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The Ecological Disciple

Learning to Follow Jesus From the Ground Up

Searching for Community

May 16, 2022 - It can be difficult to know how to find one’s way when pulled by love and loyalty for the communities and traditions that raised you, and yet pushed toward new forms of community that recognize something significant is not right and are doing something about it. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Two Blessings

May 12, 2022 - In the "Blessings & Prayers" sections of The Bell and the Blackbird, David Whyte explores being touched by what is around us and blessed by it. Two poems in this section, "Blessing for Sound," and "Blessing for Light," make particularly good companion pieces. By Louise Conner

Mountains of Prayer

May 9. 2022 - Most commentators and preachers focus on the centrality of solitude and prayer to the life and ministry of Jesus. What they rarely emphasize is the importance of place in these moments. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: From the Roots Up

May 5, 2022 - If all beings are related, there is a responsibility to consider the way we walk and live in this world. By Louise Conner

Lawn and Order

May 2, 2022 - A perfect lawn invites us to sit, lay, or play in its soft, green blanket. It presents us with an image of ecological health and connection. But this carefully constructed image masks multiple problems. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: A Closer Look

April 28, 2022 - Two weeks ago, at the end of my post looking at the work of Karl Blossfeldt, I invited readers to send in their own close-up pictures and drawings of what they saw when they came in for a closer look at something around them. Here are the results. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: The Enduring Legacy of Silent Spring

April 22, 2022 - In the 60th anniversary year of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, and the first anniversary of The Ecological Disciple, we look at a piece of writing that can help us take on even our current environmental crises. By Louise Conner

A Fistful of Nettles

April 18, 2022 - As I entered the forest for the first time, I was keenly aware of its beauty - and my ignorance. I had no idea how to care for a forest. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Discovering Big Things Within the Small

April 14, 2022 - Sometimes, there are things you can only see if you step in closer, focusing on a single small segment of the bigger whole. By focusing on the tiny, we may gain valuable insights of the large that we cannot gain otherwise. By Louise Conner

On Crows and Hope

April 11, 2022 - Guest writer Rick Mylander invites us to consider crows as a symbol of hope and connection.

The Art of Creation: The Garden Walk of Holy Week

April 7, 2022 - Today we welcome back Circlewood friend, Christine Sine, as a guest writer to our Thursday The Art of Creation column. We know you will be encouraged by her words today, as we approach Holy Week. By Christine Sine

Finding the Right Words

April 4, 2022 - How do we talk about something that is, for many people, a new and challenging perspective that has not been part of their vocabulary? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: May Spring Come

March 31, 2022 - In this prayer from the Chinook Psalter, observations of the seasonal renewal at work in nature lead into a prayer that a similar renewal might happen within each of us. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: Sculpting Sustainability

March 24, 2022 - The art of collaborators Martin Hill and Philippa Jones has much to say about the way we live in this world and the changes we need to make to live more successfully within it. By Louise Conner

The Power of Beauty in Troubled Times

March 22, 2022 - To see that beauty endures, even if only as a memory, is a pathway to healing. It is also a pathway to hope, helping us see our existence beyond the level or mere physicality, even as it roots us more deeply there. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Songs for the Movement

March 17, 2022 - Sometimes facts and statistics just aren't enough to change us. Music can help us imagine a different, more just way of living and move us from apathy to action. By Louise Conner

The Web of War and Peace

March 14, 2022 - The war in Ukraine reaches out and touches every person and every place. From the perspective of ecological disciples, it asks us to reflect on what it means to follow Jesus in this moment, and what we might do to "make peace" in this fragile moment. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Everything is Already Connected

March 10, 2022 - To see the connections that exist in this world is essential if we are to live well within it. The poem, Invocation, by Everett Hoagland reminds us just how necessary it is to see those connections and to live accordingly. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: A Ukrainian Artist's Philosophy of the Good

March 3, 2022 - One of the losses in recent days from the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a museum that held, among other work, a large number of paintings by Maria Prymachenko, probably the most well-know Ukrainian artist. By Louise Conner

Resources for the Journey

Feb. 23, 2022 - I occasionally share resources to help readers in their journey of ecological discipleship. I hope you find something that helps you! By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Simple Does It

February 24, 2022 - How was an overgrown dumping spot turned into a valuable environmental and community resource? The answer is actually quite simple. By Louise Conner

Embracing Adaptation

Feb. 21, 2022 - In 2015, my wife Debbie and had the remarkable opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands. It opened a new world to us. By Mac Taylor

The Art of Creation: Listening Up

February 17, 2022 - We can be such noisy creatures. And for the most part, we seem oblivious to what we're squashing underneath the continuous soundtrack of our own noise-making. Chris Watson, British sound artist has valuable things to teach us. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: Ready for Winter but not for Spring

February 10, 2022 - Have you ever wondered how trees survive below-zero weather or why an early warm spell followed by freezing temperatures can kill trees that survive far colder temperatures in a usual winter? The answers are astounding with powerful implications for our faith. By Christine Sine

The Efficiency Paradox

Feb. 8, 2022 - Have you ever noticed that when an extra lane is added to a highway to reduce congestion it typically clogs up with cars soon after it is added? This is the efficiency paradox. - By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Connecting with the World through Whimsy and Ducks

February 3, 2022 - The art of Michael Leunig may appear simple—even childlike—it gives us images of ecosystems and connection that deeply remind us of the beauty and joy within both the individual person and the wider community of creation. By Louise Conner

Living With Tension

Feb. 1, 2022 - “I feel like I am living in two different worlds.” I have said, and heard, this phrase many times over the last few months. Perhaps you have as well. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Standing in Place

January 27, 2022 - The poem Lost by David Wagoner speaks about the movement from being lost to being found—from disconnection and disorientation to connection and placement. This movement from one to the other is accomplished, ironically, according to the poem, by standing still. By Louise Conner

Living in Circles

Jan. 24, 2022 - A third and final reflection on Becoming Rooted, Randy Woodley's latest book of 100 short meditations to help us reconnect with the earth. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Natural Designs

January 20, 2022 - Using keen observation skills and an aptitude for creative solutions, people in northeastern India have, for at least 500 years, built bridges that require only a particular kind of tree, patience, time, and diligent effort and cooperation. By Louise Conner

Think Before You Stomp

Jan. 17, 2022 - Another meditation from Randy Woodley's latest book, "Becoming Rooted." By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: That We May

January 13, 2022 - I invite you to pray this prayer, not reading it as words to be assented to, but confession to be made, praise to be voiced, action to be taken: consciously, deliberately, and sincerely. By Louise Conner

Becoming Rooted

Jan. 10, 2022 - I do not make New Year's resolutions, but I do think about habits and patterns in my life that need to change. This month I invite you to meet my guide. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: On Ice

January 6, 2022 - This five-minute dance on the ice of Antarctica has its roots in this New Zealander's interest in Antarctica, concern about climate change, love of dance, and his interest in bringing the art form outside theaters and to a wider audience. By Louise Conner

The Year to Come

January 3, 2022 - As we turn our attention to the coming year, we are aware that, from a planetary perspective, we are entering a critical year in a critical decade. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Bringing the Garden Inside

December 30, 2021 - When you lie down a field of flowers, the sights, sounds, and smell surround you—you are immersed in the experience. How do you replicate that for people within a gallery space? By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight #6 – Jesus is Not Just For Us

Dec. 27, 2021 - We think Jesus is all about humanity. But the Bible has a lot to say about Jesus' relationship with animals, if we have the eyes to see. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Quiet Mystery

December 23, 2021 -This poem reminds us of an essential truth—a way of seeing what is around us in a different way—much like turning the knob on a set of binoculars so that our view changes from a fuzzy mess to a clear picture of what we couldn't distinguish before. By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight #5: Creation Teaches Us How To Praise

Dec. 20, 2021 - By reading Psalm 148, through eco-theological lenses, we can begin to see (and hear) the symphony of praise that echoes through every nook and cranny of creation and calls us to join in. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Sunken Sculpture, Living Art

December 16 - Whenever you create art, there is element of letting go of it. You can’t control the viewer’s response or interpretation and after you make it, you have to release it. For Jason deCaires Taylor, this letting go is more extreme than is usual. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: From Our Readers

December 9, 2021 - We hope you enjoy today's post, with contributions sent in by some of our readers. By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight #4: The Ecological Voice and Vision of the Prophets

Dec. 6, 2021 - Reading the biblical prophets can reveal distinctly ecological voices and visions that offer prophetic wisdom for us today. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Giving Dirt Its Due

December 2, 2021 - It is not just with other animals of the earth that we share a commonality, but with the earth itself. By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight #3: The Law and Creation

Nov. 29, 2021 - If we look at the Law through ecological lenses we will find, hiding in plain sight, a dynamic way of life that is part of creation and given for the sake of creation. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Songs of Gratitude

November 25, 2021 - I hope that these sounds will soak into you today and will usher you into joy as you hear and enjoy the varied and expressive world that our God has made. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: The Sacred Particular

November 18, 2021 - English stained glass artist Thomas Denny has completed about 60 commissions primarily, though not exclusively, in English churches; each one of those is rooted in the particular commission, community, and place of their inception. By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight #2: God, Brothers, Blood and Soil

Nov. 16, 2021 - The story of Cain and Abel is typically understood as a human story of sibling rivalry and the dangers of giving in to jealousy, resentment, and anger. If we read the story with ecological lenses, however, the story deepens. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Songs of the Treefall

November 11, 2021 - Throughout the years, I have returned to Bruce Cockburn’s music again and again (like a favorite book) to voice aspects of my own faith, awe, delight, and anger. By Louise Conner

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Ecological Vision of Scripture

Nov. 8, 2021 - The Bible speaks of, and to, a world that is deeply interconnected and interdependent, a world in which the personal, social, ecological, cosmic, and divine dimensions of life are woven together into a dynamic and seamless whole called creation. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Prayer of Change

November 4, 2021 - With the United Nations Climate change conference happening in Glasgow, Scotland through November 12, Christians have an opportunity (and I believe, a responsibility) to pray for what is happening there. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #8: From Abstract Learner to Learner-Practitioner

November 1, 2021 - I feel at home in the soil. My passion for God and God’s people has become integrated with my passion and love for God’s creation. But where did this all begin? By Rev. Sarah Robinson

The Art of Creation: Planting Home

October 28, 2021 - In 1942, when Japanese Americans were removed from the West Coast to internment camps inland, the new environs were harsh and barren, intentionally isolated and surrounded by barbed wire. Growing green things was a way to grow hope in a desolate time and place. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #7: Eco Discipleship of My Mind and Body

October 25, 2021 - I understand my relationship to this planet both through my body and through my mind; sometimes, when I am stuck in one area, I can lean into the other to grow and transform. By Josh Harper

The Art of Creation: A Practice of Praise

October 21, 2021 - When we approach life from a posture of praise, believing that praiseworthy things are all around us, we can see things to praise that we might have overlooked and, with practice, might even find ourselves able to praise things we did not ask for or want. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #6: Finding Connections on My Journey

October 18, 2021 - I see a shift in myself from enjoying and consuming creation to an awareness of the connectedness of all of creation and my responsibility to care for it, for the sake of all of it. By Tonya Wishart

The Art of Creation: Not Just the Honeybee

October 14, 2021 - This piece of art both invites the viewer to marvel at the tiny creatures called bees and also invites those bees themselves to inhabit its walls, transforming itself into a living work of art. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #5: Discovering God's Grandeur in Nature

October 11, 2021 - One iconic experience in particular was emblematic of two shifts in my theological thinking. By Gerald M. Erickson

The Art of Creation: View from Beneath

October 7, 2021 - Soaking in a Georgia O’Keeffe painting can be as refreshing as a spell of idleness can be for people with overly-busy schedules. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #4: Learning to Be a Caretaker

October 4, 2021 - I realized I have a bigger role here on earth then I had thought. This scared and excited me at the same time. By Julie Stapelman

The Art of Creation: Long Live the Weeds and Wilderness

September 30, 2021 - For the earnest ecological disciple seeking sources of inspiration, a rich cache can be found in the poetry of the Victorian Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins. By Jeff Reed

How My Faith Has Shifted #3: How Creation Spirituality Enriched My Church Based Faith

September 20, 2020 - I began to see that holiness existed not just in church but in creation. By Rev. Elaine Breckenridge

The Art of Creation: Your Name is Goodness

September 24, 2021 - Is giving thanks the most fundamental part of your prayers? By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #2: The Pacific Northwest—A Moveable Classroom

September 19, 2021 - “What is a book, experience, person, moment or series of things in your life that has accelerated your understanding and practice of ecological discipleship?" I have such an easy answer! By Jessalyn Gentry

The Art of Creation: Leaf on Leaf, Stone on Stone

September 16, 2021 - Sometimes the only way anyone will see his works is through the pictures he takes of them before they change, melt, collapse, or are brought down by a passing wind. By Louise Conner

How My Faith Has Shifted #1: My Journey from Doubt to a Wildly Wonderful Understanding and Purpose

September 13, 2021 - We welcome our first guest writer to our blog, who says, "I learnt that my God is not aloof from me in my humanity nor this created world I live in." By Vidhya Chintala

The Art of Creation: Patterned on Nature

September 9, 2021 - In Barcelona, Spain, a park originally designed to be a housing complex for the well-to-do, is a showcase for some of the most innovative and creative skills of a renowned architect known for his love of God and his love of nature. By Louise Conner

Members Mailbag #2

September 7, 2021 - Here is our second “Members Mailbag!” I am grateful for those who have commented on our most recent series - “7 Shifts We Need to Make,” or emailed me thoughts and questions about ecological discipleship in general. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Tracing a Path of Joy

September 2, 2021 - When a peach isn't "just" a peach, it can be pathway which leads from blossom to blossom, from joy to joy. By Louise Conner

How Have You Shifted?

Aug. 31, 2021 - A quick recap of the "7 Shifts We Need To Make," with an invitation for readers to respond. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Balance Regained

August 26, 2021 - Is there something in this 200-year-old musical piece that has something to teach us about being part of our world? By Louise Conner

Shift #7 - A Different Destination: From an Earthless Heaven to a Heavenly Earth

8.24.21 - Where are we going? Is there an overall direction to life, a movement towards some ultimate purpose or final destination? How we answer these questions will shape our lives, and our faith, profoundly.

The Art of Creation: Out of Balance

August 19, 2021 - What does it sound like when life is out of balance? This film gives us one perspective on this question. By Louise Conner

Shift #6 – An Interconnected Church: From Splintered Sects to Creative Collaborators

Aug. 16, 2021 - What if the current ecological crisis was an opportunity to heal the Church? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Prayer for Our Relatives

August 12, 2021 - Some prayers pour from our mouths unrehearsed and some prayers provide a structure to fit inside of and learn from. There are also prayers that through new language, provide a pathway to see ourselves, our world, and our God a little differently. By Louise Conner

Shift #5: An Ecological Mission: From Saving Souls/Society to Cultivating Life in the New Creation

August 9, 2021 - A recent poll confirmed the continued erosion of Christianity's privileged place in Western culture - a great opportunity to rethink our sense of mission. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: The Hand

August 5, 2021 In Glarus, Switzerland, inside a sliver of park land, between a railroad track and a street, is a sculpture that brings home a simple, but profound point about the role that humans can take in nurturing the natural world around them. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: An Unfaded Tradition

July 29, 2021 - This artist's work lights up the texts, combining the tradition of illumination with meticulous accuracy, creating pages that are vibrant, intricate works of art. By Louise Conner

The Art of Creation: The Riverside

July 22, 2021 Hopelessness paralyzes; in order to step into changes, we need believe that change can affect the future. By Louse Conner

Shift #4: Place-Based Discipleship: From Generic Jesus-Following to Bioregional Discipleship

July 19, 2021 - What does it mean to follow Jesus in this place, at this time, with these people? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Storks and Other Winged Creatures

July 15, 2021 Can we live with other creatures in a such way that not only we thrive, buy they thrive as well? By Louise Conner

Mid-Shift Check-in

July 12, 2021 - Time for a reader check-in. What do you think about the shifts I'm proposing? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Through Our Readers' Eyes

July 8, 2021 - This week, we share the fabulous photos sent in from readers. We hope you enjoy The Art of Creation: Through Our Readers' Eyes. By Louise Conner

Shift #3: A More Humane Humanity – From Independent Masters to Interdependent Servants

July 5, 2021 - Why do so many people feel disconnected and discontent? What do we need to find our place in this world? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: The Daily Miraculous

July 1, 2021 - Borrowing the lens of this poet to look at the world can help someone see what is around them with new eyes. By Louise Conner

Shift #2: A Bigger Story – From Human-Centered to All Creation

June 29. 2021 - The gospel we tell is good news - just not good enough. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Rocks and Lanterns

June 24, 2021 - Do you remember that feeling when you opened a new, unused box of crayons? That's the feeling that this recycle artist has when he finds ways to use what has been discarded as trash. By Louise Conner

Shift #1 - A New Cosmology: From Static Backdrop to Dynamic Creation

June 21, 2021 - When you look up at the stars, or down at a drop of dew on the grass, at the faces of your loved ones or your own face in a mirror, what do you see? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: The Praise of Pollen Dust and Mango Trees

June 17, 2021 - When you listen to creation, do you hear a chorus of praise? By Louise Conner

Seven Shifts We Need to Make

June 14, 2021 - If we are going to have a faith that is alive and alert to the needs and opportunities of our current moment, these are the shifts we must make. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Beyond the Frame

June 10, 2021 - Sometimes a work of artistic redemption must go beyond the borders of our original vision to reach a point of greater completion. By Louise Conner

Members Mailbag #1

June 7, 2021 - First ever Members Mailbag! Check out what our thoughtful readers want to know, and the wisdom they have to offer. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Mourning the Unmourned

June 3, 2021 - The love of this earth we are part of may be innate to humans, but that makes it even more grievous when other loves squeeze out space for that elemental love in our hearts. By Louise Conner

Can We Help Each Other Grow?

May 31, 2021 - If you are a subscriber, here's a chance to share your voice and help other readers! By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Alive with Possibility

May 27, 2021 - True goodness and rightness isn't dull; it shimmers and sings with possibility and joy. By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 7: We Are Always Re-Forming

May 24, 2021 - Reformation is a fundamental part of Creation. What are you helping to re-form? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Praying for the Planet

May 20, 2021 - A prayer for our neighbors—ALL of them. By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 6: Imagine If...

May 17, 2021 - When your mind is quiet and your heart open, what do you imagine? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Icebergs and Islands

May 13, 2021 - When you love something, you want to protect it. That is one reason why these artists want you to love the places they love. By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 5: Sweet Repentance

May 10, 2021 - Repentance is not only necessary, it is sweet. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Falling Down

May 6, 2021 -Instead of the words, "Don't just sit there, do something!" perhaps we need to hear, "Don't just do something, sit there!" By Louise Conner.

The WAY Forward 4: A Faith the World Is Waiting For

May 3, 2021 - It may just be the faith YOU are waiting for... by James Amadon

The Art of Creation: In Celu L'ài Formate

April 29, 2021 - We are all old enough to know that we aren't the center of the universe....right? By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 3: Living Between Two Worlds

April 26, 2021 - To welcome a new world, we need to leave the old one behind. By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: 163 Steps

April 22, 2021 - On this path in San Francisco, you can walk from the ocean to the sky in just 163 steps. By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 2: Walking the Long Path of Renewal

April 22, 2021 - We all want renewal, but are we prepared to leave the old world behind, to abandon our core beliefs, established practices, and privileged status? By James Amadon

The Art of Creation: Wild Things

April 22, 2021 - Welcome to The Art of Creation, a Thursday post of The Ecological Disciple. By Louise Conner

The WAY Forward 1: You Must Start Here

April 22, 2021 - There is much wrong with the world. But that is not the place to start. By James Amadon