We are all in this together and we are here for one another

I like what Matthew Fox shared in “Creation Spirituality“.

1. The universe is fundamentally a blessing. Our relationship with the Universe fills us with awe.

2. In Creation, God is both immanent and transcendent. This is panentheism which is not theism (God out there) and not atheism (no God anywhere). We experience that the Divine is in all things & all things are in the Divine.

3. God is as much Mother as Father, as much Child as Parent, as much God in mystery as the God in history, as much beyond all words and images as in all forms and beings. We are liberated from the need to cling to God in one form or one literal name.

4. In our lives, it is through the work of spiritual practice that we find our deep and true selves. Through the arts of meditation and silence we cultivate a clarity of mind and move beyond fear into compassion and community.

5. Our inner work can be understood as a four-fold journey involving:
– awe, delight, amazement (known as the Via Positiva)
– uncertainty, darkness, suffering, letting go (Via Negativa)
– birthing, creativity, passion (Via Creativa)
– justice, healing, celebration (Via Transformativa)
We weave through these paths like a spiral danced, not a ladder climbed.

6. Every one of us is a mystic. We can enter the mystical as much through beauty (Via Positiva) as through contemplation and suffering (Via Negativa). We are born full of wonder and can recover it at any age.

7. Every one of us is an artist. Whatever the expression of our creativity, it is our prayer and praise (Via Creativa).

8. Every one of us is a prophet. Our prophetic work is to interfere with all forms of injustice and that which interrupts authentic life (Via Transformativa).

9. Diversity is the nature of the Universe. We rejoice in and courageously honor the rich diversity within the Cosmos and expressed among individuals and across multiple cultures, religions and ancestral traditions.

10. The basic work of God is compassion and we, who are all original blessings and sons and daughters of the Divine, are called to compassion. We acknowledge our shared interdependence; we rejoice at one another’s joys and grieve at one another’s sorrows and labor to heal the causes of those sorrows.

11. There are many wells of faith and knowledge drawing from one underground river of Divine wisdom. The practice of honoring, learning and celebrating the wisdom collected from these wells is Deep Ecumenism. We respect and embrace the wisdom and oneness that arises from the diverse wells of all the sacred traditions of the world.

12. Ecological justice is essential for the sustainability of life on Earth.
Ecology is the local expression of cosmology and so we commit to live in light of this value: to pass on the beauty and health of Creation to future generations.

I think Matthew Fox’s outline of the creation spirituality provides hope and vision for humanity to work together to heal divisions and bridge differences between one another as well as take concrete actions to conserve the environment. When more and more people realise that we are all connected, we will all commit to live in the light of our ecological and cosmological interconnectedness, and so pass on the beauty and health of Creation to our future generations. I like what he shared in the quote below. 

“There’s no such thing as a Jewish ocean and a Lutheran sun and a Buddhist river and a Taoist forest and a Roman Catholic cornfield. Once you move to the level of creation, you’re into an era of deep ecumenism, and I think for Mother Earth to survive we need this awakening of wisdom from all world religions, and not just the five-thousand-year-old patriarchal ones, but the goddess religions, the religions of the native peoples of America, Africa, and Asia, and I think this and this alone is going to awaken the human race — this combination of mystical wisdom — to its own salvation.

A map of the world, showing the major religion...
A map of the world, showing the major religions distributed in the world as of today. A different type of map which views only the religion as a whole excluding denominations or sects of the religions, and is colored by how the religions are distributed not by main religion of country etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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By the year 2050 the global population will have grown to about 9 billion, according to some estimates. How can Mother Earth sustain this growth?

English: World Population Growth 1950-2050Is our Planet overcrowded? Are we heading for massive extinction? How can Mother Earth sustain this growth?

I think the above questions echo the concerns of many people about the growing world population in view of the apparent limited supply of resources and hunger in many regions.

My understanding is that human ingenuity and technology have enabled people to harness energy resources, and grow more foods, and are capable of solving hunger problems. I think one area of challenge is in the distribution of food to those areas that need it the most.

According to this article “We already grow enough food for 10 billion people – and still can’t end hunger”:

“Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity. For the past two decades, the rate of global food production has increased faster than the rate of global population growth. The world already produces more than 1 ½ times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. That’s enough to feed 10 billion people, the population peak we expect by 2050. But the people making less than $2 a day — most of whom are resource-poor farmers cultivating unviably small plots of land — can’t afford to buy this food.

To end hunger we must end poverty and inequality. For this challenge, agroecological approaches and structural reforms that ensure that resource-poor farmers have the land and resources they need for sustainable livelihoods are the best way forward.”

I agree that sustainable farming methods (and reforms in food distribution) are necessary steps to address world hunger, as long as it does not involve any cultivation of GM food (despite its promise of higher crop yields), due to its adverse effects of human health and the environment.

World population

Since different countries experience different rates of population growth, one solution that works for one country may not work as well for another. For example, many developed countries are experiencing declining population growth and are hoping to increase population through encouraging childbirth and immigration to maintain the replacement rate of population and economic growth (assuming they still depend on the current system), Like what this article “U.N. Raises “Low” Population Projection for 2050” says:

“In the near future, however, families in wealthier countries may decide to prolong or reconsider having children due to the economic recession. “The little bit of an increase we’ve seen may peter out,” said Carl Haub, senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau.

But Haub said the observed increases in industrialized-world fertility rates will have a relatively minor effect overall – populations are expected to decline over time if average fertility rates remain below 2.1, which demographers consider the stabilization rate, absent net migration.

“Developed countries have largely painted themselves into a corner now,” Haub said, referring to the likelihood that their low fertility will result in smaller populations in the years ahead. “All the growth will come from developing countries.”

So, many developing countries (in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America) are still experiencing rapid population growth and need to implement family planning measures through education and policies to discourage families from having too many children.

According to this article “World population by country: UN guesses the shape of the world by 2100”:

“The big increases are coming from countries with high fertility rates – the high-fertility countries identified by the UN comprise of 39 countries in Africa, nine in Asia, six in Oceania and four in Latin America.”

On one hand, high fertility rates can be seen as a positive thing as it means better healthcare and higher standard of living has resulted in low infant mortality rate. Besides, the farming culture in developing countries usually encourages having 3 or more children to help out in farms. On the other hand, the challenge is in ensuring enough resources to support the growing population in these countries.

Usually, due to rural-urban migration in developing countries, when more people adopt city life in big cities, they will naturally tend to have smaller families, as they don’t need many helping hands since they no longer live in farms, and people living in urban areas are usually too busy with work and family life to have many kids too. So, besides education on family planning, sometimes natural forces play a part in the human evolutionary process in rural-urban migration, that result in families naturally making decisions to have fewer children due to various constraints presenting themselves over time.