Bridging Spirituality, Healing & Action: 2015 Interfaith Florida Climate Conference – April 10-11
People ask me, “Why should I come to the interfaith climate conference?” My answer is that there are three things we will do.
First, there’s a deep trauma in all of us and that trauma plays itself out in our relationship with Earth. Think of it for a moment: when we go outside, we expect pavement under our feet wherever we go. We seldom actually plant our feet on the earth itself, except perhaps for the beach. This trauma deep in us alienates us from Earth and from each other. It makes us ignore, even deny the relationships that are there simply because we exist. So we will address our traumatization in ways that restore a healthy sense of our relationship with Earth and each other.
Second, several critical issues are before Florida right now that the legislature is trying to address. They range from water and fracking to solar and energy planning. People who work in these areas will be with us and will bring us up to speed so that we know what we can do right now to take action for healing the creation and securing its health in the near future.
Third, the Florida interfaith community has the opportunity to shape the language that will be used in the upcoming presidential campaign. We all know the importance of the state in national elections. What we need to know is just how powerful our spiritual and religious commitments are for earthkeeping. When you step back and admire it from a grand perspective, the singleness of love for Earth across all of our traditions is simply wonderfully beautiful and hopeful. There is great power in such simplicity and unity of vision. An interfaith climate action network can harness the power of our various traditions to speak with clarity, intent, certainty about the mandate to act with love for the creation. We must do this, and we must do this together. We all will leave the conference understanding how we will participate in the interfaith climate action network for the work that lies ahead.
I’ve come to see that the spiritual work for our generation shifts the narrative dramatically. Here in Florida, the public policy narrative owes everything to the ideology of commodification. It’s all about buying and selling property and experience. The role of government is cast only as a structural support for commerce. Yet we all know that the most meaningful things in our lives are priceless – the joy of child’s smile or the touch of loved one or the wonder of sunrise or the beauty of a poem, these are not mere things to be bought and sold. The truth is that we are relational beings, and the narratives of relationships are what give our lives meaning, hope and purpose. If the ideology of commodification gives way to the narratives of relational being, it will be because of the resurgent power of our relationships. The great saints of social change talked about the power of love for good reason. It’s what we do together with and for others that brings forth healing redemption. I hope you come to the conference. I know you will be glad you did.
Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer, Conference Convener
Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches
1 April 2015