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.”

Matthew 6:25-34

I think this also tells us not to worry or even think much about the afterlife! Such focus, in the extreme or even moderately extreme, seems to me just an excuse to not focus on the here and now and the work to be done. However, it is also a comfort that when we fail, as we usually do, to live up to our own or others’ standards, forgiveness and mercy will prevail.

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By: Grant Canterbury http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26636 Grant Canterbury Tue, 10 Nov 2009 14:45:26 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26636 In this connection I would recommend looking at a couple of Gary Snyder's excellent essays: "Good, Wild, Sacred" and "The Etiquette of Freedom". In discussing Shinto in Japan: "...Long before the rise of any state, the islands of Japan were studded with little shrines --jinja and omiya -- that were part of neolithic village culture. Even in the midst of the onrushing industrial energy of the current system, shrine lands remain untouchable. It would make your hair stand up to see how a Japanese developer will take bulldozers to a nice stand of old pines and level it for a new town. When the New Island was created in Kobe harbor... it was raised from the bay bottom with dirt obtained by shaving down a whole range of hills ten miles south of the city. This was barged to the site for twelve years - a steady stream of barges carrying dirt off giant conveyer belts that totally removed soil two rows of hills back from the coast. The newly leveled area became a housing development. In industrial Japan it's not that 'nothing is sacred', it's that the _sacred_ is sacred and that's _all_ that is sacred. "We are grateful for these microscopic traces of salvaged land in Japan because the rule in shrines is that (away from the buildings and paths) you never cut anything, never maintain anything, never clear or thin anything. No hunting, no fishing, no thinning, no burning, no stopping of burning: leaving us a very few stands of ancient forests right inside the cities. One can walk into a little jinja and be in the presence of an 800-year-old Cryptomeria (sugi) tree. Without the shrines we wouldn't know so well what the original Japanese forest might have been. But such compartmentalization is not healthy: in this patriarchal model some land is saved, like a virgin priestess; some is overworked endlessly, like a wife; and some is brutally publicly reshaped, like an exuberant girl declared promiscuous and punished. Good, wild, and sacred couldn't be further apart." In this connection I would recommend looking at a couple of Gary Snyder’s excellent essays: “Good, Wild, Sacred” and “The Etiquette of Freedom”. In discussing Shinto in Japan:
“…Long before the rise of any state, the islands of Japan were studded with little shrines –jinja and omiya — that were part of neolithic village culture. Even in the midst of the onrushing industrial energy of the current system, shrine lands remain untouchable. It would make your hair stand up to see how a Japanese developer will take bulldozers to a nice stand of old pines and level it for a new town. When the New Island was created in Kobe harbor… it was raised from the bay bottom with dirt obtained by shaving down a whole range of hills ten miles south of the city. This was barged to the site for twelve years – a steady stream of barges carrying dirt off giant conveyer belts that totally removed soil two rows of hills back from the coast. The newly leveled area became a housing development. In industrial Japan it’s not that ‘nothing is sacred’, it’s that the _sacred_ is sacred and that’s _all_ that is sacred.
“We are grateful for these microscopic traces of salvaged land in Japan because the rule in shrines is that (away from the buildings and paths) you never cut anything, never maintain anything, never clear or thin anything. No hunting, no fishing, no thinning, no burning, no stopping of burning: leaving us a very few stands of ancient forests right inside the cities. One can walk into a little jinja and be in the presence of an 800-year-old Cryptomeria (sugi) tree. Without the shrines we wouldn’t know so well what the original Japanese forest might have been. But such compartmentalization is not healthy: in this patriarchal model some land is saved, like a virgin priestess; some is overworked endlessly, like a wife; and some is brutally publicly reshaped, like an exuberant girl declared promiscuous and punished. Good, wild, and sacred couldn’t be further apart.”

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By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26635 Sharon Tue, 10 Nov 2009 14:39:36 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26635 You know, I give my fellow Jews a good bit of a hard time about both Zionism and treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza. I'm neither a Zionist nor do I particularly defend Israel's action. I have no idea what Rabbi Hammer's position on either subject is - she was teaching Midrash, not modern politics. The language of "murdering Zionists" and the assumption that all Jews at all moments are equally complicit with the acts of the Israeli government suggest to me, however, that I'm not dealing with someone who wants to make a case for a relevant and particular analysis of Israeli acts, but someone who simply wants to incite hostility against Jews. I won't put up with that on my blog - so if you wish to discuss this or any related subject, moderate your language to the appropriate, or be banned. You are entitled to your opinion. I, however, am entitled not to have anti-semitic ravings on my website. Sharon You know, I give my fellow Jews a good bit of a hard time about both Zionism and treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza. I’m neither a Zionist nor do I particularly defend Israel’s action. I have no idea what Rabbi Hammer’s position on either subject is – she was teaching Midrash, not modern politics.

The language of “murdering Zionists” and the assumption that all Jews at all moments are equally complicit with the acts of the Israeli government suggest to me, however, that I’m not dealing with someone who wants to make a case for a relevant and particular analysis of Israeli acts, but someone who simply wants to incite hostility against Jews. I won’t put up with that on my blog – so if you wish to discuss this or any related subject, moderate your language to the appropriate, or be banned. You are entitled to your opinion. I, however, am entitled not to have anti-semitic ravings on my website.

Sharon

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By: gerald spezio http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26634 gerald spezio Tue, 10 Nov 2009 13:45:10 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26634 Did the wise Rabbi mention the monstrous carnage of Gaza by the cultured Zionist Israelis? Those cavalier murdering Zionists have such a sure sense of their own "sacredness" that they can murder defenseless women & children with complete impunity. Did the wise Rabbi mention the monstrous carnage of Gaza by the cultured Zionist Israelis?

Those cavalier murdering Zionists have such a sure sense of their own “sacredness” that they can murder defenseless women & children with complete impunity.

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By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26633 Sharon Tue, 10 Nov 2009 12:38:36 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26633 Mark, I don't think I agree with you. I don't come from one of those faiths, personally (Judaism doesn't really answer the question of what happens after you die - or perhaps it answers it a dozen different ways), but I think it is a matter of perspective. It is possible to believe that after death, you go to a positive experience and still think that you should attend well to the one you are having here. I think extreme focus on the afterlife, however, does perhaps make things harder. Sharon Mark, I don’t think I agree with you. I don’t come from one of those faiths, personally (Judaism doesn’t really answer the question of what happens after you die – or perhaps it answers it a dozen different ways), but I think it is a matter of perspective. It is possible to believe that after death, you go to a positive experience and still think that you should attend well to the one you are having here. I think extreme focus on the afterlife, however, does perhaps make things harder.

Sharon

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By: Brad K. http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26632 Brad K. Tue, 10 Nov 2009 08:09:41 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26632 Sharon, A couple of responses. I wonder whether Christianity, at least that derived from Roman Catholicism and the Reformation, didn't begin to rediscover the sacredness of nature with the Anabaptists, and those faiths derived from them, the Mennonites and the Amish. In between the founding of Christianity in the West, and the time of the Anabaptists, my recollection is that nature received short shrift; in fact much of the history of the early church was very venal. While many recall that the stories of Robin Hood pitted outlaw against Sheriff of Nottingham, recall that the church was often the target as hoarding wealth and embracing mainly wealthy city-dwellers. It was often the church, and high officials, that drove the Sheriff and hated losing power and money. I grew up on a hog farm in Iowa. Dad raised pastured hogs, and did fairly well. I recall a needlpoint piece hanging on the Kitchen wall for several years, "Who plants a seed and waits, believes in God." (This is what I recall, some 30 years later.) Tonight I googled that phrase. I found a GardenWeb.com forum post on favorite garden quotes. "Who plants a seed beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God" -- Author unknown http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/peren/msg0510521922298.html Then there is a passage on Archive.org, apparently from a Los Angeles collection, scanned and not proofread (there are several convert-scan-to-text errors). http://www.archive.org/stream/whatcanmanbeliev00zieliala/whatcanmanbeliev00zieliala_djvu.txt BY RABBI MARTIN ZIELONKA Based on the Book, "What Can a Man Believe," by Bruce Barton. . "There is no unbelief . Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod . . And waits to see it push away the clod . . He trusts in God." Actually, I think I like Rabbi Zielonka's criticism on Bruce Barton's defense of Christianity better than I might appreciate the chosen slant of Barton's book. Thanks for the glancing reference that recalled that memory, and that phrase, to my mind. Where is reverence, when we gather wheat, and potatoes, and Pecans - and then store it in such a manner that the squirrels and the mice of the field can't get at it? When we build ourselves a house, should we build in such a way as to encourage mice to dwell with us, should we keep a cat to prey on mice where we deem them unwanted? Should we set traps for mice and rats to protect our family, our shelter, our food? I don't mean this in a snide way. When we change the nature of that patch of grass that would be covering the land we occupy, or the trees or whatever natural balance would have placed there at various times, if not for the presence and interference of man, we change the ecology of the animals living there as well. I had a neighbor, now deceased, that refused to fertilize with liquid ammonia fertilizer - a common agribusiness farming practice - because it kills the earth worms in the field. Joe's objection was pragmatic; he thought the earth worm had an important role in field fertility. When we bale the hay, or otherwise harvest the crop, we interfere with the birds, bugs, and other life that would have subsisted on those acres or thousands of acres. My own feeling is that having raised the crop, gathered the harvest, we are then bound to protect that harvest from depredation by vermin, by fungus, mold, and other neglect. Anything else yields less from our labor - and wastes the way we denied that resource to the other life it might have sustained. Similarly with other constructions, like home and barn. Once built, the resources that were consumed in the materials and the construction should be preserved, to the extent that preserving doesn't waste other resources inordinately. I set my mouse traps not because the mice don't deserve to live, but to preserve what has already been done. I do my part to block up access to the house, to better preserve and also to place fewer mice at risk. (And I don't want to think of my house as "Mouse Bait".) Is there a fundamental difference between a squirrel eating acorns, between a deer grazing grass, and my razing and planting a garden? Each consumes resources, diverts something from a "natural" course. Should I lament choosing an area of ground and building a house or barn, a garage, a field - or a game preserve (what the neighbors call my back yard where I seldom mow; I like watching the grass grow). A video I watched of a TED speech by architect William McDonough mentions his book _Cradle to Cradle_ is written on polymer. He describes the majesty of the tree, and asks if he should knock it down and write on it. The video was very compelling. www.ted.com (slash) talks (slash) william_mcdonough_on_cradle_to_cradle_design.html Me? I care for my books, I seldom buy one I don't intend to read and re-read, often many times. I tend to donate or gift the books I discover I don't like. Sharon, I guess I have talked myself into feeling that reverence for nature must spill over into frugality with natural and worked resources, and husbandry of nature and humankind's works, as well as the eco-system as affected by humans and eco-systems unaffected, largely, by humans. Of course, the flip side might be that the vagaries of nature are concomitant with the divine gift of free will to humankind. That is, the mountain top, the waterfall, the glories of the sunset are no more sacred or providential than the comment box on a blog, at 2 AM. All deserve, when noticed, due reverence, respect, and meditation on meaning. Each can lead to a broadening and brightening of the spirit and the soul, and (re)connection to the divine. Now, the mouse trap, that might be troubling, but then so would be sweeping out a spider web, washing germs from the hands, etc. Sharon,

A couple of responses.

I wonder whether Christianity, at least that derived from Roman Catholicism and the Reformation, didn’t begin to rediscover the sacredness of nature with the Anabaptists, and those faiths derived from them, the Mennonites and the Amish. In between the founding of Christianity in the West, and the time of the Anabaptists, my recollection is that nature received short shrift; in fact much of the history of the early church was very venal. While many recall that the stories of Robin Hood pitted outlaw against Sheriff of Nottingham, recall that the church was often the target as hoarding wealth and embracing mainly wealthy city-dwellers. It was often the church, and high officials, that drove the Sheriff and hated losing power and money.

I grew up on a hog farm in Iowa. Dad raised pastured hogs, and did fairly well. I recall a needlpoint piece hanging on the Kitchen wall for several years, “Who plants a seed and waits, believes in God.” (This is what I recall, some 30 years later.)

Tonight I googled that phrase. I found a GardenWeb.com forum post on favorite garden quotes.
“Who plants a seed beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God” — Author unknown
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/peren/msg0510521922298.html

Then there is a passage on Archive.org, apparently from a Los Angeles collection,
scanned and not proofread (there are several convert-scan-to-text errors).
http://www.archive.org/stream/whatcanmanbeliev00zieliala/whatcanmanbeliev00zieliala_djvu.txt
BY RABBI MARTIN ZIELONKA
Based on the Book, “What Can a Man Believe,” by Bruce Barton.
. “There is no unbelief
. Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
.
. And waits to see it push away the clod
.
. He trusts in God.”

Actually, I think I like Rabbi Zielonka’s criticism on Bruce Barton’s defense of Christianity better than I might appreciate the chosen slant of Barton’s book.

Thanks for the glancing reference that recalled that memory, and that phrase, to my mind.

Where is reverence, when we gather wheat, and potatoes, and Pecans – and then store it in such a manner that the squirrels and the mice of the field can’t get at it? When we build ourselves a house, should we build in such a way as to encourage mice to dwell with us, should we keep a cat to prey on mice where we deem them unwanted? Should we set traps for mice and rats to protect our family, our shelter, our food? I don’t mean this in a snide way.

When we change the nature of that patch of grass that would be covering the land we occupy, or the trees or whatever natural balance would have placed there at various times, if not for the presence and interference of man, we change the ecology of the animals living there as well. I had a neighbor, now deceased, that refused to fertilize with liquid ammonia fertilizer – a common agribusiness farming practice – because it kills the earth worms in the field. Joe’s objection was pragmatic; he thought the earth worm had an important role in field fertility.

When we bale the hay, or otherwise harvest the crop, we interfere with the birds, bugs, and other life that would have subsisted on those acres or thousands of acres.

My own feeling is that having raised the crop, gathered the harvest, we are then bound to protect that harvest from depredation by vermin, by fungus, mold, and other neglect. Anything else yields less from our labor – and wastes the way we denied that resource to the other life it might have sustained. Similarly with other constructions, like home and barn. Once built, the resources that were consumed in the materials and the construction should be preserved, to the extent that preserving doesn’t waste other resources inordinately. I set my mouse traps not because the mice don’t deserve to live, but to preserve what has already been done. I do my part to block up access to the house, to better preserve and also to place fewer mice at risk. (And I don’t want to think of my house as “Mouse Bait”.)

Is there a fundamental difference between a squirrel eating acorns, between a deer grazing grass, and my razing and planting a garden? Each consumes resources, diverts something from a “natural” course. Should I lament choosing an area of ground and building a house or barn, a garage, a field – or a game preserve (what the neighbors call my back yard where I seldom mow; I like watching the grass grow).

A video I watched of a TED speech by architect William McDonough mentions his book _Cradle to Cradle_ is written on polymer. He describes the majesty of the tree, and asks if he should knock it down and write on it. The video was very compelling. http://www.ted.com (slash) talks (slash) william_mcdonough_on_cradle_to_cradle_design.html Me? I care for my books, I seldom buy one I don’t intend to read and re-read, often many times. I tend to donate or gift the books I discover I don’t like.

Sharon, I guess I have talked myself into feeling that reverence for nature must spill over into frugality with natural and worked resources, and husbandry of nature and humankind’s works, as well as the eco-system as affected by humans and eco-systems unaffected, largely, by humans.

Of course, the flip side might be that the vagaries of nature are concomitant with the divine gift of free will to humankind. That is, the mountain top, the waterfall, the glories of the sunset are no more sacred or providential than the comment box on a blog, at 2 AM. All deserve, when noticed, due reverence, respect, and meditation on meaning. Each can lead to a broadening and brightening of the spirit and the soul, and (re)connection to the divine. Now, the mouse trap, that might be troubling, but then so would be sweeping out a spider web, washing germs from the hands, etc.

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By: Susan http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/09/sacred-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-26629 Susan Tue, 10 Nov 2009 04:02:31 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1439#comment-26629 that's ludicrous. Sorry. dyslexia strikes again.... that’s ludicrous. Sorry. dyslexia strikes again….

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