Reflections

A Franciscan Manifesto for Divesting Your Ego

 

  1. Divest yourself of any monetary or material possession that is there for the sake of your ego and identity.
  1. Do nothing that fosters greater social disparity; divest yourself of any real or perceived privileges.
  1. Wear no uniforms or logos that identify yourself with a class of “winners”.
  1. Recuse yourself from assuming or maintaining positions of power, authority or expertise.
  1. Get free of defining your true self through your accomplishments.
  1. Refrain as often as humanly possible to “show off” by drawing ...
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Nearly every form of agriculture on this planet has drawn on plants & animals from other regions.

Nearly every form of agriculture on this planet has drawn on plants & animals from other regions, but that fact does not negate the value of the adaptations of place-based plants from our own home landscapes in potentially helping us adapt to climate change.

The wild “native” plants we need to develop as food crops should be apt at helping to sequester carbon, ...

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We have an obligation to explore previously unrecognized possibilities within our own landscape.

In my introductory essay in Mario Del Curto’s new book of photographs, Seeds of the Earth: The Vavilov Institute (2016), I remind readers that a century ago, plant explorers like Nikolai Vavilov, Liberty Hyde Bailey, David Fairchild and Frank Meyer were well-known public intellectuals, celebrated adventurers and valued ethnographers of farming peoples still active in the far reaches of this world.

The public ...

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Saint Francis of Assisi was also the first “impact divest” or in the Western World.

Saint Francis of Assisi was not only one of the first conscientious objectors and civil disobedience; he was also the first “impact divest” or in the Western World.

At a rather young age, he declared himself to be free of the burden of material and financial wealth inherited from his father, a rich transnational merchant.

He also literally “divested” by taking off all of ...

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We need to show others that the planets health is more important than any of our own material wealth.

Last night at Carleton College, I divested myself of the honorary PhD degree that the college bestowed on me over fifteen years ago, to encourage Carleton’s president and board of trustees to divest its fossil fuel stocks as a means to slow or reverse climate change.

But we all need to divest of material goods, privilege and power to show others that the ...

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We are now seeing chasms in civic life deeper and wider than ever before.

What doesn’t need healed in this nation at this moment in time? A Democratic senator censured for simply reading a twenty year old caution from Coretta Scott King!

A presumptuous president ridiculing perfectly respectable judges; we do not need any more wounds or divisions.

We are now seeing chasms in civic life deeper and wider than ever before.

Find someone in your life that has felt slighted, ...

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What am I asking of you: to take seriously question of what YOUR CALLING might be…

In his fine book, Repair My House, Capuchin Franciscan environmental economist Michael Crosby reminds us that when Francis of Assisi heeded the call to “Repair My house, for you can see it is falling into ruin,” he took the command literally and repaired the dilapidated San Damiano church.

However, he quickly realized that it is was also the haughty, misguided and “sinful” structures ...

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What is obvious to me was a joyful surprise to them; what I take for granted, they celebrate in thanksgiving.

A quarter century ago, Henri Nouwen went to live in Latin America to see what he could learn in poor communities there: “In many of the families I visited, nothing was certain, nothing predictable, nothing totally safe. Maybe there would be food tomorrow …work tomorrow… peace tomorrow. Maybe, maybe not. But whatever is given—is a reason to rejoice or say gracias. What ...

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This is the time in American history, when we must force the resignation of the POTUS.

Nine decades ago this month, in the Syrian World journal,  Reverend W.A. Mansour quoted George Gordon as saying, “American patriotism also means that you remember that the American nation is composed of immigrants. The only original American is the Indian [read Native American/First Nations member]. This historic fact should be forever borne in mind.”

So we now have a President without any sense of ...

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A Fresh Look at Democracy from the Desert

The owl cries out before the dawning light
To all the other desert dwellers, proclaiming
“I’m still here! Maybe you are too!”
But what a here it is,
Yuccas and saguaros marching forth
To cast their ballots somewhere out
Across the rocky, cactus-studded plains
While up above them, in high places
On Frog Mountain, clouds hold a summit
To determine the next legitimate President
Of this parched and broken terrain.
“Well, I’ll try it!” says the eager packrat.
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What I am grateful for this morning is the hundreds of thousands of American women assembling in our Capitol

What I am grateful for this morning is the hundreds of thousands of American women assembling in our Capitol this morning who know that this country must be managed & cared for as if it is more than some Beauty Pageant.

It must cared for as if all lives around the world–women, men, gay, lesbian, transgender, foreign-born & native, animal, vegetable, mineral & ...

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Take a stone of sadness that has been burdening you and put it aside, just far enough that something new can grow in its stead.

Sometimes our very sadness over disappointments in ourselves, our neighbors, our loved ones or our entire country can be transformed into a restorative process toward tangible good.

Who does not get down when we see our world or our relationships in shambles? But very few of us actually want to stay “stuck” in that sadness. And so we can either move toward anger ...

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All across the country, urban area communities are taking over abandoned public spaces to repurpose them as safe places.

All across the country, urban neighborhood communities are taking over abandoned school grounds, church grounds and other public spaces to repurpose them as food hubs, community gardens, food justice training centers and safe places for their children to play and work with plants.

The latest of these efforts is the Flower and Bullets collective in Mid-Town Tucson repurposing the Julia Keene School for ...

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Do you realize how many people have quietly gone about their service to conservation organizations for decades?

Last night, at the Desert Botanical Garden, I had the blessing to once again see Nancy Swanson, who has been an allegiant supporter and volunteer there (as well as taking on a bout as board chair of the Garden) over a period that now spans forty years.

Do you realize how many people around us have quietly gone about their service to conservation ...

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Tonight I am struck how the latest Scorsese film, Silence, reminds us of two things…

Tonight I am struck how the latest Scorsese film, Silence, reminds us of two things: 1) Our compassion (or lack of it) for others in the world cannot be measured by or even recognized through labels such as Christian or Buddhist, Democrat or Republican, activist or contemplative. Labels always fail us, because they build allegiance not to core intentions and actions but ...

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