Picture courtesy of aerosmith.com
Song Picks by Natalie
The first verse of Nobody’s Fault by Aerosmith says:
Running for the sea
Holy lands are sinking
Birds take to the sky
I think that the first three lines are describing the destruction of the earth and the line “holy lands are sinking” is alluding to rising sea levels taking precious land.
The next lines:
The prophets are all stinking drunk
I know the reason why
Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
I think that “The prophets are all stinking drunk” is referring to people no longer listening to the teachings of God. In the next lines, I believe the lyrics are saying the reason people are no longer listening to the teachings of God and therefore destroying the earth is because of human’s desire for more. This has led to an uncomfortable society where our minds are “ill at ease and everything is on fire.”
The last chorus of the songs states:
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late
I think that these lines are saying humans have known we shouldn’t be destroying the earth, but we did it anyways, and now, everything is not how it should be. Humans have ignored the warnings and now it’s too late.
To read the lyrics, click here.
To listen to the song, click here.
Picture courtesy of crs.org; Photographer Mohammed Hafiz
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has created the “Through the Lens of Our Photographers,” project. This is its third year of the CRS Photos Department’s annual collection of the best photos of the year. CRS Photo Librarian Lauren Carroll and Photo Editor Philip Laubner hope to offer photos that have a “lasting impact and transcend their parts to represent something bigger, something universal, something that talks to a larger human truth.” To view all of the photographs from 2018, click here.
Picture courtesy of amintakilawan.com/
Aminta is a community organizer, activist, writer, and singer born in New York. In 2013, Aminta co-founded Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, a New York State non-profit organization committed to promoting social justice through the values at the heart of the Hindu faith. Through Sadhana, Aminta has worked closely with the Queens-based Indo-Caribbean population to promote environmentally friendly worship practices, particularly at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Aminta has also been a spirited bhajan and Hindi film song singer since the tender age of 9. In 2015, in an effort to increase civic engagement and political awareness in her community, Aminta began writing a column for her local newspaper, The West Indian.
Aminta received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 2010. She received her Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School in 2013. After graduating from law school, Aminta served as a New York State Public Service Excelsior Fellow under New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. While she originally thought she’d become a trial lawyer, she found her true calling in policy-making. She is a Senior Legislative Counsel for the New York City legislature. In her capacity at the New York City Council, Aminta drafts and negotiates legislation spanning from areas such as women’s rights, poverty, housing and homelessness, and child welfare. Aminta is admitted to practice in the New York State Bar.
Aminta’s photo, “Shiva, the God of Destruction, Destroyed,” won third place in the Religion and Environment photography contest. Aminta stated, “Hindus have worshipped at the banks of Ganges and the shores of other bodies of water for centuries. Jamaica Bay is basically a closed system, so whatever lands in its waters stays until it is removed. The Ganges and many other bodies of water have become polluted by the use of many user groups. The Ganges, one of the major rivers of India, also known as Ganga Maa, is said to have made her abode in Shiva’s matted hair in order to prevent the destruction of Prithvi (Mother Earth). The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality. Shiva is regarded as “the Destroyer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. He is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and the arts. Here, Shiva is found broken in the sands of Jamaica Bay, during a cleanup organized by the photographer, Aminta Kilawan-Narine and her husband Rohan Narine.”
Picture courtesy of Tony Losekamp
Tony Losekamp is a second year seminarian in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources in 2017. He has been Catholic his whole life and chose to study environmental sciences out of a love of science and nature and a desire to help make the world a better place. While in college his faith became his own when he had to decide for himself to go to Mass on Sundays, go on retreats, join Bible Studies, go to adoration to worship Jesus in the Eucharist, and build a personal relationship with Jesus. At some point he realized that if he was going to be Catholic, he was going to have to give everything to the one who gave him everything. In giving himself completely to Jesus, he became more free to love. He finished his degree while giving more and more time to Saint Paul’s Outreach and the Newman Center, gaining missionary experience and building a love for life. That is what brought him to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West.
Tony’s photo won second place in the Religion-Environment photography contest with “Spiritual Tree.” Tony stated that, “I took this photo in Hocking Hills, Ohio, on the trail between Old man’s cave and Cedar Falls. It was spring and the forest was exploding with life. The air hummed with excitement and power that is comparable with excitement and power of a rich spiritual life in communion with God.”
Picture courtesy of Jacob Taylor
Jacob Taylor is a lifelong resident of the Mill Creek watershed in SW Ohio. He earned his BA at the University of Cincinnati for literary and cultural studies, and is currently studying environmental theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. His interests include community gardening, herbalism, reading the mystics, and pining for the revolution.
Jacob’s photo won first place with the title, “Theotokos in the Apothecary.” He states this about his photograph: “The guiding question behind my work concerns what it means to live incarnationally & eucharistically in the age of the Anthropocene. How can I, with Mary as a model, bear Christ into a world where the heavy foot of human domination and extractive economics has driven our common home into a mass extinction event? I continue to draw strength and meaning from my tradition’s central sacred story of incarnation — it gives me the courage to keep moving and struggling towards shalom against the odds, trusting the mystery of “God with us” as we face this bewildering moment in human/geological history. Theotokos calls me to remember that something profound occurs when we consent to the invitation of God. At the core of the Christian eschatological vision is the unwavering assertion that all things are being made new and that human beings are invited to conspire with God in this process of restoration. May we, with Mary, have the courage to say yes, come hell or high water. ”
Picture courtesy of greenchurches.ca
Green Churches Network offers songs and hymns to follow the biblical tradition to sing praise to God for creation. The songs come from various Christian traditions, and they accept suggestions for other songs to add. To listen to all of the creation songs and hymns offered, click here.
Image courtesy of Hans Howe
Prolific American author Wendell Berry is known for his poetry, essays, novels and his activism. His experiences as the son of a farmer directed his work later in life as an author and activist. His activism began in 1968 with A Statement Against the War in Vietnam” which was published in 1969 in a collection of essays. His activism has continued throughout his career and he has taken a special interest in environmental issues.
His work has received numerous awards, most of which can be found here at a fan website. In addition to his many already published works, Mr. Berry has two books to be published in the next year: Fidelity: Five Stories (Aug 2018 – rerelease; original publication date 1992) and The Art of Loading Brush New Agrarian Writings (Jan 2019).
Beloved for his insightful and steady voice which argues for a profound reflection and connection with the earth, Berry has been an influential American voice through the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. There are many recommendations for the best place to start when reading Wendell Berry, but there is agreement that the most important thing is to start.
For Wendell Berry’s own website click here. A fan website has collected many online resources for those interested in Wendell Berry, which can be found here. Berry’s published work can be found from major booksellers and your favorite independent bookstore. Click here to be taken to his author page on Amazon.
Image courtesy of ecotheoreview.org
In 2013, several seminary friends set out to bring ecological and faith groups together and to “create a lasting affection toward the natural world.” The EcoTheo Review publishes art on their website and through their digital quarterly. Sharing writings and art, their active website and blog continue to publish posts in between official publication of the journal.
The journal can be purchased and submissions can be made through their website. Click here to be directed to the website.
Picture courtesy of radicaljoyforhardtimes.org/
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a worldwide community of people dedicated to bringing meaning, beauty, and value to places that have been damaged by human or natural acts. Rad Joy educates, supports, and connects communities around the world to create Earth Exchanges, experiential gatherings in which people visit wounded places, get to know them as they are now, share their stories of what they mean to them, and make a simple, spontaneous work of art there. Often, this “gift to the place” is the Rad Joy Bird, made by the group out of materials found on site. To read more about Radical Joy for Hard Times, click here.
Picture courtesy of interfaithpowerandlight.org
Faith Climate Action Week created a resource for creation centered hymns. This list offers hymns on a variety of topics including equality of creatures, the beauty of the earth, and more. To view the entire list, click here.