Save the date Earth Day, 10 am in San Diego or live stream
Dear Friends, March 23, 2018
We are honored to have Dr. John B. Cobb Jr, preach at Church for Our Common Home on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22 at 10 am, next month. His sermon, "'God's Call to Earthism' will explore how the Bible begins with God's universal creation and ends with God's salvation of the Earth, but God's call varies with the situation. Most of the time the Earth has not been threatened. Jesus' call was to proclaim the divine commonwealth as a way to save Israel from futile revolution on the one hand and compromise with Rome on the other. But now that God's creation is so seriously threatened, our call is to focus on the whole Earth system, that is, to Earthism. This calls for an enormous change. In Western history its scope is comparable to that of the change from Medieval Christianism to modern nationalism, and from nationalism to economism. The urgency of the call is heightened by the fact that economism is the greatest enemy of God and the Earth that has ever dominated history. Jesus was clear about this. 'You cannot serve both God and wealth.'"
How is it possible that the brilliant and accomplished Dr. Cobb is coming to our home church, Church for Our Common Home this Earth Day? Well, he is of course presenting a program, "A Reunion of Science and Religion, Head and Heart" that is co-sponsored by our church, First UU Church of SD and sandegio350.org the day before on Saturday, April 21st with Dr. Ramanathan, the local Scripps UCSD preeminent climate scientist.(see flier below) If we have ever needed a prophet to preach about the God of love it is this Earth Day as we look catastrophe in the face with increasing dangers including the threat of nuclear war and epidemic madness in our country. The breadth of Dr. Cobb's accomplishments is mind blowing, but that is not why many of us love him so much. A charming and engaging Southern gentlemen, John Cobb is the best living ambassador for Christianity that I have ever known. He got the memo from Jesus about the power of love and lives it.
John Cobb was born in 1925 in Japan and his parents were Methodist missionaries. He has been teaching about environmentalism for over 40 years and way back in 1971, he wrote the first single-author book in environmental ethics called, Is It Too Lat? A Theology of Ecology about the relevance of religious thought in environmental ethics. He is a scholar in the field of process philosophy and process theology, the school of thought associated with the philosophy Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947). Teaching at Claremont School of Theology beginning in 1958, he is the author of more than 50 books and is described as one of the most significant theologians of the past century and in 2014 he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cobbco-founded the Center for Process Studies and Process and Faith with Dr. David Ray Griffin in 1973, making Claremont the center of Whiteheadian process thought. Cobb teaches that nature and human beings are more than purposeless machines and argues for a new Whiteheadian metaphysics based on events rather than substances. Rejecting the existence of an omnipotent all powerful God, Cobb gives us back a relevant God, as we say in 12 step programs, a God we can do business with. Cobb preaches about the God of love and persuasion, a God who has given us freedom and calls us into loving relationships. Working with many of the earliest feminist scholars and theologians in the 1960's he is an unparalleled leader in modern Christianity.
Working to unite people throughout the world to help save the Earth from environmental catastrophe and teaching about ecologic interdependence, Cobb challenges the materialistic worldview based on Cartesian ideas of the 17th century that has evolved into bad ideas like value free education. He advocates transdisciplinary education and the vastness of his life study and teachings model this more organic and transdisciplinary vision. Critical of growth oriented economic systems that have contributed to the environmental crisis, he has written about sustainability as an economic issue. In 2015 at age 90, he was the architect of a major world conference “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecologic Civilization” and that same year he edited a book in support of Pope Francis ideas of 'integral ecology' which he says are similar to his own ideas of 'ecological civilization.'
Dr. Cobb has also been a pioneer in the interreligious and interfaith movements and after he retired he continued to do ground breaking work in China. In recent years he has brought process thought to China contributing to their work to develop a more ecologic civilization. Zhihe Wang and Cobb founded the Institute for Postmodern Development of China in 2005, and there are now dozens of centers in universities bringing process thought to China.
Dr. Cobb had retired before I attended Claremont School of Theology, however his life force and prana have not only continued, but just hearing about his many trips to China to meet with heads of state, as well as other globe trotting to countless meetings etc. makes me tired to just think about all he does. Years ago, on the Process Center's web site he had a column called 'Ask Dr. Cobb' where he answered questions from anyone. I wrote to him and asked for his support on a new church start I was working on and we have been friends ever since. His support, influence and friendship to me has changed me and like many, I love Dr. Cobb as a spiritual father and mentor.
Should you come to hear Dr. John B. Cobb Jr. preach this Earth Day, in what he has referred to as our "backyard church?" Only if you dare risk being inspired and transformed for he, like Jesus is always humble but embodies a radial counter cultural message that very well could make you live and behave differently. Come only if you are brave enough to risk being in the presence of a real religious prophet who just might connect you to the God who calls us forward. Working with John on 'Seizing an Alternative' conference inspired me to begin Church for Our Common Home. "My argument is that when we free ourselves from the atheism in modern metaphysics, Abba (God) appears in our experience, quite normally, whenever we feel called to serve our neighbor or open ourselves to new ideas." Jesus'Abba by John Cobb.
Our good friends Drupon Rinpoche and Ani from the Tibetan Meditation Center in Escondido will offer Buddhist prayers and Marshall Voit will offer music for this special worship service. After the service we will break bread together at what we call the Mary Magdalene Cafe, as we follow in the tradition of the early home churches that were often headed by woman and always serving a meal as communion after worship.
P.S. If you can't be with us in person please join us on live stream on Church for Our common Home facebook page.