Why we left the “a” out of the name, Center for New Creation

Posted April 9th, 2015 in Blog, Featured, New Creation News Comments Off on Why we left the “a” out of the name, Center for New Creation

Sometimes, when people hear the name of this organization for the first time, you can see how they automatically  insert, or want to insert, the article, “a” – center for a new creation. But that is NOT what we mean. Leaving it out is quite intentional.

TRAVELAn article signifies a noun, in this case, a thing to be created. But what we are naming here is not an “it;” it’s an action, something we do – we make new creation, we create – like an artist before a canvas, or a writer, pen and journal in hand (at least that is still how some of us begin the act of writing). Creation in this sense is not a result, a finished project. It is an ongoing work. It is a journey, full of potential, of surprises, of new insights, new revelations.

What the CNC has been since its beginning is a place where new creation happens, unfolds, is in process, the way Spring is unfolding right now in the northern hemisphere.

We are reinvigorating this little non-profit because we can’t think of a better name for what is so needed in our world right now – we are in desperate need of some new creation everywhere and in nearly every aspect of our lives – economic, cultural, political, and spiritual. Nothing less than a complete overhaul of the way we live on this planet, and the values and frameworks of meaning that encompass how we live, is required.

As Thomas Berry put it, we need to change the human relationship with nature from the current destructive one to a mutually enhancing one, and we need to do this soon, yesterday, right now.

Alice's Garden, in the heart of urban Milwaukee

Alice’s Garden, in the heart of urban Milwaukee, where new creation is ongoing

Of course, we are not starting that here. We are not beginning something brand new that does not yet exist. In fact, new creation is going on all over the place and has been for a long time now – people reinventing how they live, choosing non-participation as far as possible within industrial/consumer society, putting their hands back in the Earth to grow food, committing to the work of ecological and social justice, learning again how to live simply and lightly on the planet, offering meaningful solidarity with the poor, the marginalized, the discriminated-against.

Indeed, one of the things we want to make more visible and accessible to more people is precisely this fact – that new creation is happening everywhere, right in the heart of the old way of life that has become so destructive. The only reason it is not more visible is because it gets lost in the noise or the cultural fog of this consumer, corporate, media-saturated society.

One of the most important steps we can take in finding our way down the path of new creation is to clear the fog, turn down the noise, slow down, pay attention, and get into the flow of what nature is trying to teach us now.

As we ponder the work we want to do more of in coming days, it has this two-fold path:

1) to follow the course of the unfolding crisis, to know what is happening and why, to tell that story wherever we are invited to present, to engage the wrenching conversation about the implications of the crisis for our western way of life and the extent of the change required of us now;

Pipeline protest at Burnaby Mountain, Canada

Pipeline protest at Burnaby Mountain, Canada

2) to show where new creation is occurring in response to the crisis, to share the stories of communities coming together to stop the destruction, to defend their places, to partner with the living communities where they are to create new relationships with the sentient and non-sentient beings that surround them, and to share some of the new ideas about how we scale up alternative ways of living to create new cultures and new economies that can make the future a lot less scary.

I imagine most people who come to this site are more than aware of the seriousness of our situation, and most of you are already new creators. How can we begin to make this new human adventure more apparent in our world? How can we make manifest the new ways of life emerging from our cities and towns, our local communities where we engage the struggle to preserve and renew life in partnership with those who suffer most from the ravages of this corporate, extractive economy?

If we are creating a new culture or cultures (and we are), how can our energies combine in a way that begins to tip the scales in favor of these new cultures?

We (the big “we”) come to this from many angles – as social justice activists and community organizers, as people of faith and spiritual seekers, as culture workers (artists, writers, poets, musicians, song-writers, etc.), as thinkers and philosophers, as naturalists and scientists, teachers and parents – we come to this work of new creation from a whole diverse set of life experiences, talents, knowledge, and wisdom. We need it all. Breaking open that innate wisdom and unique perspective that each of us brings to this work is a much needed process now in this “all hands on deck” urgency that the times require.

Never has what each of us has to offer this world had such significance as it does now. Is that scary – or one of the most exhilarating things we could ever imagine? Did we ever feel depressed wondering if our lives have meaning? Well, here ya’ go – more meaning perhaps than we ever knew before!

Want to leave you with a couple of videos. One is David Suzuki, explaining in just over 3 minutes why economic growth has become suicidal and completely impossible. This is a message about the urgency.

One Minute to Midnight – David Suzuki

The other is from Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute, about “the law of diminishing returns” – the moment at which we have now arrived in this fossil-fueled global economy. We can’t keep on like this – and he has some pointers at the end about the directions we need to go, about the path of new creation, about changing expectations, thinking slower, smaller, simpler, because if we don’t…well, diminishing returns could become diminishment of all we care about and love.

The Law of Diminishing Returns – Richard Feinberg

I think you will find these very useful, a couple of great ways to start up some animated conversation. We need the ferment. We need to start getting the ground ready, stirring it up, not being afraid to unsettle people a little.

Just think about California for a moment. Despite the drought, in February, some affluent southern CA communities INCREASED their water consumption, and despite the state mandating a cut in urban water usage of 25%, the total was a mere 3% [see this AP article].

If even in the midst of such extremes of drought, in a situation where NASA reports that the state’s water supply could be gone in one year, so many humans still expect water to come out their taps while they sit on the patio by their green lawns, what hope do we have of not reaching Suzuki’s midnight? Keep in mind also that no water restrictions have been put on industrial agriculture or the oil and gas industry. This is denial in the extreme, and a fine example of just how pathological this culture of industrial growth and consumerism has become.

Good idea

Good idea

These things tell us just how hard this transition is going to be. We U.S. consumers are used to a certain way of life; we have come to take many things for granted with the assumption that we can presume those things. But we have arrived – and surpassed – the Earth’s limits, this finite biosphere. Living as if that is not true won’t help us.

This work of reinventing human life on the planet has become a necessity of this generation. We are the only ones that can do this. There is no one else but we who are here right now.

We need to get some new creation seeds planted so that new life can emerge. You know, after all the damage done – to our planet, our human communities, our psyches and spirits – it may well turn out to be a better life than this one, more loving, tender, just, peaceful, and respectful of all that makes Earth a place that so many for so long considered sacred. We need to realize its sacredness again.FAMILY

We can all experience a feeling of deep admiration and love when we see the great harmony, elegance, and beauty of the earth. A simple branch of cherry blossom, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat—all bear witness to the earth’s masterful creativity. Every advance in our scientific understanding deepens our admiration and love for this wondrous planet.

When we can truly see and understand the earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one. Only when we’ve fallen back in love with the earth will our actions spring from reverence and the insight of our interconnectedness.  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

No, we are not making an “it” here. We are engaging a task, a path. The Earth unfolds. It re-creates and renews over and over again. Our work is to participate in that unfolding, to be part of what makes new creation happen, not for our human ego’s sake, but for the sake of the living planet itself.

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