The New Confession

Working within the space provided by Creation Spirituality we need the equivalent”ish” of  confession in our Christian tradition  – we need a way to bring to mind what we are part of and who and what we are. Within the space of Green Exodus this is very much shaped by our exposure to a deepening practice of Land Acknowledgement under the guidance of Tony Snow, Indigenous Lead for the Chinook Winds Region of the United Church.

Not so much a gathering of misdemeanors and guilt as inspired by a very narrow interpretation of Judeo – Christian values; but a naming that reflects our embeddedness in the Earth and in the rich matrix of human culture and community; a naming that reflects our dependence for our very existence, survival and flourishing, on so many factors beyond our control. This, then becomes the place from which we engage in and create an Ecological Civilization.

This naming can include: 

  • Our Earth story 
    • the land where we reside-  Bow River watershed, Chinooks,
    • Elements – Air, Water, Light ,Earth and what they create together – the biosphere which sustains us 
    • greening viriditas – Hildegard of Bingen – the liveliness of life!
    • the seasons, for example now we are experiencing slowly increasing light and heat  which hum forth signs of spring –  many familiar and perhaps ones we are noticing for the first time.
  • Our Time story 
    • the past (deep and current )-Deep time our place in the evolution of things  
    • the here and now -which as we meet with full presence becomes an experience of eternity
    • the future-  including our obligation to Seven generations to come
  • The existence and story of our more than human neighbours 
  • Our Families, Communities and Ancestors (The Village )
  • Our relationship with Indigenous history-  the changing narrative we have of our country and of ourselves as we acknowledge the harm done in Canada through colonization and assimilation 
  • All the tangible, material, sustaining factors which keep us alive essential elements  – homes, clean air and water, heat, food –  and essential workers 
  • Spiritual Elements – 
    • Wisdom Traditions, stories and practices
    • Our lived experience of the Divine, the Sacred or Presence 

It is a confession which starts to undermine the beliefs that: 

  • It is all about me
  • I am the center of the known universe
  • I am a self made person; I am the totality of experiences which I have manufactured by my agency 
  • I am independent
  • I am the prime mover of my story 

It helps us loosen our embeddedness in this world view – a bit like Michael Angelo  seeing the sculpture in a lump of marble .

It helps us move away from the belief that I can exist irrespecitve of the energies and flow of the Biosphere and the stories and histories of all the surrounds me, comes before me and of which I am a part as it flows forward into the future.

It helps us move away from the belief that I can exist irrespective of  the matrix of love and creativity which has enlivened me.  

We begin to know ourselves in greater alignment with what is. 

  • We are dependent on living systems we can not control
  • We have arrived at this moment of goodness and grief (ie aliveness!) through the provisioning of so much that is more than us

Our energy and concern become less about ourselves and more about the experience and quality of all the moments and opportunities where we are in mutual relationship with all that is other than us. 

It helps us to know, embrace and indeed revel in our embeddedness, our connectedness, our being part of, not apart from.  And to be schooled in how to live in this richly entwined, interdependent, connected world.  

It helps us to live, not like the BABY in Toy Story –  a self-focussed, self-obsessed menace tromping through the landscape primarily concerned with our next happiness project; but as one of toys – each unique, each playing a creative crucial  role in a dynamic of respect, relationship, enjoyment, shared purpose and delight.

We have so much to learn, coming as most of us do from a culture which gives permission, indeed rewards, those who put self interest above others and above relationships. Our culture provides such behavior with the tangible rewards of status, recognition, power and privilege. (See Robin Wall Kimmerer’s discussion of Windigo) 

So this confession becomes one of the ways we shift our perception and our lived experience of the world we inhabit and who and what we are.  

This is a significant piece of  the Radical Rearrangement we are being invited into;  a new knowing of who and what we are and of the reality in which we live, move and have our being.