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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2014
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Conscious Evolution for Solidarity and Sustainability

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"Genesis Sunset" by Judy Rey Wasserman
UnGraven Image Art
SUMMARY

"As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live" (Pope John Paul II, Homily, 30 November 1986). The focus this month is again on improving gender relations to more effectively foster sustainable development. This is part of the current series on the family in the Anthropocene. The nuclear family is where the transition to a new civilization of solidarity and sustainability will have to be forged. Many other secular and religious institutions will have important roles to play, and obstacles to dismantle, but the family is where nuptial and inter-generational solidarity is primarily learned and practiced. But, specifically, what is to be dismantled? What is to be learned and practiced?

Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body is a treatise on theological anthropology which, starting with an exegesis of the Book of Genesis, goes on to explain that humans are not just objective bodies but also personal subjects, and that we attain our full humanity in inter-personal relationships. In practical terms, this means (1) that the objectification of both the male and female body is to be avoided by recognizing that both men and women are "body-subjects," and (2) that as humans we attain full humanity only to the extent that we become a communion of persons (communio personarum). It follows that patriarchy is to be dismantled and mutuality is to be practiced. These two fundamental ingredients of integral human development are further explored in this month's editorial essay on family life as it pertains to current solidarity and sustainability issues.

The quest for solidarity and sustainability is a quest for improved human relations and is, fundamentally, a quest for an ethical system appropriate for the Anthropocene. The theology of the body, as explained by Pope John Paul II, transcends patriarchalism and feminism, complementarianism and egalitarianism, capitalism and socialism, and provides an insightfully refreshing synthesis of biblical wisdom and human experience that is universally applicable to improve gender relations and extends to all human relations and all relations between humanity and the human habitat. Similar contributions from other religious traditions, such as the universal ethics proposed by the Dalai Lama, will be considered later in this series. For Christians, the theology of the body provides a light that shines in the darkness and points in the right direction.

ARTICLES

SUPPLEMENTS


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Conscious Evolution for Solidarity and Sustainability

Introduction

This essay is about Christian theology of the body as it pertains to sustainable development, here understood as a conscious evolution from our current worldwide culture of competition-domination to one of solidarity-sustainability. Conscious evolution is about "evolution by choice, not chance." It is about cultural transitions driven by actions that are guided by experience gained by perceiving and internalizing the outcomes of previous actions, individually and collectively. The theology of the body is a reflection on human nature and human relations that springs from biblical wisdom about the "beginning" of human self-consciousness and takes into account both the objective and subjective dimensions of human persons and communities. It is a refreshingly new vision of human sexuality and family life based on the Judeo-Christian tradition, with implications that go far beyond culturally conditioned stereotypes about gender relations, and human relations in general, as well as relations between humans and nature.

What follows is not a systematic exposition of scientific or experiential knowledge. It is just a personal reflection, an exercise in exploration that is not unrelated to well-established scientific and philosophical foundations but is not limited to linear rules of logic or empirically verifiable cause-and-effect relations. Scientific foundations include biology, ecology, system feedback dynamics, perceptual control theory, and analytical psychology. Philosophical foundations include biblical literature, history of religions, history of art, phenomenology, and mimetic theory. These foundations, which we have inherited from previous generations, unavoidably serve as lenses though which we can observe current events and resolve emerging issues. Beyond this, all we can do is to explore new and barely visible horizons, and this entails a mix of reasoned intuition and intuitive reasoning. In this kind of exploration, there is minimum visibility and no marked road to travel: "wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking."

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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Stephen B. Whatley, 2008
This is the kind of situation humanity is facing at the onset of the Anthropocene. It is the culmination of a long process of cultural and technological evolution, but poses new issues never encountered before. No source of knowledge or wisdom is to be discarded, but there is no predefined road ahead and no GPS to guide us step by step, no reassuring voice to tell us to keep going straight, or turn left or right. at the next intersection. There is no map. But we are Homo sapiens sapiens, we know that we know, and we know that what we don't know can become known, so we must forge ahead with a healthy mix of prudence and determination, intuition and reason. For Roman Catholics, a beautiful example of this kind of pilgrimage into the knowable unknown is the dogma of Mary's assumption body and soul to heaven, which is celebrated August 15th. Defined as revealed truth by Pope Pius XII in 1950, it is based on Christian tradition but goes beyond anything explicitly stated in the Bible. At the very least, the assumption of Mary signifies the assumption of man, male and female, to a radically new and breathtaking level of "integral human development." Humans are created as subjects of truth and love, and are called to fully become what they are. The onset of the Anthropocene is worrisome but is also an opportunity for a new "assumption" of humanity and the entire community of creation.

The Ecological Crisis is a Family Crisis

The observable symptoms of the ecological crisis are well documented. The causes of the crisis are multiple and complex, and many causal factors have been analyzed including population growth, production and consumption patterns, planetary energy flows, pollution accumulation in air, land, and sea, etc. Many solutions have been proposed as well, ranging from population control and economic degrowth to global environmental governance. Nothing is unrelated to the challenge of pursuing a path toward an improved global civilization of peace and justice. It will be argued here that integral human development is the common denominator that is required for any and all sustainable development initiatives, and the nuclear family is the "domestic womb" where human development is conceived and nurtured to fruition.

Since the beginning of known human history, approximately coinciding with the agricultural revolution, the nuclear family has been structured as a patriarchy. To some extent this model of family life has served humanity well, but the signs of the times suggest that patriarchy is neither intrinsic to natural law nor a practical norm to be perpetuated if an improved future of solidarity and sustainability is to be fostered. Furthermore, it is noted that religious patriarchy, whereby only males assume roles of religious authority, is a derivative of the patriarchal family model and in turn reinforces it by turning male domination and control into an norm that is taken for granted as divinely inscribed natural law.

Since the mid-1800s, the industrial revolution has given this patriarchal system enormous power to exploit natural resources and dominate (rather than care for) the natural capital of the planet we inhabit. The result is the currently observable symptoms of environmental degradation that undeniably threaten the viability of the human habitat for future generations. Capitalism is failing miserably in terms of self-correction for the common good, and experience confirms that communism is basically a form of capitalism turned inside out; for both are driven by the illusion of seeking human wellbeing in the accumulation of material goods and services, with minor attention paid to the inner needs of the human person. In both developed and developing nations, most people, and most nuclear families as well as extended families, have succumbed to materialistic priorities, and the net result is billions of humans running around with smartphones and other electronic widgets in their hands in obsessive connection with the outer world but mostly unconnected with their inner spiritual life.

The ecological crisis is a family crisis. It is, of course, a crisis of the human spirit, but the crisis is rooted in family life and can only be overcome by a renewal of family life that helps both children and adults attain a better balance between objective and subjective needs, the needs of the flesh and the needs of the spirit, self-interest and the common good. In a recent eulogy of Rose Marie Muraro, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff states that "the main root of this system that dehumanizes both women and men dwells in centuries-old patriarchy." Is this a reasonable assertion, consistent with the data of experience? Is it consistent with scientific knowledge and human wisdom? For religious believers, especially those in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is it consistent with divinely inspired biblical texts in light of historical-critical exegesis?

Theological Anthropology of the Human Family

Pope John II's Theology of the Body is arguably the most significant contribution to historical-critical exegesis since Divino Afflante Spiritu. It has been characterized as a "theological time bomb set to go off, with dramatic consequences, sometime in the third millennium of the Church" (Weigel). The subtitle is Human Love in the Divine Plan. It provides a vision of human sexuality that transcends both the sociological arguments of contemporary feminism and the theological arguments of traditional patriarchalism.
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"Human sexuality is far greater than you imagine."

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"Who we are and who we become is shaped by how we act."

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"It is about us and our choices. It is about the future of the planet and life itself."
By portraying nuptial love as an image of Trinitarian communion, it breaks new ground and deconstructs nefarious sexual taboos that come from human prehistory. But love is not limited to the nuptial bed. There are no limits to divine love and therefore no limits to human love. The theology of the body has implications that reach all dimensions of human life, both secular and religious. Specifically, it serves to untie many knots that prevent a sensible resolution of the most complex current issues of solidarity and sustainability.

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

"The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible
what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine."
Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love, John Paul II, 1980

The theology of the body is about human nature, and about becoming fully human. It is a theology of integral human development that entails healthy development of the entire human person as a "body-subject" who experiences fulfillment by giving h**self to others. This fulfillment is experienced most universally in the nuptial relationship between man and woman, the two halves of humanity, which in the unity of *one* human nature was, in the beginning, a relationship of reciprocity and mutual submission rather than domination of either one by the other. This is the essential lesson conveyed by the mythical stories of the creation in chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Genesis. Chapter 3 goes on to describe a process whereby this original order of things was compromised by human choices pursuant to domination rather than collaboration, a process that was later summarized in the term "original sin." Whether this process was a discrete event or an evolutionary succession of events is inconsequential. What matters is that this is where we are coming from, and the consequences of power struggles continue to reverberate worldwide, both in human relations and between humanity and the human habitat.

Since human development is the central core of sustainable development, it is intuitively clear that the theology of the body is a theology of human ecology that substantiates the relationship of mutuality between humanity and the human habitat. The 2014 Human Development Report "highlights the need for both promoting people's choices and protecting human development achievements. It takes the view that vulnerability threatens human development and, unless it is systematically addressed, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable." Indeed, but the theology of the body sheds light on what the choices must be, and what human development goals must be attained, for sustainable development to be really sustainable and for the common good of the human family. The choices that must be made correspond to the two fundamental tenets of the theology of the body:

1. Humans are not just bodies but "body-subjects" in perfect unity of body and soul, flesh and spirit.

This means that healthy human development can unfold only to a point by meeting "objective" needs such as food and water, and by access to other material means of sustenance and comfort. Beyond basic material necessities, there are "subjective" needs that pertain to the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of human life. Needless to say, people living in poverty have no time and energy to seek education and inner development. But people remain underdeveloped unless bodily sustenance and comfort is complemented by inner development. Beyond a certain point, integral human development is contingent on each person making conscious choices about who he or she is and wants to become, and acting accordingly.

2. Humans attain integral development in relationship with other humans and the entire community of creation.

This means that integral human development cannot happen in isolation. Humans must help each other to become what they are, or they end up being stranded in loneliness. Solitude is required at times for the inner journey, but there is a difference between loneliness and solitude. The nakedness we experience in solitude becomes narcissistic unless tempered by the shame of exposure to others. Insights gained from experience become stale unless the shame of past mistakes becomes motivation for actions to help ourselves and others. Thus it is that the body-soul unity of each person, and the unity in solidarity of the human family, and the unity in sustainable solidarity with nature, is built, one generation at a time. We become fully human by engaging in mutual relationships with others.

Human history is a succession of events pursuant to attaining the "original" unity and innocence that the ancient Book of Genesis mythologically describes as "the beginning." It is an evolutionary process, and the beginning already encapsulates the entire trajectory and the end goal, just as a baby embodies the whole person that must keep growing for life. This process unfolds by making choices. Among the many choices to be made, the most universal are those related to human sexuality, and how to enjoy and share the gift of love and the gift of life. Thus it seems natural that John Paul II's exposition of the theology of the body initially focuses on making those choices, and living them out, in a generous and responsible manner. But human bodies signify realities that are much greater and encompass all dimensions of human and cosmic life, visible and invisible.

"The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine." The human body, male and female, is a visible sign of realities that are embodied but transcend matter. This includes the subjective dimension of human beings. For religious believers, it includes the divine presence in each person and everything in the cosmos. Sustainable development must happen in the flesh or it cannot happen at all. But there is more: the theology of the body provides us with new eyes to see people in the concrete totality of their being. When looking at people
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Sustainable Development Paradox
If consumption keeps growing, planet depletes
If consumption degrows, economies stall/collapse
Fey & Lam, Ecocosm Dynamics Ltd, 1999
through this lens, human bodies cease to be mere objects that can be commodified as merchandise; and issues of solidarity and sustainability can be viewed with proper focus on both human well-being and stewardship of natural resources. The ambiguity of the term "sustainable development" is clarified when all the materialistic knots are loosened by balancing objective and subjective needs: the ability to procreate is to be used in a disciplined manner, meaning responsible parenthood by natural family planning with mutual consent of the spouses; and the consumption of goods and services is to be tempered by self-discipline and consideration of the common good within the context of limited natural resources. Some people may not like this formula to resolve the paradox of continued population and consumption growth in a finite planet, but it is the only one that makes sense in a way that is consistent with human dignity and ecological justice.

For readers who are not able to spend the time required to digest long books on the theology of the body, some good digests are now available via publications of groups such as The Cor Project and the Theology of the Body Institute. A comprehensive overview, with links to the original text and tutorials, is available via the USCCB website. A very appealing synopsis has also been published by Leah Perrault, Theology of the Body for Every Body. In 100 pages or so, this book amply makes the case for the basic insight that "who we are and who we become is shaped by how we act." It is pure Karol Wojtyla, "the acting person." Actions speak louder than words, and nothing is more powerful than the language of the body when engaged in acts of solidarity.

It is not insignificant that, in parallel with his teaching on the theology of the body, John Paul II spoke and wrote extensively about environmental issues, the gravity of the ecological crisis, and the inadequacy of both extreme capitalism and extreme socialism to resolve issues of social and ecological justice. For an excellent compilation of this material, see Marybeth Lorbiecki's recently published book, Following St. Francis: John Paul II's Call for Ecological Action. As the author aptly states, "It is about us and our choices. It is about the future of the planet and life itself." Without using these terms, the book shows how the theology of the body steers clear of simplistic ideologies such as patriarchalism and ecologism, and includes excerpts of what Pope Francis is currently saying about human ecology, which reportedly will be the subject of a forthcoming encyclical.

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"Baby-Object" ~ Cartoon by David Hayward
From a Christian perspective, and specifically from the sacramental perspective that is characteristic of the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, the theology of the body may provide a sound basis for going beyond religious patriarchalism, i.e., the entrenched notion that only males can be in roles of religious authority. This notion is not unrelated to patriarchal ideology about the nuclear family and persists in some religious institutions via practices such as the exclusion of women from the sacramental priesthood. If the human body, male and female, is a sacrament of the whole person, but is not the whole person as imago Christi, why should physical masculinity be a requirement? It is a choice, not a dogma (CCC 1598). Would Jesus, in today's world, appoint 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel? Faith transcends reason but cannot be irrational, and the questions posed in the previous essay need to be restated, begging answers that make sense:

(1) If the objectification of both male and female bodies is to be avoided by recognizing that men and women are different but are both "body-subjects" in a unity of body and soul, flesh and spirit, then why should the discipline of the ministerial priesthood be limited to "the priest must be male because Jesus Christ is male"?

(2) If as humans we attain full humanity only to the extent that we relate to others as a communion of persons (communio personarum), which since the beginning includes male-female communion, then why should the church hierarchy (priests, bishops) remain exclusively male in order to be a sign of the incarnation and the redemption?

With all due respect for the saintly Pope John Paul II, who in 1994 wisely (?) decided to apply the brakes, and buy time by elevating the practice to a doctrine (albeit not a dogma), such exclusion is incompatible with contemporary biblical exegesis and the signs of the times. Every conceivable rationalization is being used to avoid the inevitable reform, and the moral influence that the church might have in resolving our current ecological predicament is lamentably eroded as a result. This is for many a visceral issue that will not be resolved by reasoning alone, but the recent decision of the Church of England to allow the consecration of women as bishops is a sign of hope. No "new" doctrine is needed, just clarification of the living tradition to separate revealed truths from patriarchal ideology. Let us pray that all the Christian churches will be able to discern the difference and act accordingly. In the Catholic and Orthodox churches, it is time for a new "assumption."

Conscious Human Development

The agenda for sustainable development is thus primarily an agenda of integral human development that takes into account both the objective and subjective needs of each human person. Beyond the years of childhood, such personal development must be mostly self-motivated, for each person must have "free space" to make conscious decisions and work diligently for self-improvement.

Schools can help in this process of educating children to become responsible adults. Churches can help. Other institutions can help. But it is fundamentally the responsibility of the family -- the nuclear family and to some extent the extended family -- to prepare each child to become an "acting person" for h** own good and the good of others. As we enter the Anthropocene, this entails helping each child not simply to perpetuate old modes of behavior but also to become capable of adapting to a changing culture, and in turn influencing further cultural evolution for advancing social and ecological justice, as may be required by the ecological crisis. If Homo sapiens has become Homo economicus, then we can become Homo ecologicus, even Homo ethicus, and do so by conscious choice rather than just reacting to forces beyond our control when they are unleashed.

Where can children learn to grow in this integral manner? In the family. How? By osmosis, pure and simple. Other things being equal, children tend to become the kind of caring/uncaring adults they experienced during childhood and adolescence. Is there a need for gender solidarity and balance? Is there a need for solidarity with others and stewardship of natural resources? Both the boys and the girls better learn about this in the family, where else? The ecological crisis is a crisis of the family. Families are dropping the ball on children, and this applies especially to parents and close relatives, but also applies to wider families such as schools and churches. More specifically, the ecological crisis is a crisis of the patriarchal family structured around male domination and control. Each family,
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"Sacred Community" by Mary Southard
Ministry of the Arts
and all secular and religious institutions, need to outgrow the patriarchal mold and consciously foster relationships of mutuality with shared authority and responsibilities.

Collective Human Development

According to the United Nations' 2014 Human Development Report, "persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable." Poverty, with 1.2 billion people living with $1.25 or less a day, is the worst kind of pollution and the main cause of vulnerability; and poverty is perpetuated, even reinforced, by institutional structures of domination and oppression shaped by the patriarchal order of things. Capitalism is not the answer. Communism is not the answer. The road ahead is not yet paved and there is no GPS to guide us, but some kind of conscious, collective cultural evolution is needed. What are the personal and collective choices to be made?

The fundamental choice is to choose love, of course, but this may sound like "pie in the sky" as we observe recurring events of violence all over the world. The theology of the body, by focusing on the nuptial meaning of the body, makes love concrete in all dimensions of human life. In marriage and family life, it is expressed by the spouses sharing the gift of love and the gift of life. In all social relations, it can be expressed in concrete acts of solidarity. In human ecology, it is expressed by using natural resources in a sustainable manner. Integral human development is not sustainable unless it is, at the same time, ecologically sound development that manages resources to satisfy present needs without compromising their availability to future generations.

But it is short-sighted to give John Paul II's theology of the body, in which any defense of patriarchy is absent, a purely patriarchal interpretation whereby gender roles are defined as being not only mutually complementary but also mutually exclusive. In social life, including family life, masculine and feminine roles can and should overlap to a significant extent for mutual benefit. Likewise, for believers, it is increasingly urgent to go beyond patriarchal categories disguised as divine law. Specifically for Christians, why is it that Christ is limited to be the "Groom"? Isn't it a deprivation for Christian men to think that Christ cannot be their "Bride"? Why should we keep putting Christ, who identified himself simply as the Human Being, in a patriarchal box? Why should we serve the Eucharist in a patriarchal chalice? These are questions that pertain to current controversies about male headship in church and family; and these questions beg for answers that are biblically sound but also responsive to the signs of the times as we enter the Anthropocene.

Conscious Evolution for Solidarity and Sustainability

The theology of the body is a powerful tool for the promotion of peace and solidarity in all dimensions of human life. It begins by setting a solid foundation for peace and solidarity in marriage and the family, but can be readily extended to many other issues of social justice. All human are "body-subjects." All humans have an inner need to love and be loved. Fostering gender solidarity is both the most concrete and the most universal way to work for a better world.

The theology of the body is also powerful tool for the promotion of sustainability and sustainable development. It serves to replace the oxymoronic goal of infinite material growth in a finite planet by the more appealing (and feasible) goal of balancing
CosmicDance.MarySouthard.jpg
"Cosmic Dance" by Mary Southard
Ministry of the Arts
objective and subjective needs in ways conducive to integral human development. Fostering gender balance is the most effective way to work for a sustainable civilization, and cuts across all the issues that seem to be tied together in an enormous knot.

The transition from competition to collaboration, domination to mutuality, requires a conscious evolution in ways of thinking and acting by all men and women of good will. Choices must be made to allocate more resources to education, mitigate pollution, adapt to climate change, restore damaged ecosystems, make food and water accessible to all, foster investment in renewable sources of energy, overcome extreme income inequality, conserve biodiversity, create dignified employment opportunities, improve gender balance, etc. The supplements listed above provide some information and links about some choices that should be considered. Just waiting for "something to happen," or waiting for some "breakthrough technology" to get us off the hook, are hardly choices becoming Homo sapiens sapiens.

The process of cultural evolution must be both personal and collective. A new "collective unconscious" must be created that incentivizes people making choices pursuant to balancing self-interest and the common good. All the structures of governance, both secular and religious, have crucial roles to play for this collective evolution. There is no silver bullet, although fostering gender balance in the family and all human institutions is arguably the most universal choice to be made. It will not be a linear evolution, but more like the "two steps forward, one step back" kind, to maintain stability and recover momentum to keep walking. We all shall have to make some ecologically wise choices while "muddling through" together.

Summary

The family is the womb where integral human development happens. The family is the "domestic school" of solidarity and sustainability. The patriarchal age is passing away, and a new civilization is emerging in which more gender balance, and better balancing of self-interest and the common good in making choices, is becoming visible in the horizon. If this cultural evolution doesn't happen, then sustainable development cannot happen. But it is not an impossible evolution. We can see humanity ascending from a primitive "beginning" and going successively through the hunter-gathering age, the agrarian age, the industrial age, the information age, now entering the ecological age and, eventually, the ethical age. For Christians, the assumption of Mary is a sign of the assumption of humanity, male and female, from dust to life, from patriarchy to mutuality, from shame to communion; a communion that will culminate in partaking of divine communion.

But further cultural evolution is possible for all men and women of good will, and is not contingent on any specific set of religious beliefs. The fact is that we live in a finite planet with finite space and material resources. Technological breakthroughs are helpful only to the extent that they are used to satisfy both the objective and subjective needs of the human person. Sustainable development is not just an economic issue, or a social or political issue, let alone a technical issue; it is, fundamentally, an ethical issue. The theology of the body explains why this is so, and points to gender solidarity as the universally required remedy. It is based on the wisdom we have inherited in the biblical tradition, which is available to both believers and nonbelievers. As the ecological crisis unfolds, the most crucial challenge for families is to help children learn that making choices pursuant to solidarity and sustainability, and acting accordingly, is not only required for the common good but essential for their own fulfillment as human beings.

References

  • Divino Afflante Spiritu, Pope Pius XII, 1943. See also The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission, Vatican City, 18 March 1994.
  • The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in Each of Us Affects Our Relationships, John B. Sanford, Paulist Press, 1979.
  • Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, Brundtland Commission, United Nations, 1987.
  • The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner, Oxford University Press, 1987.
  • I Will Love Unloved: A Linguistic Analysis of Woman's Biblical Importance, J. J. McKenzie, University Press of America, December 1993. See also A Gender Neutral God/ess: Be Inclusive but MAKE NO IMAGES was the Religious Change, J. J. McKenzie, Amazon Digital Services, August 2012.
  • The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan, John Paul II, Pauline Books, 1997. See also Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, John Paul II, translation by Michael Waldstein, Pauline Books, 2006. For more on the TOB, including tutorials and recent updates, visit The TOB Net and The Cor Project.
  • Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential, Barbara Marx Hubbard, New World Library, 1998. For more on conscious evolution, including tutorials and recent updates, visit the website of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.
  • The Ecocosm Paradox, Willard R. Fey and Ann C. W. Lam, Ecocosm Dynamics, 1999. For more on the ecocosm paradox, see the original paper, the summary, and the diagram.
  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel, Cliff Street Books, 1999, p. 343.
  • Ethics for a New Millennium, HH Dalai Lama, Riverhead Trade, 2001.
  • The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man, Walter Wink, Fortress Press, 2002.
  • Conceptualization of the Person in Social Sciences, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Vatican City, 2005.
  • A User's Guide to Integral Human Development (IHD), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Baltimore, 2009.
  • Ecological Ethics, Patrick Curry, Polity Press, 2011. For a book review, click here.
  • Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World, HH Dalai Lama, Mariner Books, 2011.
  • Theology of the Body for Every Body, Leah Perrault, Novalis Publishing, 2012.
  • The Origins of the World's Mythologies, E.J. Michael Witzel, Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, Elizabeth Johnson, Bloomsbury Continuum, 2014.
  • Following St. Francis: John Paul II's Call for Ecological Action, Marybeth Lorbiecki, Rizzoli Ex Libris, 2014.
  • Ideas Have Consequences: Faith, Gender, and Social Ethics, Mimi Haddad, Priscilla Papers, Winter 2014 (reprinted here). See also Male and Female: One Image, One Purpose, Mimi Haddad, Red Letter Christians, 26 March 2014, and Mutuality, Spring 2014.
  • Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, Vatican City, 2-6 May 2014.
  • Facing Up to the Anthropocene, Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 20 June 2014.
  • Rose Marie Muraro: The Saga of an Impossible Woman, Leonardo Boff, Iglesia Descalza, 22 June 2014.
  • Pope Francis's Radical Environmentalism, Tara Isabella Burton, The Atlantic, 11 July 2014.
  • Male and Female in Christ: Toward a Biblical View of Christian Identity and Ministry, International Conference of Christians for Biblical Equality, Medellín, Colombia, 7-9 July 2014. Other forthcoming conferences are the CEMES 2014 conference in the Orthodox tradition in Cyprus, 20-25 January 2015, and the WOW 2015 conference in the Catholic tradition, Philadelphia, September 2015. Some churches of the Anglican Communion already ordain women, and the General Synod of Church of England recently said "yes" women bishops.
  • Of the Same Flesh: Exploring a Theology of Gender, Susan Durber, Christian Aid, July 2014.
  • Human Development Report 2014: "Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience", UNDP, United Nations, 24 July 2014.
  • Current series on family issues and sustainable development:

  • Gender Balance in the Post-Patriarchal Age, November 2013.
  • On Gender Groupthink, Solidarity, and Sustainability, December 2013.
  • On Gender, Family, and Integral Human Development, January 2014.
  • On Families and the Human Family, February 2014.
  • Sustainable Development of the Human Family, March 2014.
  • Sustainable Development of Body-Persons, April 2014.
  • On Sustainable Humanity & Sustainable Nature, May 2014.
  • Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, June 2014.
  • Cultural Evolution for Solidarity and Sustainability, July 2014.
  • Conscious Evolution for Solidarity and Sustainability, August 2014.

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