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Friday, July 27, 2007

The Basic Idea

Although our website has this information, its spread around a bit, mostly in the FAQ. It ought to be collected in one place, and be easy to find on the website. So here is my first attempt at gathering the basic ideas together. It won't go on the website until it's been discussed for a few days on the mail list. Then I will modify it, and send it to webmaster Maurice.
The basic idea is to have an organization that fills the role of a church in peoples lives, but adapted to the 21st century.

adapting to the 21st century means:

- acceptance of what we don't know for sure. (God, afterlife, etc.)
- confidence in experience and science for what we can know.
- admiration and protection of the living earth. (the biosphere)

Filling the role of a church means:

- organization based on local groups of people who know one another.
- regular meetings that are a positive experience for the people who attend.
- education, to supplement the standard sources of education.
- environmental activism via local projects and petitioning governments


Friday, July 20, 2007

Bowling Alone

That's the title of a book I'm reading. "Bowling Alone" was recommended to me by Peter, one of our mail list members. A surprising thing I learned there was that none of the famous environmental organizations is driven by local groups. All of them are professional fund-raising organizations whose members merely send checks. Whether its Greenpeace, or the Environmental Defense Fund, or Friends of the Earth, or any of a dozen others, the general style and pattern is the same. These groups are professional lobbying organizations, with headquarters in Washington, DC. (Some of them use a different city.) They get their members by means of bulk mail! In fact they mostly use the same mailing lists, which they buy from companies that sell mailing lists. The majority of the "members" do not even know who the other "members" are.

This is not what I want for the Church of Earth. I'm hoping for an organization built upon local groups of people who know each other. It may not be easy to achieve, since this is going against the trend of the times, but such an organization will be much more durable and effective. This is an old-fashioned idea. It was the normal way of doing things 40 years ago. That was when the U.S. could put men on the moon, and bring them back safely. Rescuing the earth from deforestation, pollution and global warming will be a larger challenge than that.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Living Planet

"The Living Planet" is a video documentary series by David Attenborough, who is justly famous for this sort of thing. I've been watching it over the past several weeks. There are 12 one-hour episodes.

An Australian website had this to say about it:

David Attenborough presents his epic portrait of the earth's environments and how plants and animals have been adapted to their physical surroundings. Filmed on 5 continents, the Living Planet begins with the discovery of how huge forces formed the earth, how continents move and how the planet has become so varied.

The next ten episodes then concentrate on different environments of the Earth: the frozen Poles, the northern forests, jungle, grassland, deserts, the sky, rivers and lakes, tidal shores, islands and oceans.

The final episode then ties in the human angle looking at how humans have changed the Earth's habitats, destroying but creating new ones. It also investigates what future may hold for the whole community on our amazing living planet.

It occurs to me this could be something like scripture for the Church of Earth.
Not Scripture - "The Living Planet" :)

It's available on 4 DVD disks.

This was filmed almost 30 years ago! I wonder how many of the creatures that he filmed are now in danger of extinction, and which of the regions that he filmed are still in a similar condition.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How the Church of Earth Began

I had this idea early in 2007, but it just stewed in the back of my
brain until late April. It seemed that the idea would not let go of me,
do I decided to take it seriously, and see if a little flame could be

The motivation is to help save the planet, which I think is in
serious long term danger from pollution and deforestation. A church
seems necessary, rather than a club or society, because only a church
can grow to a very large membership. Only a very large membership can influence public policy.

The basic idea is to create something that plays the role of a church in peoples lives. The focus of attention is the biological earth. So you
could think of it as an environmental lobbying group, but with a social
dimension. I want to have a building and regular meetings. I want the
meetings to be enjoyable, with humor and music a regular occurrence.

There will also be an educational dimension. I want people to learn
more about the biological earth.

I made a bunch of cards. An early version is shown here. The slogans
on the card briefly explain the core principles. Although we are a
church, we differ in these important ways from most established
churches. Although we use the word "church", our orientation is toward science rather than traditional lore.

The general plan is to start on the internet, with a mailing list and
website. As soon as possible I hope to see local groups form, and
eventually to have local congregations, and church buildings. A key
part of the plan is that I don't plan to be in charge. I expect many
other people to assume key leadership responsibilities.


(See the FAQ at the website for more details.)