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« Words for OneEarth Radicals »


A small group of us met to talk about our yearnings to cut to the heart of today’s crises. To be radicals in that sense. We yearn to radicalize our thinking and acting. We yearn to hone our radical skills because we know we don’t have much time to reverse ecological crises before Earth becomes uninhabitable. We yearn to converse and plan with allies who do not fear talking about apocalyptic darkness. We yearn for those allies to be bold to imagine and act on the breakthroughs that happen in the midst of apocalyptic breakdown—breakthrough alternatives that create a strong culture of life. 

While we talked, we collected key words and phrases to summarize our 90 minute conversation. Here they are with my edits. These words provide a brief beginning glossary for radicalizing our lives.

  • Yearning - By yearning, we mean the deep desire in our hearts to be part of change that is radical, i.e., gets to the root of the systems that maintain the current civilization of death. We yearn to be radically active in living the culture of life by grasping how our activities consistently express the systems of such a culture.
  • Compassion - Compassion radicalizes all our efforts in that it is a measure for how our actions fit with OneEarth living. (We mentioned Karen Armstrong, Charter of Compassion as a resource.)  Compassion is urged by all faiths so is a strong word in language that works well in activities that seek to be multi-faith. 
  • Economy of love - We want to participate in an economy in which love andnature supercede growth as the primary measure. Return on our investment in anything can never be measured accurately if restricted to a financially-defined bottom line. A radicalizing question to ask of our finances and of any economy is, “What does an economy of love/compassion look like?”
  • Ready - We want to ally with people who are ready to be radically active, or already are. We don’t want to give energy to argumentative conversations. Too many people are ready to move for us to spend invaluable energy and resources on people who are not.
  • Beyond words - We believe that we humans are capable of shaping a culture of life that displaces the current civilizaiton of death. We recognize that this is a radical belief, one on which we intend to act as fully as we can. We also recognize that our words, no matter how rich and pointed, can never completely express the deeper mysteries which work to shape and glue together the culture of life. While we seek the clearest articulation possible, we are not intimidated when our words fall short to our hearers or even to ourselves. Even the best words have the limitation of being pointers to the mystery of life, not the definers of it.
  • Common theology - We are interested in the radical, liberating expressions of various spiritual paths. We believe that a common theology emerges from these paths. Not a uniform theology, but a theology that treats differences as resources able to enrich personal and group rituals and activism. 
  • New-old OneEarth vision of society - Facing head-on the collapse of the institutions of the civilization of death, we commit to living with vision and love amid the daunting challenges of ecological and economic breakdown. We know from experience that articulating the collapse and breakdown need not be a depressing conversation. Rather the radical critique of the MultiEarth institutions that are breaking down proceeds in step with radical vision and actions which break through into OneEarth living, i.e., the culture of life.

Where are you in the matter of these yearnings? Is your life or community already living OneEarth ways? Unless they are, how can you add some radicality to the conversations?

A radicalizing question by which to measure every idea, speech, and action is: Does this get us to OneEarth living or is it only a gentler MultiEarth way? A gentler MultiEarth way may feel better, but it still destroys Earth’s life-support systems. Gentler MultiEarth ways seduce us. They are not the radical path we need to keep our planet habitable.

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Reader Comments (1)

January 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGerald Iversen

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