Vine and fig planting

IMG_20120926_115626This is the spiel I wrote for the vine and fig tree planting at the 2012 Swan Island Peace Convergence. It was used again in 2013. Anyone is welcome to use this with appropriate acknowledgement (I am myself indebted to Harry Wykman and others for the idea and many of the connections herein).

Climate change, not terrorism, is the greatest threat to world security. Yet the world continues to spend trillions of dollars every year on weapons solely designed to take life and destroy property. We must begin to see that poverty, climate change and militarism cannot be tackled in isolation from one another, because they are inherently connected.

For that reason militarism, economics and politics cannot be understood apart from one another. We are among the world’s rich because of our history of colonialism, dispossession and ongoing exploitation of people and the earth, an exploitation we can only maintain by a military mindset of domination at all costs. We’re mindful of the Wathaurung as traditional custodians of this land, who no doubt had their own vines and fig trees.

In climate change we are reaping the harvest of our economic and military exploitation of the earth. By treating it as a resource to be expended rather than a garden to be tended we have denied our relationship of dependancy on the earth and sown seeds of toxicity that will be reaped in harvests of sickness and death for generations to come.

In the poverty of the developing world and even here in Australia we see the domination and exploitation of the world’s  poor for the sake of the world’s rich. With our militaries we keep the poor in their place even while rising sea levels and greater food scarcity hit the poor first and hardest.

In militarism we see the enforcing of the politics of domination and exploitation. We invade other countries for their resources. We invade them because our economic exploitation of the poor leads to resentment, and resentment to violence in the form of terrorism. We leave toxic legacies of depleted uranium, white phosphorus and other toxins for future generations to deal with.

But all is not lost, for this is God’s world, and we are the hands and feet of Christ. Hands that can reach out to make the connections across national boundaries, across ideologies, and hands that can work to cooperate with God, with the earth.

The vine and fig tree is an ancient image of peaceful self-sufficiency – where no one has too much and no one too little, where we tend the earth that supplies our needs, and where war has been abolished. What if we were to make flesh and blood and bone the transformation the Bible speaks of? What if we begin the transformation here and now, in this place, with these hands, and this soil?

The world needs such acts of prophetic imagination to see that such a world is not only possible, but is already here in a people gathered under the name of the God of all the nations.

And so we will begin this transformation of the Swan Island military base, in the name of the God of peace. We’re going to have an opportunity to share a thought, then we’re going to do some planting, and then we’ll share in the Eucharist together, of the broken body, and the crushed grapes.

The Futility of Revolutionaries With No Gardens

“…the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.” – Bill Mollison

Unitarian podcast goodness

Here’s a podcast of me preaching at the Melbourne Unitarian Memorial Peace Church (right click the link and select ‘save target as’ – it’s a 7mb file) on ‘Another World is Possible, Another World is Necessary, Another World is Already Here’.  First comment after I sat down was, “Wow, you got away with a lot.  That’s the most Scripture I’ve heard from that pulpit in…well, ever.”

A follow up letter from another member said, “Your message was well received and it was good to hear so much Scripture quoted.  Unitarianism has tended to move away from its original inception and your speech has helped to move it back.”

Judge for yourself!

The 08/09 veg season

Back in late September I dug over and planted out my veggie patch. It’s been a year in the making, having removed two huge stumps, composted, and pulled out three buckets full of little river pebbles. So these were the before and after pictures:

Before:

After:
Before:

After:
I now have zucchini, tomato, strawberries, onions, pumpkins, beans, basil, cucumber, and various kinds of lettuce in there. Then there’s the pots with capsicum, carrots, roquette, and lemon, lime and orange trees. And all of this companion planted with nasturtiums and marigolds.