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Earth Congregations: Nature as Classroom and Sanctuary

Instructor Chris Highland, M. Div.

Class Meetings: None

The open doorways of the natural cosmos reveal beauty and wisdom accessible to each person. Students will take a closer look at eco-village and green village concepts, as well as transformative possibilities for existing spiritual communities. For instance, what would happen if a church, temple, synagogue or mosque chose to turn their building into a community center addressing social issues in their town and held their spiritual gatherings in a more Pagan way, near trees, waterfalls and wildlife? What if people of many faiths and no faiths met in these natural environments to learn, honor and respect diverse perspectives with the purpose of widening the root structure for active compassion and justice? Each student will construct their own “earth congregation” model and show the ways in which the earth-related setting presents the organic foundation for cooperative action in a diverse community.

This class is not a graduate-level course, but students will be expected to challenge themselves to read and digest academic material and attend discussions prepared with their own observations and questions. This class will meet with the Master’s course M6241/N6121.

Required Texts:

  • Anderson, Lorraine (editor) At Home on This Earth. University Press of New England (2002). ISBN 158465208.
  • Shepard, Odell (editor). The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals. Dover (1961). ISBN 486207412
  • Burroughs, John. Leaf and Tendril. Houghton and Mifflin (1908). ISBN 0

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