Chaplaincy Institute Ordination Homily – March 18, 2017

Saturday I was honored to be ordained at the Chaplaincy Institute, in Berkeley.  This following interfaith training here on diverse world religions and all the other seminary and ordaining body requirements.  Here is my short homily delivered to the other ordinands and their families, along with ChI faculty:

1996 (A poem)

I don’t know the reason why

Nor do I remember when I forgot

Who I was when I was looking

For what I thought that I should want

When I saw it I was frightened

Of the Ego that was I

That much beauty shouldn’t be here

Ask the black robed sisters why

The approval I was wanting

Left me walking with a limp

Has me chewing through my nail beds

Dimly conscious of my gift

Too many changes in this man’s life

Too many reasons why

I’m not riding on the stallion

Trailing flames across the sky


I was asked to share in two minutes, my spiritual trajectory.  I don’t have time for that.  My path brought me to eco-theology and eco-chaplaincy; to protect this planet that wholly supports us and to help others grieve catastrophic losses we face.

Last month, Earth’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists at the Biological Extinction conference in the Vatican reported: one in five species on Earth faces extinction right now; half by the end of this century.

All living things in an ecosystem depend on all the others.  Every loss leads to the extinction of other species.

Earth’s creatures are depending on us.

We can’t afford to be stopped by our fears or politics.  We are either victims or activists.

I know who stopped my voice, and I weep for the differences I haven’t made.


1969;   Ohio’s Cuyahoga river erupts into flames.

2017; EPA funding is cut to pre-1971 levels.

Who stops our voices?      Only Us.

Earth is not merely our Home and our Mother – She is the nearest cell of God’s Body.

Every creature is one of HER molecules, borne of God’s Love.

The Lakota say: Mitakuye oyasin: Blessings on all our relatives.