Green Visions: Earth Harmony Study Group
The Earth Harmony Study Group has been meeting monthly for the past five years at local coffee shops to discuss books focused on the environment from a spiritual perspective. The group was instigated by leaders at the College of St. Scholastica. "They invited me," says Pastor David Carlson, "to initiate this study group on earth harmony through the interreligious forum." Bret Pence with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light has also been on board since the first session. "When David told me this was happening... we wanted to help out."
The group focuses on practical actions, policy and advocacy, and the resources of religion - all with the central focus of helping the earth. "All the people that come want to integrate this into their daily lives," says Carlson who is pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and also the co-chair of the Lutheran eco-faith network in the arrowhead region.
Regarding the reading material, Pence sees several points of view and various approaches. "Everyone brings their own... inner experience of life to the book." Monthly discussions focus on books, but personal journeys will often become a large part of the conversation. "I think we all leave the conversation a little more encouraged," says Carlson. "It's almost a sacrament... there is something that you can do to be a part of the solution."
For folks interested in a reading list, here are a few titles that the group has read.
Active Hope by Joanna Macy
Sacred Nature by Karen Armstrong
Saving Us by Katharine Hayhoe
Regeneration by Paul Hawken