Do you ever feel God’s presence when you experienced the environment? Maybe you have experienced a sense of awe in looking at the ocean, the Grand Canyon, a sunset or some other natural beauty? How about at the sight of animals in the wild? Maybe your mind stretches to comprehend the distance of a light year, or the size of the universe when you look at one little corner of it in a photograph taken with the Hubbell telescope. Maybe when you see the mighty oak and then look at the acorns on the ground, knowing what they might become, you pause and feel something in your heart.
Some believe that God is in the environment itself. In every grain of dirt that created the plants that built our bones and flesh; in every creature that works in balance with every other creature to create a system and process of life; and in every human being, great and small, a piece of God is in there. It is a way of thinking that I am warming to. Of course, this way of thinking is not new. Speaking of the Earth, Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, “And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.” I don’t know if what I am seeing and hearing in the environment are miracles, but I am often filled with awe and it motivates me to explore spirituality through the environment. I feel it in my heart and that has led me to get involved with the Center for Environmental Transformation. I joined the Board about a year ago.
What I like best about environmental spirituality is that it is sort of a universal religion, yet it is not religion. It is a sense of awe for the environment that is shared by people of all faiths, and also by people who have no religion at all. It is shared by young and old; rich and poor. I see it as common ground for spirituality. Across the planet people can feel God’s presence around them in nature, but there is no single ritual for celebrating what we feel or should feel. Young people who resist participating in organized religions often understand and even love the Earth with the same devotion that some older people (like me) have for particular religious rituals. I find this fascinating. I am a husband, a father of four, and a lawyer. I love my rituals, but I respect that others can find God in nature. I think this is the future. And I don’t want miss it. I will take the position of Chairperson of CfET in January, 2016. Mark Doorley, the current Chair, President, and one of the founders and visionaries for CfET, will be stepping down after 10 years of tirelessly and effectively leading the organization. Thank you Mark! Please read again the Mission and Vision of the CfET. Then join us in any way you can to transform the environment in Waterfront South, in your neighborhood and across the globe.