My paper, “Friends and Watershed Discipleship: reconciling with people and the land in light of the Doctrine of Discovery,” which I originally delivered at the American Academy of Religion conference last November, was published in Quaker Religious Thought‘s spring 2020 issue! If you need some reading material during the current pandemic, consider ordering a copy from the QRT website, or contact me and I will send you a PDF of this paper. (It will also be available as a free digital download in fall of 2021.)
Right now, this topic seems more timely than ever. As we’re facing this moment of global pandemic, I’m aware that this virus could spread quickly due to our globalized lifestyle, and that its effects are incredibly damaging economically, disproportionately impacting those who are already disadvantaged in our current socio-economic system. It’s showing how unsustainable our current way of life is, and the injustice inherent in our systems of healthcare, food production and distribution, and access to economic safety nets. Those with pre-existing health conditions are often those who have been exposed to pollution or who have had to eat the cheapest foods and who have not been able to take care of their health due to lack of affordable healthcare.
We’re in a moment where we can learn and grow from our mistakes, embracing a new way of life, or we can fight to return to an unsustainable system many of us have come to think of as “normal.” That system requires overuse of natural resources and dehumanization of people we consider “other.” But we can allow our eyes to become more open than ever before, and rebuild a world that encourages love for God through love for our human and other-than-human neighbors. Which will we choose?
We can begin by educating ourselves about our history, and doing the work of repentance, turning around to go another way.