To see a general overview of Simpler Living, Compassionate Life click here.
In this section: “Excerpt from The Overworked American” by Juliet Schor (33-37); “The Spirituality of Everyday Life” by Cecile Andrews (37-41); “Entering the Emptiness” by Gerald May (41-51); “Contemplation and Ministry” by Henri Nouwen (52-58)
This section invites the reader into a greater thoughtfulness in conception and use of time. The opening excerpt from The Overworked American reveals the age of this collection in a way that few other essays throughout the work do. Written in the earliest years of the technological revolution, it fails to address the multitasking and attachment to technology that we experience in everyday life.
Cecile Andrews and Henri Nouwen offer insightful reflections on the need for mindfulness and contemplation. Nouwen believes that those involved in pastoring need contemplation to see and respect the complexity of the world and to position one’s obedience toward God.
Gerald May’s essay on emptiness and “the myth of fulfillment” speak to the universal experience of longing. He critiques popular religion that offers false promises of blissful contentment, arguing that “we were never meant to be completely filled..In this way we participate in love becoming life, life becoming love.” (47) While I found a number of May’s arguments to be compelling, I was deeply troubled by May’s note that “oppression by other humans…can teach the secret (hope of emptiness).”(48) He goes on to quote Frederick Douglass, but does not condemn oppression seen throughout the world as an incarnation of evil. There seems to me to be a very dangerous romanticization of oppression and failure to confront the horrific history of slavery in this statement, which could fall dangerously into ideology asserted by many in the nineteenth century that somehow slavery was “beneficial.”
Despite my concern with May’s essay, this section on the whole encourages individuals to embrace and cultivate quiet time and space in their lives. Its placement within the book suggests that simple living needs reflection on how a lifetime is spent.
Eco–Prayer Guidelines offers suggestions for eco-prayer and good will intentions. They describe eco-prayer principles and explain why praying and positive intentions are important. To read more on Eco–Prayer Guidelines, click here.
Christian Concern for One World has created a gathering of prayer points and links to online prayer material in the event of extreme weather. It includes material that can be used by those directly affected or by those praying for them. Click here to read more.
The Eco–Prayer 30 Day Challenge is an easy way to deepen your connection and intent to the earth and all of its ecosystems. Eco–Prayer offers four simple steps to follow for 30 days. To read more or participate, click here.
Eco–Prayer has grown out of the vision of a future with people caring on a global scale for places, plants, animals, people, and the Earth through prayer, intention, and action. They work to encourage spiritual and physical interventions to restore, support, and develop thriving ecosystems. To read more about Eco–Prayer, click here.
Catholic Relief Services has created a prayer outline with accompanying presentation that focuses on creation care. The prayer service is about caring for creation and also includes education and legislative advocacy. To read or download the outline, click here.
Teaching Preschoolers to Pray for God’s Creation is an article from Evangelical Environmental Network on the importance of prayer at an early age. The article discusses how to introduce prayer into the life of a young child and more specifically how to pray for God’s creation. To read the entire article, click here.
From September 1st to October 4th, Christians around the world are praying and caring for creation. The “Season of Creation” is meant to unite people around the globe to steward the Earth. September 1st is known as the day of prayer for creation. Season of Creation has online prayer resources for the day, and the entire month. To see these resources, click here. Also, to read the post for 2016 day of prayer, click here.
Thursday, September 1, 2016, has been declared a shared World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation by Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities. This year, Pope Francis issued a video invitation to prayer
in which he calls believers and unbelievers alike to work together to care for our common home. In August of 2015, the pope issued a letter declaring Sept. 1 as an annual day of prayer for the care of creation, joining the Orthodox Church, which has been doing so since 1989. Citizens are urged to pray and join a local prayer service, or if no local service is offered, representatives from Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Episcopalian churches will offer an online prayer service at 8am US EDT.