soil and saints—an ecological liturgy

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

From Andrea Ferich’s blog post March 31, 2011

Spring has been breathtakingly beautiful for me this year. The kids and i are having a lot of fun in the gardens together, and there is certainly an abundance in the level of creative energy in the neighborhood. Seeds flying everywhere from our fingertips, an abandoned Firehouse is being transformed into a community arts center, with a printing press awaiting .

Today is the last day in March, cool and wet, like it’s supposed to be.

the tomato starts are about three inches tall, surrounded within a greenhouse that is expecting, reflecting and refracting the traveling light.

We are nearly finished with the closed-loop aquaponic tilapia system, and we are getting about five eggs a day from the chickens. The Center For Environmental Transformation has a new website up, of which I helped to design and maintain. The Center is now a completed 24 bedroom retreat center focused on Environmental Justice. We’ve hosted 6 groups so far this year, with a few coming up this weekend. You can read the lovely reflection from a feisty store-telling history teacher of her time with us.

I’ve been doing a lot of film-making a vision casting this winter. Here’s the piece that I completed from my time in Vietnam of the farmers and the fishermen.

..and here is an exerpt from the anthology that i wrote for this winter focused on ecojustice from the perspective of the land from within the Biblical narrative. This is an exciting project edited by Laurel Dykstra and Ched Myers. Here is a glimpse of the narrative of the land in captivity:


Hosea tells the story: our covenant with the violence-filled land is a commitment to a broken and prostituted woman with the words of Baal, a violent god of fertility, on her lips. Baal’s story is one of agriculture and violence, related to the Babylonian Creation Myth Enuma Elish in its violent narrative. In one of these tales, Baal, the god of fertility, battled with Mot, the god of death and infertility. Baal had a great feast to celebrate the completion of his fine house, but didn’t invite Mot. Mot was insulted, and he invited Baal to visit him for dinner in the underworld. Although Baal was scared, he could not refuse. Mot fed Baal mud, the food of death, and cursed Baal to the underworld. Baal’s wife Anat came to find Baal and split Mot’s body in two, winnowed him with her fan, burned the pieces in a fire, ground them in a mill, and planted them in the ground. Baal escaped the underworld and regained the throne of fertility with the story of violence to his enemy sown in the land.

Monsanto, the largest grower of genetically engineered seeds, agricultural chemicals (and Agent Orange during the American War in Vietnam), might be the modern equivalent to worshipping Baal—promising fertility yet sown in violence. Agent Orange is now sold in most hardware stores as Scott’s ChemLawn and poured on our yards. Modern, war-dependent, industrial agriculture converts fossil fuels into food using an entire gallon of gasoline to grow a single bushel of corn, declaring war for food and war on the land, as in Babylonian agriculture myth. Like Hosea farmers in neglected and violated land find intimacy and love with a body that has been prostituted, growing communion with the brokenness. In our deep intimacy with the prostituted land we see where all the waste for the region is brought, here to the most dangerous city in the country. But a promise is given, “I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land so that all may lie down in safety” (Hosea 2:17-18). Our intimacy with the land goes beyond pointing south, rainfall patterns, soil fertility, frost dates, and daylight hours. Eating food yokes us with the land and the people who grow our food, it is our communion….

……more yet to come


via soil and saints—an ecological liturgy.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading soil and saints—an ecological liturgy at Sublime Arts.


%d bloggers like this: