The renowned eco-theologian Thomas Berry died in the early morning of June 1st at the distinguished age of 94. Even though we never met Berry, many of our contributors and close friends were deeply inspired by his life and work, including leading evolutionary thinkers like Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Michael Dowd, and Connie Barlow. Berry was greatly influenced by the evolutionary cosmology of French Jesuit priest Pierre Teihard de Chardin. A Catholic priest himself, Berry will be best remembered for helping the religious traditions to recognize the ecological crisis as a deeply spiritual issue. The following is an excerpt from his article “The Spirituality of the Earth” (1990):
We need a spirituality that emerges out of a reality deeper than ourselves, even deeper than life, a spirituality that is as deep as the earth process itself, a spirituality born out of the solar system and even out of the heavens beyond the solar system. There in the stars is where the primordial elements take shape in both their physical and psychic aspects. There is a certain triviality in any spiritual discipline that does not experience itself as supported by the spiritual as well as the physical dynamics of the entire cosmic-earth process. A spirituality is a mode of being in which not only the divine and the human commune with each other, but we discover ourselves in the universe and the universe discovers itself in us.
To listen to a special tribute to Berry by evolutionary biologist Connie Barlow, click here.