Season for Interfaith-Intercultural Celebration

9-Week Self Study Program

Week SEVEN: Nature, Poverty, Migration

Interview Dialogues
Discussion Questions
Preparation & Background

Related Global Manifesto
Further Reading/ Links

 

INTERVIEWS

Jennie Joe on Nature from the Perspective of Indigenous Religions
A member of the Navajo nation, Jenny is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine (DFCM), University of Arizona, and is also a faculty member in American Indian Studies. She is the Director of the Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC) and is deeply engaged in intercultural activities.

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Fr. Gonzalo Bernabe Ituarte Verduzco, OP on Poverty, Migration, and Peace
Dominican friar and priest and Prior Provincial for Mexico. Formerly in charge of the Dominican Mission to Ocosingo (Chiapas, Mexico). Formerly Vicario Episcopal de Justicia y Paz, Diocesis de San Cristóbal de las Casas. Formerly Secretary to CONAI, the National Commision for Mediation.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Religious and secular activists often link the issues of poverty and migration to concerns about planetary ecology. Why are these seemingly disparate areas so intertwined? How is their interconnection a call to spiritually motivated action?

2. Does every religious or spiritual tradition contain some teaching of the sacredness of the Earth and all life? Why is that dimension more central in some traditions?

 

 

PREPARATION & BACKGROUND

Indigenous Religions

The religious and spiritual practices of native peoples, all too often dismissed as “primitive,” have shaped the lives of the vast majority of the planet’s past and present inhabitants. While these traditions offer an astonishing variety of beliefs and expressions, most share an abiding concern with the natural world and the spirits that choreograph its movements and hint at its deeper significance. The native traditions acknowledge the confluence of the invisible world with the visible and celebrate the sacredness of all life.

Excellence: An extraordinary tapestry of cultural modes of engagement with the visible world and the invisible world that enfolds it.
Stories: Origin narratives: land, spirits, rhythms, principles
Ritual Patterns: Celebrating Earth and its creatures
Ethic: Respecting the community of all life


Theme: Poverty, Migration, and Peace

The modern dynamics of globalization have given rise to massive patterns of migration, often driven by chronic poverty This phenomena offers economic and social opportunities and challenges that can only be addressed by the planetary community as a whole. Gonzalo Ituarte, as head of the Dominican Order in Mexico and a long-time champion of the rights of the poorest of the world’s people, helps to clarify the role of modern migration with respect to the search for peace. How are the faces of nations, cultures, and religions changing as the drama of poverty and migration unfolds around the globe? How is humankind itself being transformed? And is there a chance that we may be witnessing the birth of a new era of global citizenship.

We talk about the link between poverty and migration as a source of injustice and suffering, but also – as Gonzalo puts it – as an opening to a possible “transformation of the world into a multicolored and kaleidoscopic mosaic in which every person, group, people, and religion can find a place.”

Excerpt from Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope at a Time of Cultural Sea Change (Jim Kenney, Quest Books 2010), p. 228:

Global citizen are cosmopolitans. Their world-centric outlook is a powerful antidote to the familiar variations of egocentrism: nationalism, racism, sexism, and intolerance in general. The true cosmopolitan is not a moral relativist but one who understands that plural truths are possible.

The global citizen is the cosmopolitan first and the patriot after. Understanding that true citizenship in one’s own country or culture is not possible outside the context of full commitment to the planetary community, a globalist serves both. To be a true global citizen, aspire first to be a committed bioregionalist, knowing that we meet and know the world first by developing a deep knowledge of the place, the watershed, the community we inhabit. Being at home in our own bioregion makes possible a much richer appreciation of the way such regions interdepend in the global ecosystem and in the social structures of the global village.

Finally, the emerging global consensus of values is the text of global citizenship. The rising global consensus celebrates many things, including the self-empowerment of women, the needs of the world’s children, and the fact that the global challenge is not just one of resources but of vision.

 

Links & Media:

LINK: Quotes from the World's Religions on Nature
LINK: Video Meditation on Nature

 

RELATED GLOBAL MANIFESTO

The Earth Charter: (1987–2000: environmental protection, human rights, equitable development, and peace)
CLICK HERE TO READ

 

FURTHER READING

Interreligious Insight: a Journal of Dialogue and Engagement, V4 N3, p. 60, Gonzalo Ituarte, “Migration: a Christian Reflection

The Global Migration Group —comprehensive resources on every aspect of the challenges and opportunities presented by the phenomenon of global migration