Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Shelly about her journey to the ministry. With great enthusiasm she shared with me how she draws deep inspiration from what she called “Religious Naturalism”. I said what is that? She encouraged me to get Ursula Goodenough’s book by the title of this article. Here is a paragraph from that book that will introduce to you… to some of the results of her studies.
“Imagine that you and some other humans are in a spaceship, roaming around the universe, looking for a home. You land on a planet that proves to be ideal in every way. It has deep forests and fleshy fruits and surging oceans and gentle rains and cavorting creatures and dappled sunlight and rich soil. Everything is perfect for human habitation, and astonishingly beautiful.
This is how the religious naturalist thinks of our human event on Earth. We arrived but a moment ago, and found it to be perfect for us in every way. And then we came to understand that it is perfect because we arose from it and are part of it.
Hosanna! Not in the highest, but right here, right now!
When such gratitude flows from our beings, it matters little whether we offer it God, as in a poem, or to a Mystery…”
Many of you know of my personal journey from a traditional faith that is spelled out very clearly by theologians and clergy. I have journeyed far from my faith of origin. My greatest take-aways from that part of my life is that kindness, service of the dispossessed, and gratitude for all that life gives are central to my path. I have traveled many decades to discover the simplicity of the beliefs of the indigenous people of our land. I have awakened to their belief that “we are all connected in this web of life.” Whether a two legged, four legged, winged one, finned one, crawling one or standing one (tree) we share in one source of life. All of life is made up of energy and vibration. Biologists can take us back to the same source energy… that plays out in an emergent fashion. Ursula Goodenough is a biologist that takes on a journey first into the science of biology that can be documented. She explains things at a cellular and biochemical level that can be verified and known through science. She expands the readers understanding of the origins of life and then she reflects upon these realities through the eyes of wonder, awe and poetry.