We are living in dangerous times. Man made crises related to the concepts of possession and separation. Of unjust and unsustainable economic and political systems that are failing here and elsewhere. Organized religions that have been used, some for centuries, for oppression. And don’t teach how to live Spirit led lives. Armed forces and militarized police serving a handful of the ultra-wealthy.
All contributing to the rape of Mother Earth. Unleashing ferocious and rapidly evolving environmental chaos.
Most dangerous of all is spiritual poverty. None of the above could have happened if not for the rejection of Spirit led lives. How few today demonstrate loving their neighbor as themselves?
Where are the peacemakers?
I have been deeply concerned about the values and practices of this country, this White, dominant society. Feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I couldn’t own an automobile knowing the devastating results of a car culture. Cars as weapons of mass destruction. https://jeffkisling.com/?s=cars+weapon+mass+destruction.
I refused to be inducted into the armed forces. Was not interested in the accumulation of possessions and wealth.
Realizing I didn’t fit into the White society I was born into, I searched for those who shared my values and beliefs. Who live Spirit led lives.
As a Quaker I was fortunate to live in communities that did try to live Spirit led lives. I learned the tools and experienced the power of prayer. Witnessed the examples of those who rejected war, those who tried to live simply. I was blessed to travel to Costa Rica in 2010 where a number of US Quakers migrated in the early 1950’s to escape the militarization in the US. Costa Rica has not had a standing army since 1948. There are peacemakers there. More stories of peacemakers here: Young Quaker Men Who Faced War and Conscription.
I still belong to the Quaker faith community. But we have significant problems. Most have continued to use automobiles and to fly. Too many have not recognized and begun to heal what was done to Indigenous peoples, black people and other people of color (BIPOC). Don’t understand that those traumas are passed from generation to generation. Continue to impact those living now, both the oppressed and the oppressors. I know I am not blameless. But I seek to be led by the Spirit to do this work in my own life.
For the reasons this article began with, I feel an urgency to find alternatives to our current White dominant society, because it is collapsing. Whether our political system survives for a little longer will be determined by this election. There are unsettling questions about the peaceful transfer of power. But even if Democrats come into power, the fundamental problems remain.
This White, capitalist system can not long survive.
Though the work of other white environmental activists is incredibly important, this world still applauds, supports, encourages, and emulates ”whiteness” and the culture created out of the doctrine of discovery.Christine Nobiss
I’ve been working on this diagram to help me visualize these systems. Hoping it will make it clearer what I am trying to say. White colonization and capitalism have brought us to global environmental chaos. And the collapse of capitalism results in broken political and economic systems. All enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the fundamental, underlying problem we face today is Spiritual poverty, that is the problem we must bring attention to, both for ourselves and reaching out to others.
When the Spirit began to guide me to Indigenous peoples, I understood that was to learn how to live with environmental integrity, and that was part of it. It took me longer to realize care for Mother Earth was not a separate thing, but an integral part of the Circle of caring for each other, human and non human, for the water, earth and sky. All connected by the Spirit, the Spirit being all.
As I’ve been listening to the Spirit, a new vision is gradually emerging. As the White dominate culture implodes, those who have preserved Indigenous practices, ways of living, can teach us how to live in the ancient ways. Help us remember what we once knew.
We are in this climate crisis together….but not all of us will be affected by this change in the same way. It is well known that Indigenous communities and communities of color everywhere are the most immediate recipients of climate change disaster. Greta Thunberg just arrived on the shores of the USA. Though her work and the work of other white environmental activists is incredibly important, this world still applauds, supports, encourages, and emulates ”whiteness” and the culture created out of the doctrine of discovery.Christine Nobiss
Imagine if the same amount of people made the same big deal about Indigenous youth from any of the tribal nations that are protecting 80% of the world’s biodiversity. What about Autumn Peltier, Wikwemikong First Nation, who began her advocacy for the environment and clean water at age 8? Why are US environmentalists and philanthropists falling over themselves for a Swedish activist when our people have been teaching our children these ways for hundreds of years? Our children have not only stood at the front lines repeatedly but have DIED PROTECTING our territories and our ways. We have some of the most dedicated youth in the world fighting in our own backyards against environmental disaster and climate change. Indigenous Peoples are not activists or environmentalists. Our work at the frontlines is motivated by deep ancestral ties to sacred landscapes and from first-hand effects of environmental racism.
Let’s look at the Indigenous Peoples that have survived genocide and continue to carry on their ways—ways which can save the world. Let’s look to our tribal nations for an Indigenous-led regenerative economy created through traditional ecological knowledge. An effective way we can protect, preserve and restore the climate is by seeing and taking the word of people who fight colonial oppression by tenaciously holding onto traditions that tell a different story about this planet.
Let’s get funds to Indigenous Peoples first. We have answers.
In these dangerous times we need Spiritual leaders to help us remember the story of the Peacemaker.
Over a thousand years ago on the shores of Onondaga Lake, in present day central New York, democracy was born.
The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca people had been warring against each other. There was great bloodshed and death surrounding us. These people of the five nations had forgotten their ways and their actions saddened the Creator. The Creator decided to send a messenger to the people so that the five nations could live in peace. The messenger is referred to as the Peacemaker.https://www.onondaganation.org/history/