My first answer to the question “What is a book, experience, person, moment, or series of things in your life that has accelerated your understanding and practice of ecological discipleship,” is a person—James Amadon. I don’t know for sure if I had some other things in my life already that were awakened by James’ classes, teaching, Circlewood podcast, etc. To be perfectly honest with you, some of the ideas I had just never thought about before James brought them to the forefront of my brain. I do know that it wasn’t James alone who stirred these thought, but that God the Father, and the Holy Spirt had their hand in this also for me.
I went to the first Circlewood class (Finding Our Place and Role in God’s Creation)at Covenant Shores retirement community on December 18, 2017 and was a bit nervous about what to expect. I wondered how a class of mainly older people would respond to this different way of thinking. I was pleasantly surprised by how they responded to the class and by the wonderful questions and comments they had. This class challenged me to think outside of the box/Bible/my beliefs. I took a lot of notes and one thing I wrote was: “We are caretakers of the world, the greatest of you among us; God risked by becoming one of us.” “Wow, I thought, I am a caretaker of the world, I don’t think I am doing a very good job at it and I desperately need to learn more if am going to do a better job. We are representing God here on earth and boy we sure need to do a better job and start teaching others what we are leaning."
The three classes after that: “Bringing Faith Full Circle/Bringing Scripture Full Circle,” "Full Circle Faith in Action,” and “Bringing YOUR Faith Full Circle,” slowly introduced me to looking at scripture and the earth in a different way. When I re-read Genesis 1:26-30 and saw how we are to care for all animals, creatures that fly in the sky and move on the ground, and all the trees and plants, I realized I have a bigger role here on earth then I had thought. This scared and excited me at the same time.
I was blessed to part of one of the first work days at the Camano Island property and was able to meet Tom and Christine Sine, who were the owners of the property. It was a privilege to get a walking tour of the property and learn how they had used it in the past. This was a wonderful place in among the trees, plants, and nature where I feel the closest to God.
I read Christine Sine's book “To Garden with God,” and this gave me a different look at what God created for us here on earth. This book, along with some more Circlewood classes, started my mind thinking of the earth in a bigger way then I ever had before. It excited me that I could make a difference in God’s creation in a way I had never thought about before.
Now don’t get me wrong—I didn’t run right outside and make big changes in my own yard. I did slowly start changing things in my life, such as the way I buy food and other products. I know I have a long way to go, but if am only one person and I am making positive changes in a way to help our planet, I can only imagine how more people can make a bigger change.
The awesome information being shared worldwide from the podcast that Circlewood is putting out is teaching us and giving us tools to make remarkable changes. I am in awe of the guests that have been making a difference in the world for years, how very young kids understand how important saving the earth is and how they have started companies with the help of their family. We were taught that in Chicago, Matt Ryan is farming year-round. Leah Kostamo has a wonderful Environmental Center in British Colombia that teaches understanding spirituality, science of creation care, and our ecological footprint. I was surprised to learn about Bonnie Cretton, founder of Woodsong Forest School in Tennessee. This school is raising a generation of children who will be connected to the earth in a way many of us never will be. I could go on and on about the podcasts and what I have learned from them.
I enjoyed the online Circlewood classes and getting to know people, their lives and thoughts about the many subjects we learned about. There were videos to watch and articles to read. I will say that some of the information about where your food comes from was eye-opening and rather scary and sad, but it helped me to make better choices. I struggled in school learning with my disabilities, but information now excites me and makes me crave to learn more.
Now that we have two articles a week to read from Louise, James and guest writers from The Ecological Disciple, I am brooding in my mind and learning even more. I never thought out that the earth is going to be the new heaven as James Amadon explained in the “7 Shifts we need to make.” I just had not put it together in the way Shift #7 explained. Unfortunately it made me very sad for the way we all have been treating the earth. I have to wonder how many people in the world who believe in heaven would also feel mortified to think of what WE are doing to our soon-to-be heaven.
Knowledge is a powerful thing, but with knowledge comes responsibility and that is a very scary thing, but it can also a wonderful thing. There are many people in the world who like to help other people, animals, plants, and the world. I feel God is calling us to do that in a way that works for us; whether it is big or small, we all need to just do it.