We urge you to take up and read two really important pieces of social analysis & theological animation before this huge weekend of climate justice action and international peace advocacy. First, check out Ched Myers’ “A Watershed Moment” from the May issue of Sojourners Magazine. Myers has upped “Watershed Discipleship” from double to triple entendre status:
1. It recognizes that we are amidst a watershed historical moment of crisis, which demands that environmental justice and sustainability be integral to everything we do as Christian disciples–and as citizen inhabitants of specific places.
2. It acknowledges the inescapably bioregional locus of an incarnational following of Jesus: Our discipleship necessarily takes place in one or more watersheds.
3. The phrase suggests that we need to be disciples not only in but also of our watersheds.
This approach, according to Myers, can nurture five key renewals:
1. Theological Re-grounding: A watershed paradigm recovers the heart of the biblical tradition while challenging dysfunctional characteristics of industrial civilization…At the beginning of the gospel, Jesus is baptized into the Jordan River watershed, following in the footsteps of the wilderness prophets; at the end of Revelation, the city is transfigured into a garden watered by the “River of Life.” From Noah to the New Jerusalem, our tradition is about the redemption of the terrestrial
2. Re-Placed Economics: By measures of both social justice and ecological sustainability, globalized capitalism isn’t working…
3. Political Imagination: Our two-dimensional political maps enshrine problematic historical legacies of conquest and colonization, while their straight boundary lines are abstractions that alienate us from the real topography and hydrology that sustain us.
4. Social Justice: Every watershed bears the wounds of social disparity and exclusion, both historic and contemporary, which also must be mapped and transformed.
5. Ecclesial Renewal: Our spirituality, liturgy, and discipleship practices can and should both reflect our watershed and build literacy in it…friends at the Abundant Table Farm Project (see photo above) are challenging Episcopalians to “localize the liturgy” by knowing where our bread, wine, candles, and tapestries come from, who made them, and under what conditions.
*See Myers’ latest article in the Missio Dei Journal for a longer reading with more biblical engagement here.
Pair the theological & ecclesial emphasis of Myers’ call to “watershed discipleship” with the legislative focus of environmental justice & sustainability writer George Monbiot’s latest post “Political Straitjacket.” For those unfamiliar with Monbiot’s work, he lists “some of the things I try to fight” on his website: undemocratic power, corruption, deception of the public, environmental destruction, injustice, inequality and the misallocation of resources, waste, denial, the libertarianism which grants freedom to the powerful at the expense of the powerless, undisclosed interests, complacency.
By the mid-1990s, the doctrine of market fundamentalism – also known as neoliberalism – had almost all governments by the throat. Any politicians who tried to protect the weak from the powerful or the natural world from industrial destruction were punished by the corporate media or the markets.
This extreme political doctrine – that governments must cease to govern – has made direct, uncomplicated action almost unthinkable. Just as the extent of humankind’s greatest crisis – climate breakdown – became clear, governments willing to address it were everywhere being disciplined or purged.