Hard to believe, but I started my career in the Canadian ecumenical justice world 15 years ago, and have been with my current employer just over 13 years. I was due for a sabbatical 8 years ago but never found the time to take it…
Now, though, after a tumultuous 3 years (tumult can be both good and bad), I’ve decided it’s time to stop and reflect on where on this earth I am rooted and how that defines who I am and what I do. So I’m taking a study leave to explore what I am calling a “theology of dirt” to explore how our place in world shapes us and what we do with our lives. It’s not going to be an exhaustive or a scholarly venture. And while I will undoubtedly benefit from this sabbatical, I don’t want it to be entirely or even primarily self-reflective. The questions I pose may begin with me but I hope to end up with reflections that draw on experiences other than my own and that have relevance for other activists, faith-based or not.
Who am I? Expatriate Newfoundlander. Spouse. Birdwatcher. Social justice advocate. Gardener. Historian. Christian. Perhaps even in that order.
The next two months are going to be fun. A week at the Bartimaeus Institute in California, exploring theology and permaculture. Time with friends on their Appalachian farm which they are letting evolve back to nature and which, I think, has a strong influence on who they are and what they do. New lessons to be learned from both these experiences. Time to think about previous journeys in the Boreal forest and Amazon rain forest, both of them home to Indigenous peoples struggling to protect their territories from the devastation of the oil economy. Lessons to relearn there. Time to sit in my own small patch. Work to be done there.
I’ve always been moved by the opening lines of Psalm 24: The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it; the world, and those who live in it …and in a sense this passage captures what this blog, “god is in the dirt” aims to explore. I’ll be posting here, once a week at least, more if I am so moved and able. Check back.