According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater
Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma
It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds
assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Thomas Jay Oord - Prevenient Grace & Questions of God's Love





Prevenient Grace All the Way Down
by Thomas Jay Oord

In recent years, I've been developing and exploring a theological view I call "essential kenosis." It fits nicely with theological traditions that say creatures have genuine freedom to respond well or poorly to God.

I see parallels between essential kenosis and a theory called "prevenient grace," which emerged earlier in Christian history. Prevenient grace says God acts first ("pre") in love ("grace") to provide freedom (among other things) to humans. We must decide how we will respond to God's initiating action of love. Today, those in the Wesleyan tradition are most likely to embrace prevenient grace theory.

I believe essential kenosis extends prevenient grace beyond its usual application. Essential kenosis says God graces ALL creatures, not just humans. God gives freedom to complex creatures, agency and/or self-organization to less complex, and spontaneity to the most basic creaturely entities. 

It's prevenient grace all the way down. 

Essential kenosis says something else not usually associated with prevenient grace. It says God necessarily gives freedom, agency, self-organization or mere existence to creation. "Necessarily" means God must give, because giving in love is who God is.

God gives gifts in each moment, because God's nature is self-giving, others-empowering love. This means these loving gifts are irrevocable, to use the Apostle Paul's words (Rm. 11:29). Consequently, God can't control anyone OR anything.

Wesleyans argue prevenient grace makes a huge difference in understanding salvation. God never forces us to repent; but God empowers and calls us. When God’s action is understood in the light of love, prevenient grace makes sense to many.

Essential kenosis expands the notion of prevenient grace for salvation to say God expresses uncontrolling love for all creation. This makes a difference for understanding how God acts to redeem all creatures and all creation, as the Apostle Paul suggests (see Rm. 8:20-21). God doesn't force humans, other creatures, or any aspect of creation!

I need to develop in detail an uncontrolling love eschatology. But I give an overview of what one looks like in my book, God Can't. I call it "the relentless love" view. For details, see the last chapter of the book.



God Can't: How to Believe in God and Love after Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils by [Thomas Jay  Oord]
Amazon Link


The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence by [Thomas Jay Oord]
Amazon Link



Five Questions of My Theology of Love

by Thomas Jay Oord
December 10, 2019

An academic book of essays on love was recently published. My friend Kevin Vanhoozer wrote the first essay, and the second is my response.

Kevin criticizes my theology of love in various ways, preferring instead John Webster’s theology. I address his criticisms in my full essay, but I thought I’d excerpt a portion here. For the full essay, get the book.

Amazon Link

Kevin asks five questions, which I list below and offer brief answers. I’m posting these because they might be questions others have.


1) How does Oord reconcile his definition of love as intentional action with his insistence that God necessarily loves everyone, everywhere, all the time?

Answer: I affirm that God can love both intentionally and necessarily. I see no conflict in affirming both. In my view, God necessarily loves, but God freely chooses various ways to love.

Because love comes logically first in God’s nature and God “cannot deny himself” (2 Tm. 2:13), God must love. God is not free to do otherwise. But God is free when deciding how to love. The how of love is contingent, not necessary.

I embrace the essentialist tradition when it comes to believing God cannot deny God’s own nature. But because I believe God faces an open and yet to be determined future, I also embrace voluntarist claims about God’s free choices in choosing how to love. God freely acts in various ways when anticipating what may occur in the future.

As an analogy, let’s assume that my human nature leads me necessarily to act humanly. I can necessarily act as a human and still intentionally choose to type this sentence instead of another. I’m free in this sense. In fact, I’m free to type a wide variety of sentences, despite not being free to be other than human.

In this way, necessity in nature and free intentional action coexist. We can necessarily be human and yet free to act variously as humans. Analogously, God can necessarily love everyone and yet freely and intentionally choose how to love moment by moment.

---

(2) Does Oord truly preserve the Creator/creature distinction, or is God on the same metaphysical level with the rest of created reality? If the call to love that God gives each creature is in one sense “no different from the causal influence that other creatures exert,” then doesn’t God exist on the same plane of being as everything else?

Answer: At the start of his essay, Vanhoozer provides a teaser about the worries he voices in this question and that emerge later in his essay. He worries that my theology might be a Feuerbachian projection.

Vanhoozer offers theological realism as an alternative to anthropomorphic hubris, a position that says we can be wrong in our descriptions of God’s love. I join Vanhoozer in being a realist in this sense. I don’t think we can ever grasp divine love fully or define it perfectly. We see through a glass darkly.

I also believe, however, that we should seek to know something of the God whom we can never fully know. I think we should try to grasp divine love as best we can and define it as well as possible. In this, I steer clear of both absolute apophatism and thoroughgoing anthropomorphism.

Wikipedia - Apophatic theology, also known as negative theology, is a form of theological thinking and religious practice which attempts to approach God, the Divine, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God. It forms a pair together with cataphatic theology, which approaches God or the Divine by affirmations or positive statements about what God is.
The apophatic tradition is often, though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which aims at the vision of God, the perception of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception.

To make sense of God’s love, actions, and more, I think we should draw bidirectional analogies between Creator and creatures. Without them, I think we fail to do justice to the biblical witness and fail to understand well what it means to be made in the image of God. We can embrace such bidirectional analogies without considering God to be on the same metaphysical level or plane as creatures. Creator and creatures differ in some respects but also share some similarities. I’ll address this more in the second half of this response.

---

(3) Does Oord derive his definition of love from the event of Jesus Christ or from somewhere else?

Answer: Vanhoozer asks this question as an either/or choice. For me, the answer is both/and. I accept the revelation of God’s love found in Jesus and the revelation of God in creation more generally. As I see it, the clearest expression of love comes in Jesus, and therefore he becomes crucial to defining love well. But I’m also confident that my views of love have been shaped by the broader biblical witness, the Christian community, and the revelation of God in creation more generally.

Because God is omnipresent and self-revealing to all creation, those who know nothing of Jesus can accept my definition of love. In fact, adherents of other religious traditions affirm my definition. Those involved in other religions may find resonance between my views of love and what they find about love in their own texts and communities, thanks to God’s prevenient grace expressed throughout all creation.[1]

---

(4) In “solving” the problem of evil by stipulating God’s nature as uncontrolling love, does Oord render insoluble the equally important question, “What may we hope?” Oord stresses the importance of human participation in what he calls “participatory eschatology”: “God’s kenotic love invites creatures to participate in securing victory.” But why think that the entropic universe, much less rebellious children, will come around to God’s way at the end of time? Does not this solution to the problem of evil render evil metaphysically unavoidable and necessary?

Answer: There are several questions here. All of them point to eschatological concerns. Answering them well requires at least a book. But I’ll offer a few brief responses that I hope provide light. (I also offered a blog essay on my eschatology, which readers can find here.)

My theology of love’s eschatological vision does not support the kind of universalism that some theologians desire. While it supports the hope that all will cooperate with God, it does not support theories that require divine coercion for redemption.

My participatory eschatology provides some guarantees. It guarantees that God never gives up seeking to save the lost. It guarantees that God’s love is always uncontrolling. God never uses coercion but always calls creatures to say “yes” to abundant life. This inviting, empowering, but uncontrolling love is expressed both in this life and the next. God’s wooing never ceases.

My eschatology also guarantees that those who cooperate with God in this life and the next enjoy abundant life. It supports the hope that cooperators enjoy untold bliss in the afterlife. It cannot guarantee that everyone will enjoy this bliss, because it says God never forces the good life on others. God respects the freedom of rebellious children who continue to reject salvation.

In sum, my eschatology rejects unilaterally secured universalism. But it also rejects the view that God gives up loving creatures and offering eternal life. My vision provides genuine hope for abundant life here and now and eternal bliss there and then for those who cooperate with God’s love.

---

(5) If Oord is right, is the God who is uncontrolling love more deserving of our worship or  [our] sympathy?

Answer: The God of uncontrolling love is worthy of our worship. I worship this God unreservedly and wholeheartedly. Doing so brings me great joy!

I’ve spent significant time thinking about what vision of God provokes my worship. I’ve come to think it’s impossible for me to worship a God who could prevent genuine evil but fails to do so. I don’t unequivocally respect humans who fail to prevent evil when their doing so was possible.

So I can’t unequivocally worship a God capable of preventing genuine evil but who fails to do so. I may dread this God. But I could not unreservedly love and worship such a being. As I see it, the God who can control is unworthy of my worship.

Vanhoozer’s mentions pity as a possible response to my vision of God, and this reminds me of a recent conversation. I was explaining to a fellow theologian that the uncontrolling God cannot prevent genuine evil by acting alone. My friend responded that he prefers a God who can control. He smirked and said, “You know, Tom, your God is just doing the best He can.” I thought about his remark and responded, “Your God could be doing a whole lot more. But He apparently doesn’t care enough to do so!”

I mention this conversation because it illustrates how love is my fundamental theological intuition. When I think about a God worthy of worship, I find far more winsome the vision of a God who consistently loves but cannot control than a God who can control but loves inconsistently by causing or allowing evil.

Some claim the God they affirm both controls and loves consistently. In light of evil, they say it is a mystery how God does both. This measure of mystery, however, detracts from my worship. I’m unable to worship a God who cannot be understood to such a degree.

I can’t get motivated to worship an incomprehensible God.

- TJO

*[1] As just one example, see Rabbi Bradley Artson’s work on love, which draws from my definition (God of Becoming and Relationship [Nashville: Jewish Lights, 2016].


Ecological Civilization in a Post-Pandemic World


Earth Day Wallpaper Download | Earth day, Earth

We need an ecological civilization before it's too late ...

In this report today I have listed an introduction to progressive ecological institutes, a few process philosophy thinkers such as Whitehead, Cobb, Griffin, and McDaniel, a well known ecologist in Bill McKibben, and some collected thoughts from Pope Francis, Philip Clayton, and even Wikipedia. Of note in this area of endeavor is that it began back in 1980 forty years ago, which I find amazing.

Another item of note is that it is a global effort found across all forms of governance - from Western capitalism to Soviet and Chinese Marxism (falling unto the category of "organic Marxism"). What this means is that the world has been paying attention to Climate Change and its contribution to the earth's destruction in the face of heavy industrialization. It also means that there are some world leaders and postmodern economies which are actively seeking to correct civilizations' devolution with the earth by restoring it back to health as we begin to understand how difficult and massive this undertaking will be. In China, their concern is so high as to write earthcare into its communist constitution. Again, amazing.

In fact, every form of government will need to readjust how they think of the web of life, ecological social justice, and ecological sustainabilities in the face of economic injustice, power, and resource hoarding. The need for clean water, fertile agricultural soil, and green spaces cannot subsist on a regional level. The earth is amazingly connected in every way possible, which is why process philosophy is so necessary in this undertaking. Every action produces succeeding actions large or small, good or bad, and like the butterfly effect, simply protecting one region of the earth will not be enough to restore the fullness of the earth back to itself. It will be a very difficult task to do in the face of humanity's heavy needs placed upon it.

Producing ecological civilizations will also demand that each global economy and global society move to a form of constructive green postmodernism in order to restore a harmony between human populations to our planet earth - as well as to one another. How this can be done in the face of sovereign national interests remains a mystery to me but that it must be done is an indisputable fact.

Perhaps the global actions against the Covid-19 virus of 2020 might launch an investment into global cooperation against self interest and nationalised propaganda. The crisis we are now living through is but a small matter compared to the catastrophic anthropocene age we have created and is propelling humanity's - and this world's diverse biotas - towards rapid extinction. Rethinking mankind's many millennia of disruptive coexistence must demand a fundamental restructuring our relationships with one another and the earth from this day forward. Eco-civilizations may provide just that as we learn to displace ourselves, and our needs, for the betterment of each other's social equality, justice and radical earthcare.

R.E. Slater
April 19, 2020


Ecological Civilization of Contemporary China: Cao Baoyin ...


We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social,
but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.
- Pope Francis


In an ecological civilization the economy is in service to society,
not the other way around, and society is a subset of  the larger web of life.
- Philip Clayton


Ecological Civilization presupposes the framework of a “constructive postmodernism,”
as opposed to an extension of modernist practices or a “deconstructive postmodernism,”
which stems from the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida. - Wikipedia



Nature Background, Photos, and Wallpaper for Free Download (With ...

​Philip Clayton's Four Questions
as we anticipate a post-pandemic world

The pandemic is not just a speed bump, momentarily disrupting our habitual ways of living in the world and organizing life. It's a crisis and an opportunity - so we learn from Philip Clayton's PPT shared below and the work of the Institute for Ecological Civilization, of which he is president.

Indeed, the pandemic and its emerging aftermath are a twofold revelation of sorts:

(1) a revelation of the failures of our prevailing economic, social, and cultural systems to meet the needs of people, other animals, and the earth; and, conversely,

(2) a revelation of the best and only hope, which is that we build local communities that are creative, compassionate, participatory, diverse, humane to animals, and good for the earth, with no one left behind.

Philip Clayton and others speak of these communities as the building blocks of ecological civilizations. In such civilizations inhabitants live with respect and care for one another, other animals, and the earth, mindful that they are small but included in a larger web of life. The ‘economy’ is understood as a subset of the web of life, not the other way around.

Where to begin? If you, like me, want to play a role in helping bring about this kind of civilization, Philip Clayton invites us to ask ourselves four questions as individuals and local communities as we anticipate the aftermath of the pandemic:
  • How will you think differently?
  • How can you organize smaller-scale communities?
  • How can you retain different lifestyles among friends and family?
  • How can you expand these innovations to the community level?

Exploring these discussions is indeed something we can do, now.


Institute for Ecological Civilization


Find out why we started our non-profit, why we are
working on the transition to an ecological civilization,
and what this means. Learn more about EcoCiv at
http://www.ecociv.org



Resources:
The Institute for Ecological Civilization



Goals for Creating an Ecological Civilization:
  • Holistic Thinking: We create community across the sectors of society to cultivate an emerging ecological civilization.
  • Outreach: We communicate the stories of our partners to help shift the narrative to a sustainable and just future.
  • Partnerships: We collaborate with key actors, policy makers, and visionary thinkers, who can help illuminate the path to an equitable and sustainable society.
  • Education: We host conferences around the world to encourage hopeful, imaginative responses to the challenge of climate change and social issues.


What Is Ecological Civilization?





What Is Ecological Civilization?: Crisis, Hope, and the Future of the Planet by [Philip Clayton, Wm. Andrew Schwartz]
Amazon Link


What Is Ecological Civilization?
Crisis, Hope, and the Future of the Planet
by Philip Clayton (Author), Wm. Andrew Schwartz (Author)


The present trajectory of life on this planet is unsustainable, and the underlying causes of our environmental crisis are inseparable from our social and economic systems. The massive inequality between the rich and the poor is not separate from our systems of unlimited growth, the depletion of natural resources, the extinction of species, or global warming. As climate predictions continue to exceed projections, it is clear that hopelessness is rapidly becoming our worst enemy. What is needed—urgently—is a new vision for the flourishing of life on this planet, a vision the authors are calling an ecological civilization.

Along the way they have learned that this term brings hope unlike any other. It reminds us that humans have gone through many civilizations in the past, and the end of a particular civilization does not necessarily mean the end of humanity, much less the end of all life on the planet. It is not hard for us to conceive of a society after the fall of modernity, in which humans live in an equitable and sustainable way with one another and the planet.

This book explores the idea of ecological civilization by asking eight key questions about it and drawing answers from relational philosophies, the ecological sciences, systems thinking and network theory, and the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. It concludes that a genuinely ecological civilization is not a utopian ideal, but a practical way to live. To recognize this, and to begin to take steps to establish it, is the foundation for realistic hope.



Xi Jinping Thought of Ecological Civilization
[How China Is Approaching Ecology]




Ecological civilization

Ecological civilization is the final goal of social and environmental reform within a given society. It implies that the changes required in response to global climate disruption and social injustices are so extensive as to require another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles. Broadly construed, ecological civilization involves a synthesis of economic, educational, political, agricultural, and other societal reforms toward sustainability.

Although the term was first coined in the 1980s, it did not see widespread use until 2007, when “ecological civilization” became an explicit goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In April 2014, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization founded a sub-committee on ecological civilization. Proponents of ecological civilization agree with Pope Francis who writes,

"We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.

Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature."[5] As such, ecological civilization emphasizes the need for major environmental and social reforms that are both long-term and systemic in orientation.

History

In 1984, former Soviet Union environment experts proposed the term “Ecological Culture” (экологической культуры) in an article entitled “Ways of Fostering Ecological Culture in Individuals under the Conditions of Mature Socialism" which was published in Scientific Communism, Moscow, vol. 2. A summary of this article was published in the Chinese newspaper the Guangming Daily, where the notion of ecological culture was translated into Chinese as 生态文明 (shēngtài wénmíng), or ecological civilization.

Two years later, the concept of ecological civilization was picked up in China, and was first used by Ye Qianji (1909–2017), an agricultural economist, in 1987. Professor Ye defined ecological civilization by drawing from the ecological sciences and environmental philosophy.

The first time the phrase “ecological civilization” was used as a technical term in an English-language book was in 1995. Roy Morrison, an environmentalist, coined the phrase in his book Ecological Democracy, writing that “An ecological civilization is based on diverse lifeways sustaining linked natural and social ecologies.”

The term is found more extensively in Chinese discussions beginning in 2007. In 2012, the Communist Party of China (CPC) included the goal of achieving an ecological civilization in its constitution, and it also featured in its five-year plan. In the Chinese context, the term generally presupposes the framework of a “constructive postmodernism,” as opposed to an extension of modernist practices or a “deconstructive postmodernism,” which stems from the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida.

Both “ecological civilization” and “constructive postmodernism” have been associated with the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. David Ray Griffin, a process philosopher and professor at Claremont School of Theology, first used the term “constructive postmodernism” in his 1989 book, Varieties of Postmodern Theology.

The largest international conference held on the theme “ecological civilization” (Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization) took place at Pomona College in June 2015, bringing together roughly 2,000 participants from around the world and featuring such leaders in the environmental movement as Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva, John B. Cobb, Jr., Wes Jackson, and Sheri Liao. This was held in conjunction with the 9th International Forum on Ecological Civilization--an annual conference series in Claremont, CA established in 2006.

Out of the Seizing an Alternative conference, Philip Clayton and Wm. Andrew Schwartz co-founded the Institute for Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv), and co-authored the book What is Ecological Civilization: Crisis, Hope, and the Future of the Planet, which was published in 2019.

Since 2015, the Chinese discussion of ecological civilization is increasingly associated with an “organic” form of Marxism. “Organic Marxism” was first used by Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr in their 2014 book, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe. The book, which was translated into Chinese and published by the People’s Press in 2015, describes ecological civilization as an orienting goal for the global ecological movement.

A defence of ecological civilization as the ultimate goal of humanity, has been mounted by Arran Gare in The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization: A Manifesto for the Future, which was published in 2016.


* * * * * * * * * * * *


Alain Badiou - Being and Event - YouTube
Amazon Book Link

Book Blurb

Being and Event is the greatest work of Alain Badiou, France's most important living philosopher. Long-awaited in translation, Being and Event makes available to an English-speaking readership Badiou's groundbreaking work on set theory - the cornerstone of his whole philosophy. The book makes the scope and aim of Badiou's whole philosophical project clear, enabling full comprehension of Badiou's significance for contemporary philosophy. Badiou draws upon and is fully engaged with the European philosophical tradition from Plato onwards; Being and Event deals with such key figures as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, Rousseau, Heidegger and Lacan. This wide-ranging book is organised in a careful, precise and novel manner, reflecting the philosophical rigour of Badiou's thought. Unlike many contemporary Continental philosophers, Badiou - who is also a novelist and dramatist - writes lucidly and cogently, making his work far more accessible and engaging than much philosophy, and actually a pleasure to read. This English language edition includes a new preface, written by Badiou himself, especially for this translation. Being and Event is a must-have for Badiou's significant following and anyone interested in contemporary Continental philosophy.





* * * * * * * * * * * *


Ecological Civilizations must attract all forms of governance if they are to succeed. Of curiosity is whether such eco-revivals will truly liberate societies from human trafficking, human bondage, abysmal human right's records, poverty, social inequality and injustice. If they do not, or will not, (though there is always the possibility that they can not), then its stated goals of a generative humanity recreating a generative restoration of ecological awareness may simply prove humanity's inability to create goodness over sin and evil.

I attended a week long class held by the French philosopher Alain Badiou one summer not many years ago to hear a discussion of Being and Event. Not being a philosopher, or one with the kind of depth many who had travelled across the world to attend, I did what I could to hang on, take notes, think through the subjects presented, and attend the casual afternoon group discussions between the class and Alain himself for Q&A. I remember three things from these sessions:

i) Badou had created an elegant, organic philosophical system over a lifetime of thought and projection based upon the sufferings he had witnessed in post-Nazi, French Colonial North Africa. The sufferings the population experienced was an extension and greater elevation of the sufferings of those under Nazi rule in the French contolled African regions.

ii) If ever a non-Christian philosophy could elicit generative healing, loving, and helpful modes of living, then Badiou's understanding of Being and Event is such a one. When he was done, after dotting the i's and crossing the t's, he had what for all practical purposes was the Apostolic Gospel of the New Testament. It was Jesus-like through and through. More curiously, the system of reality he had identified held an atoning doctrine offering hope and healing which made me think that the salvation spoken of in the bible was an identifiable trait found within humanity given a little thought and perspective. In many ways, Badiou's Being and Event reflected the Jesus gospel of the Bible.

iii) Lastly, Badiou approached the subject of Being and Event from a holistic concept wrapped around the freedom which could be found within humanity. From its center it extended either left or right along a spectrum of socio-economic and socio-psychological concepts. Being a Maoist - based upon his experiences in North Africa - he saw that Marxism was two halves of the same coin. In Chinese communism he identified it with his concept of Being whereas in Russian communism he identified it as Event. They were the same thing but with different polar emphasis.




Alain Badiou - Being and Appearance (With images) | Alain badiou ...


Figure 1 from 'Unlearning' hegemony : an exploration of the ...





I would have been quite interested in Badiou's reflection of Western capitalism with all its ills and goodness in comparison with Marxism's Being and Event. However, should the idea of a generative ecological process actually be birthed from authoritarian nations willing to relax their societal regulations for the good of all, then I think that comparison will be made practically to us by their results. It waits to be seen if Western governments can adequately respond to the grave needs of this ecological century given the complex measure of responses needed. With the Paris Climate Accord many Western nations are looking to participate in ecological revival even as other countries like the United States refuse to participate. This latter perhaps propelled by recent authoritarian controls seeping into its democratic system to the growing ills of its pluralistic society. Again, time will tell.

R.E. Slater
April 19, 2020

Xi Jinping: Scholar in a cave
CGTN | 1.56M subscribers

“I had more time than ever to read when I was in rural areas.” - During his youth, Xi Jinping spent years in the countryside experiencing the hardship of rural life. He also took up every possible chance to enrich his mind through reading, laying a solid foundation for his future political career. 



Wikipedia Reference - Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping[note 2] (/ʃiː dʒɪnˈpɪŋ/; Chinese: 习近平; Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕǐ tɕîn.pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician serving as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Xi has been the paramount leader, the highest-ranking official in China, since 2012 and he officially received the title of "leadership core" from the CPC in 2016. Xi has also been a member of the 17th, 18th, 19th CPC Politburo Standing Committee since 2007.

The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a cave in the village of Liangjiahe, where he worked as the party secretary. After studying chemical engineering at the Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier student", Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian from 1999 to 2002. He was also governor, then party secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of the party secretary of Shanghai Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to replace him for a brief period in 2007. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Chinese paramount leader Hu Jintao's presumed successor. Xi was vice president from 2008 to 2013 and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.

Xi is the first general secretary born after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to impose internal unity. His anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. He has also enacted or promoted more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China's claims in the South China Sea, and its advocacy for free trade and globalization. He has sought to expand China's African and Eurasian influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.

As the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People's Republic,[2] Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. Xi's political thoughts have been written into the party and state constitutions,[3] and a cult of personality has developed around him.[4][5] Xi has been labelled a "dictator" by some political observers citing an increase of censorship and mass surveillance, deterioration in human rights and the removal of term limits for the President under his tenure.[a]


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Green is gold: The strategy and actions
of China's ecological civilization

Source UNEP Posted 26 May 2016 Originally published 26 May 2016

The Chinese government has been paying close attention to ecological and environmental issues for many years. It has highlighted Ecological Civilization (or Eco-civilization for short) and environmental protection as a long-term strategy vital to the country’s modernization and its people’s well-being.

China started framing environmental protection as a fundamental national policy in the 1980s and established sustainable development as a national strategy in the 1990s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the government proposed a “Scientific Outlook on Development” that is people-centered, fully coordinated, and environmentally sustainable. In particularly, since late 2012, the government has incorporated Eco-civilization into the “Five-in-One” blueprint of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which outlines a commitment to “innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development”.

This blueprint has given great impetus to the implementation of Eco-civilization with environmental quality at its core aiming at “making the skies bluer, mountains greener, water cleaner, and the ecological environment better”.

President Xi Jinping has pointed out that “green is gold” and that moving towards a new era of Ecocivilization and building a “Beautiful China” are key to realizing the “Chinese Dream” of rejuvenating the nation. Since its reform and opening-up thirty years ago, the country has seen its economy grow at an annual average of 9.8% (NBS, 2016). It has successfully transitioned from a low-income to a high middle-income country with significant economic achievements, almost having reached levels of industrialization and urbanization that took one to two hundred years in developed countries.

At the same time, however, after an extended period of extensive and high-speed economic growth, China has paid a heavy environmental price, with the emergence of problems such as soot pollution, ozone depletion, fine particulate matters (PM2.5), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Pollution from different sources – production and households, urban and rural, industry and transport - appear to be intertwined with each other.

To address the dilemmas between economic development and resource/environmental constraints, the government has most recently proposed a policy of pursuing green development and building an Eco-civilization, which involves management of the relationship between humans and nature in a comprehensive, scientific, and systematic manner. It embodies the “green is gold” perspective of values, development, and governance. It goes beyond and does away with the traditional development patterns and models, guiding the transformation of the production methods and the lifestyle of the entire society.

As China firmly supports and actively implements the concept and actions of sustainable development at the global level, its effort to build an Eco-civilization will make a significant contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The country’s practices and experiments to promote an Ecocivilization will not only contribute to addressing its own resource and environmental challenges but also serve as demonstrations for other developing countries that may wish to avoid the dependence on, and the lock-in effect of traditional development pathways. This is conducive to promoting the establishment of a new global environmental governance system and benefitting the noble course of sustainable development for all people, men and women.



A gorgeous green capture of Mother Nature by @zaralo_photography ...