Ecological Spirituality in the Quaker Intentional Village in Canaan
Haverford College. Department of Religion
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In this paper, I place the QIV-C within ecological spirituality, a movement that is grounded in a faith in organic interdependence and wholeness, an ethic of care, and an inclusive sense of community. Underlying these components is a creed of embodiment, a belief in the sacredness, innate worth, and interconnectedness of all the bodies of the earth. This embodiment theology calls for an attitude of care and respect towards both human and nonhuman bodies. The QIV-C enacts this creed in its physical interaction, or embodied participation, with its surrounding environment. Acts of embodied participation, like building their own homes and growing their own food, are practice or ritual in changing their worldviews as related to the earth. These acts are also a practice in physically reconnecting with the wider, organic community of the earth. Essentially, embodied participation is ritualized action in earth-healing. My goal in this paper is to define ecological spirituality, and then place the QIV-C within the movement, despite the members’ unfamiliarity with it. I define ecological spirituality as a movement comprised of a deep sense of unity, an inclusive notion of community, and a theology of embodiment. These components of ecological spirituality are manifested in the QIV-C through their aesthetic choices, their sense of community, and their "do-it-yourself," hands-on approach in sustaining themselves. This research serves as a case study that demonstrates what ecological spirituality looks like enacted. The aims of this research are to demonstrate the ways in which religion and spirituality play a role in the ecological crisis, and to encourage more interdisciplinary collaboration in regards to the ecological crisis we now face.