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A Request for Testimony

Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2006 at 05:00PM by Registered CommenterMarshall Massey in , , | Comments9 Comments

ew cameo.jpgAs a follow-up to yesterday’s posting —

Dear readers all, please share with me what you hear and feel the inward Guide saying about environmental matters in your own hearts and consciences.

You can use the form below to post what you’re hearing/feeling in the form of a comment. (It can be either short or long, as you feel appropriate. It doesn’t have to be eloquent.)

If you don’t want your words to appear here on this site, e-mail me what you’re hearing/feeling the Guide telling you, using the e-mail link just above my photo on the navigation bar at left.

One way or another, I’d love to hear from every one of you. I’m not kidding. Every one of you. I’m not demanding, friends, I’m just asking, but I’m asking with all my heart!

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Reader Comments (9)


Another 2 cents, (I guess by now it should be $2). I hope Friends will consider living in near proximity to each other as the next few years roll by. There is a chance that by doing so small communities will be models of living appropriately in the face of the difficulties of which we are only seeing the introductory wisps. Such communities could also be resources to the larger community through education, health care, counseling and so on.

On our woodland property in New England, we hope to find another family or 2 to share the land with us as a nucleus of such a community. Probably shouldn't be an 'intentional community" but rather a case of living in community intentionally. Models exist among the Mennonites and Amish.

After a major tornado in Tennessee, the Mennonite community, the members of which carry no insurance on priniciple, had their house rebuilt and were helping their neighbors vefore FEMA could begin working there. Hmmm.

"The whole creation groans for salvation"

Peace to all

Nov 27, 2006 at 08:00AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Campbell
Dear Don, we have a long-time attender of our Omaha Friends community who has been agitating long and persistently for this very thing -- the members and regular attenders of our meeting living close together in some sort of "eco-village". I will pass your words on to him!
Dec 1, 2006 at 06:51AM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey
I know a number of people in my monthly and yearly meeting who are talking about how to live more communally in order to conserve resources and care for one another more fully. The Sierra Friends Center, http://www.woolman.org is one locus of activity.

The environmental issue that weighs on me is about water. One of the questions that I ponder is how would I treat the water I use if I had to walk outside to get it? (I'm sure it would be different still if I had to walk further, but this is the small piece I am wrestling with.) How can I reduce and reuse the water I take out of the tap? Am I conscious of the gift and privilege that clean water is? I have lived (for short periods) where indoor drinking water was not the everyday item it is here. I am so grateful for the luxury of hot running water.

Of course, this is also connected to much larger issues of transporting and selling water, and I understand that some analysts believe that wars will be fought in this century over access to water - I couldn't tell you who, I've just read this somewhere. Already, this is an issue in my city and state politics (SF, CA) and I believe it is also a bigger, global issue.

But it will have both small, personal impact and broad policy implications. I am not sure about the sacred and spiritual implications of water, other than that it is a matter of life and death.
Dec 2, 2006 at 12:28AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin M.
Robin -- thank you, thank you for responding to my request!

For what it's worth, I find myself pondering travel much as you do about water use -- i.e., I keep wondering, how would I treat my desire to travel if I had to walk everywhere, as I did in the first part of my journey this summer?

I also ponder shelter that way: how would I regard the winter weather if I were homeless?

I think there must be some sort of divine prompting behind this sort of questioning, something that goes deeper than just the call to simplicity. But I can't put my finger on what it is.
Dec 4, 2006 at 07:52AM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey
Hi Marshall and Robin,

Ishmael comes to mind. A book by Daniel Quinn that describes 2 basic stances human cultures have; 'takers' or 'leavers'. Takers take way more then necessary from the environment and each other for security. Thet therefore would harvest to the edges of the fields and not allow any gleaners, human or otherwise, to get a share. Leavers take what they need and leave the rest. This is an attitude of trust in the abundance of God and an acceptance of the cycles of life.

A good article to look at for the practical, real life, picture of this is Marshall Sahlin's 'The Original Affluent Society'.

Light Traveling (pun intended), Friends

Dec 5, 2006 at 07:01AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Campbell

Friendship Meeting, where I am a member, is in the initial stages of discernment regarding a new Meeting House. My concern is that we build as "green" as possible.

It is my sincere belief that, as a Christian, we must protect our environment. In fact, not to do so, would be, dare I say it..sin.

Love and peace,
Dec 6, 2006 at 02:32PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig
Don, thank you for the book recommendation.

And Craig, thank you for sharing the concern you are feeling.

I feel very blessed that, now, two different Friends have answered my request in this posting. I will be carrying both your messages in my own heart, alongside those that Friends shared with me in the course of my journey last summer.
Dec 7, 2006 at 05:53AM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey

I was late in finding this question. Sorry for that, and thank you for raising it.

“keep low’ seems to be a central and recurring message for me.
I was called to practice sustainable agriculture, and was led to a Catholic Worker community where we raise gardens and animals so we have our own food to eat (instead of depending utterly on forms of agriculture that exploit other people and degrade the soil) and to share with neighbors who may not have access to fresh food. This work requires close attention, and has given me a new awareness of the ways in which we disturb the world; we struggle with the effects of milder winters, a changing rain pattern, and the frustrations of growing organic vegetables in an area where we are told there is mercury in the rain. It also requires me to know how much I depend on a fertility which I did not make and cannot fully comprehend.
I am tempted, always, to look for large-scale solutions, to want to Make Things Right. I find it difficult to do my work faithfully and know that I can’t control much of anything around me. But I think this is precisely what we need to do; start behaving responsibly as creatures, within our limits, knowing that this will not undo climate change or the other things we fear.
I was struck by these words of Ezra Pound’s, which I found in a book by Wendell Berry:
Pull down thy vanity, it was not man
Made courage, or made order, or made grace.
Pull down thy vanity, pull down I say.
Learn of the green world what may be thy place
In scaled invention or true artistry.
And since the very beginning we seem to have thought that we could be like God, with godlike power, rather than living as God’s creatures and becoming one with God...

joanna hoyt
Dec 25, 2006 at 02:28PM | Unregistered CommenterJoanna Hoyt
Joanna, thank you for this wonderful testimony! It touches me deeply.
Dec 26, 2006 at 07:11AM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey

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