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Friday, June 20, 2003

Eco-faith.

I mentioned a new Harper's magazine piece on the religious dimensions of the environmental movement. It's Jack Hitt's long essay, "A Gospel According to the Earth: Sown by Science, a New Eco-faith Takes Root," July 2003, 41-55. Since it won't be on-line, you better save your pennies and visit your local news-stand. I haven't finished reading it, but here's a taste anyway:

In the decades leading up to the odometer turn of Y2K, it was possible to hear from each of the three faiths of the Book — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — louder and louder cries for a return to a literal reading of the Word. . . . Maybe it's just the inevitable periodic spasm of internecine destruction that has characterized the three great faiths over the ages. Maybe.
Or it may be that a competing framework — one that for now doesn't even begin to resemble what we call "religion" — is eroding the explanatory power of Scripture. Perhaps one day this time will be remembered as the moment when the academic, remote, and ancient quarrel between science and religion found a vernacular — environmentalism — that permitted many new ideas about the world to enter the hearts of the democratic populace. . . . I'm only stating the obvious: that even as middle-class moms forcibly drag their children to "church" because it's good for them, simultaneously these same people are mining other places, often literally their back yard, for deeper meanings that affect their lives.

Speaking of which, Hitt makes this earthy observation:

"Communion" and "compost" — the words, oddly, have similar roots in Latin, meaning a sharing or putting together. The real differences between the words exist in the extensive connotations they have (or have not) gathered over time and the sound they make when spoken. "Communion" hums serenely on the palate like notes of celestial music; the other plops earthily from the mouth, suggesting something else altogether.

Can't wait to digest the rest.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 20 June 2003 at 12:46 PM

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